29 May 2017

Joint industry letter on EU copyright reform

Joint industry letter on EU copyright reform

Dear Ministers,

Dear MEP Therese Comodini Cachia,

Dear Members of the European Parliament,

The members of the Copyright for Creativity (C4C) initiative and the undersigned supporting non-member stakeholders represent publishers, journalists, libraries, scientific and research institutions, consumers, digital rights groups, technology businesses, educational institutions and creator representatives.

The Council and European Parliament must put the copyright reform back on the right track.

The European Commission’s proposal on copyright in the Digital Single Market failed to meet the expectations of European citizens and businesses. Instead of supporting Europeans in the digital economy, it is backward looking. We need European lawmakers to oppose the most damaging aspects of the proposal, but also to embrace a more ambitious agenda for positive reform.

The lawfulness of everyday activities depends on being able to count on a clear legal framework allowing companies to do business across the EU, individuals to access and use cultural goods, researchers to collaborate across borders using the latest technologies, and creators to be remunerated and contribute to Europe’s rich cultural heritage. This clear legal framework implies that the limitation of intermediaries’ liability must be upheld in EU law. In particular:

– ARTICLE 13 (USER UPLOADS): DO NOT IMPOSE PRIVATE CENSORSHIP UPON EU CITIZENS

The provision on the so-called ‘value gap’ is designed to provoke such legal uncertainty that online services will have no other option than to monitor, filter and block EU citizens’ communications if they want to have any chance of staying in business. The Commission’s proposal misrepresents some European Court rulings and seeks to impose contradictory obligations on Member States. This is simply bad regulation. Article 13 should be removed from the copyright negotiations and dealt with in appropriate contexts. We strenuously oppose such ill thought through experimentation with intermediary liability, which will hinder innovation and competition and will reduce the opportunities available to all European businesses and citizens.

– ARTICLE 11 (PRESS PUBLISHERS’ RIGHT): DO NOT CREATE NEW COPYRIGHTS

More and more voices have joined the protest by academics and a variety of stakeholders (including some news publishers1 ) against this provision. The Council cannot remain deaf to these voices and must remove any creation of additional rights such as the press publishers’ right. The consequences would be bad for the EU’s credibility and the competitiveness of EU businesses in the digital arena – especially SMEs.

– ARTICLES 3-9: PUT EUROPE ON THE MAP BY ENABLING INNOVATION, RESEARCH & EDUCATION

if Europe wants to be a leader in the area of research but also of innovation by businesses of all sizes, then it must adopt a fully-fledged exception for text and data mining which applies to any person that has legal access to content, and can be used for any purpose. It must also ensure that the proposed exceptions for education and the preservation and provision of (online) access to knowledge and cultural heritage apply broadly and uniformly across the EU, without being overridden by contractual terms or technological protection measures.

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