LIBER has signed an open letter calling for controversial Articles 11 and 13 of the proposal for a Copyright Directive in the Digital Single Market Directive, to be parked allowing the rest of the Directive to progress to adoption unhindered.
The letter is supported by more than 85 signatories, including business organisations, civil society organisations, creators, academics, universities, public libraries, research organisations and libraries, startups, software developers, EU online platforms, and Internet Service Providers. It calls for the issues underlying these articles to be dealt with in more appropriate legal frameworks than the Copyright Directive.
Despite more than two years of negotiations, it has not been possible for EU policy makers to take the serious concerns of industry, civil society, academics, and international observers such as the UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression into account, as the premises both Articles are built on are fundamentally wrong. In light of the deadlock of the negotiations on Articles 11 and 13, as well as taking into consideration the cautious stance of large parts of the creative industries, we ask you to delete Articles 11 and 13 from the proposal. This would allow for a swift continuation of the negotiations, while the issues that were originally intended to be addressed by Articles 11 and 13 could be tackled in more appropriate legal frameworks than this Copyright Directive.
Open Letter calling for the deletion of Articles 11 and 13
Article 11 – The ‘Link Tax’
Article 11 (nicknamed the ‘link tax’) introduces a new right for publishers in regards to the use of digital newspapers. Similar attempts in Germany and Spain have broadly been viewed as failed. The right, as originally proposed by the European Commission, is to deal with the digital use of newspapers by third parties. Exactly to what types of use the law may apply, and how this may affect end users (including libraries and researchers) has been discussed at length since 2016 and remains unclear (for further information, please see this letter from 169 copyright academics).
Article 13 – Online Content Sharing
Article 13 relating to online content sharing services, has had wide coverage in the main stream media. An online petition targeting Article 13 has 4.5 million signatures already and, according to MEP Julia Reda, will become the largest ever online petition if it surpasses 4.9 million signatures.
The legislation is aimed at changing existing legal regimes and introducing new obligations on organisations who allow end users to upload content to their platforms. The drafting was firmly aimed at the likes of You Tube and Facebook but, as is common with copyright draft legislation, it failed to take into consideration many others who would be affected. These include platorms such as Wikipedia and GitHub through to educational organisations which host open platforms that allow upload by end users.
Working with other library and university groups such as SPARC Europe, IFLA, the European University Association and EBLIDA, we have repeatedly voiced our concerns that the provisions and core definitions also apply to platforms coming from the education and research sector such as Open Access Repositories and some Open Education Resources (OER).