Germany Vows to Prevent the Copyright Directive’s Upload Filters ‘as Far as Possible.’

Will Germany succeed in preventing the Copyright Directive’s undefined ‘upload filters?’

You probably already know the story by now.

Last month, in a landmark vote, the European Parliament approved the controversial Copyright Directive.  348 Members of European Parliament (MEPs) voted in favor.  274 voted against.  36 abstained.

The bill includes two much-maligned measures.  Article 11 (the ‘link’ tax, since renamed Article 15) and Article 13 (‘upload filters,’ renamed Article 17).

Critics had long slammed the bill over the undefined upload filters.  Dubbing Article 13 the ‘meme ban,’ major tech companies, most notably Google, claimed the bill would promptly lead to censorship online.

Following the bill’s final approval this week, one key question remains – How exactly will each country implement the so-called ‘upload filters?’can

No one knows really knows how upload filters will work.

For the entertainment sector, especially the music industry, the Copyright Directive represents a major victory.

The new law grants rightsholders an improved negotiation position with online platforms that use their works.  In addition, authors and performers will benefit from new provisions included in the bill.  These include better remuneration and contracts.

Major online platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, must now sign formal licensing agreements with creators to use their works.  Should they fail to do so, these platforms must ensure infringing content is taken down and not re-uploaded.

As stated earlier, thanks to the use of copyright filtering technology, opponents fear the new law will lead to a police state online.  Supporters counter that the final approved text never once mentions the phrase.

Issuing a statement following Monday’s final approval, Germany admits ‘upload filters’ won’t exactly work.

Yet, Article 13 – now 17 – of the Copyright Directive requires the filters until someone can come up with a better solution.

There is indeed consensus that creators should be able to partake in the exploitation of their works by upload platforms.

“Article 17 of the Directive establishes an obligation to ensure the permanent ‘stay down’ of protected content which raises the likely use of algorithmic solutions (‘upload filters’), which have raised serious concerns and broad critique among the German public.”

The German government continues it wants to ensure creators’ rights.  After all, they have a right to earn fair revenue from the use of works online.  Yet, lawmakers also want to protect platforms and users’ rights “where permitted by legislation.”

The European Commission (EC) has yet to develop guidelines for the application of Article 17.  Yet, should they fail to do so, Germany will have no choice but to implement ‘upload filters.’

Stating the EC remains obligated to “enter into a dialogue with all concerned parties,” the statement continues,

“The government, therefore, assumes that the dialogue will be borne out of the desire to ensure appropriate remuneration for creators, as far as possible prevent ‘upload filters’, safeguard freedom of speech, and preserve user rights.”

In addition, Germany vows that it will ensure Article 17 only targets “market-dominating platforms.”  The government will exclude websites like Wikipedia, GitHub, WhatsApp, blogs, and cloud storage platforms, among other sites.

In a joint statement, the five countries which staunchly opposed the Copyright Directive – the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Poland, Italy, and Finland – slammed the final vote.

The final text of the Directive fails to deliver adequately on the above-mentioned aims.

Calling the legislation a “step back” for the Digital Single Market, the statement concluded,

We regret that the Directive does not strike the right balance between the protection of rights holders and the interests of EU citizens and companies.

It therefore risks to hinder innovation rather than promote it and to have a negative impact [on] the competitiveness of the European Digital Single Market.

EU Member States have up to two years to implement the Copyright Directive in their respective countries.



6 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    “We are only going after big platforms.

    Yeah you got enthusiastic last time.

  2. Phil

    I guess, now’s the time to invest in a company that simplifies the licensing of publishing rights, samples (sound recording copyright) and any protected movie clips in order to use it in a YouTube video and monetised accordingly. What is unfair and intransparent, is that if a creator uses a 5 second snippet, all the money of a 2 minute video goes to the rights-holders of that 5 second snippet (according to a successful music vlogger).

  3. Artist

    These tech companies just need to adapt.

    There now, how does it feel to finally wear that pair of shoes, assholes?

    • Anonymous

      It feels like an entire continent got geoblocked once it became too much.
      Not that the EU commission was ever known for looking forward being the dead end it’s known as.

  4. Versus

    The tech world had 20 years to come up with a good and reasonable way to control piracy and make sure there is a fair payment to the creators of the “content” which, after all, is what is making those tech companies rich. They didn’t care.
    So now it’s high time for the hard changes.

    • Anonymous

      Lol yeah versus. You going to scan everything on your site to make sure one guy did not post one unlicensed thing in some old part of that site you don’t even remember so you don’t get fined into oblivion or sued?

      You must need your kids to fix your computer when it breaks lol