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Internet platforms speak out against Copyright Directive


6 December 2018

Several internet platforms have issued warnings regarding the Copyright Directive, and in particular the provisions of article 13.

On 28 November, a blog post by Reddit (a member of the Don’t Wreck The Net coalition) urged users to contact MEPs in order to “reconsider these problematic articles” (being articles 11 and 13). The post notes that the type of activities these articles seek to regulate  form the “core” of Reddit and as such the platform would be in jeopardy, with no clear means of mitigating these effects.

Later, on 4 December, a letter from the CEO of video-streaming platform Twitch similarly called on users to contact MEPs, and work in their communities to raise awareness of the effects of article 13. The letter states that “we believe Article 13’s approach does needless damage to creators and to the free expression on the internet worldwide”. Again, and similarly to Reddit, they note that the constrictions the new article would place on content with commentary, criticism, and parody would fundamentally change the dynamic of the platform.

Lastly, on 6 December, the vice president of Google News (Richard Gringas, previous statements here) wrote in a blog post that article 11 would have “unintended consequences for smaller news publishers, limit innovation in journalism and reduce choice for European consumers”. The post goes on to note that the new article would inevitably benefit already large publishers, and put Google in the position of choosing “winners and loser” through licensing deals.

In other developments, the timeous announcement of Tumblr’s ban on sexual content, to be achieved through algorithmic filtering, has been perceived as a demonstration of how inaccurate content filters are in practice (e.g. a direct challenge to article 13s utility).