The European copyright directive is so bad that it is proving very difficult to transpose into decent national laws

of some-of-us-may-have-been-warned department

We have written many articles about the EU Copyright Directive because it contains two extremely harmful ideas. The first is the “excerpt tax”, an attempt by some newspaper publishers to charge sites like Google for the privilege of displaying and linking to newspaper publishers’ material – an attack on underlying web hyperlinks. The second element is the upload filter, probably the worst development in the world of copyright in decades.

The EU Copyright Directive is not just bad law, it is poorly drafted law. This is evidenced by the fact that three years after the adoption of the directive, and almost a year after what was supposed to be the deadline for transposing it into national law, less than half of the Member States of UE have done so, reports here by EURACTIV:

only twelve EU countries [out of 27] incorporated the measure into their national laws, Austria, Croatia, Estonia, France, Ireland, Italy, Spain and Luxembourg did so only after reprimand from the Commission .

Not surprisingly, the two main sticking points are precisely the snippet tax – article 15 – and the download filters – article 17. As a former MEP Felix Redawho participated in the legislative process of this directive, told EURACTIV that article 17 in particular is problematic because the provision is as follows:

“internally contradictory” in its requirement that platforms prevent the uploading of copyright-infringing content while ensuring that legal content is not removed.

It is not unreasonable that, faced with this impossible task, EU Member States have metaphorically given up and simply transposed Article 17 verbatim into their national legislation, without attempting to detail how the new laws will work. In practice.

This only pushes the problems further down the road. At some point, deep-pocketed internet platforms will start to take legal challenges to these new laws they are required to abide by, but not told how. It may be fun to see some of these transpositions go down in legal flames, but none of this continued fiasco will help creators, and it will hurt users trying to share and enjoy material online. The key elements of the EU Copyright Directive were a waste of time, energy and money from the start, the result of selfish and short-sighted lobbying.

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Originally posted on Walled Culture.

Filed Under: copyright, copyright directive, eu, snippet tax, download filters

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