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1

Copyright Reform: European Creators, Artists and Users Reject Upload Filtering

By now, the background to the DSM Copyright Directive is well-known. The global recording industry convinced European Commissioners about the existence of the “value gap”. The story goes that advertising-funded internet platforms that enable users to upload copyrighted content should pay record labels a larger share of their revenues. At the core, this is a commercial dispute between Youtube and a few more global content sharing platforms on one side, and on the other a handful of global record labels. However, in Article 13, the Commission proposed licensing requirements and upload filtering to give record labels more leverage in negotiations. These negotiations are by their nature confidential business discussions, and neither side discloses numbers.

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3

EC Recommendation on Tackling Illegal Content Online Doubles Down on Push for Privatized Law Enforcement

The European Commission published its “Recommendation on measures to effectively tackle illegal content online”, which puts forward a number of non-binding guidelines and principles for online platforms and hosts of user-generated content. These recommendations go beyond the ill-defined approach the Commission took in its “Communication on Tackling Illegal Content Online”. While we recognize the Commission’s interest in seeking effective enforcement of national law, we continue to have significant concerns about the Commission’s overall approach and a number of its specific recommendations.

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6

European Policymakers Continue Problematic Crackdown on Undesirable Online Speech

One of the biggest technology policy debates in Europe this year is around the question of how societies should respond to a variety of online speech issues. Terrorist content, hate speech, copyright infringement, and ‘fake news’ – however defined – are key topics. These issues certainly warrant attention from policymakers, the companies that host the speech, and society at large. But the direction these policy responses are taking raises serious concerns about censorship and free expression.

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8

Civil Liberties Parliamentary Committee Opposes Mandatory Censorship Filter

On 20 November, the Civil Liberties (LIBE) Committee of the European Parliament adopted its Opinion on the DSM, focusing specifically on the upload filtering provision in Article 13, and recommending that the provision be narrowed to remove content monitoring obligations. As drafted, Article 13 would force internet intermediaries to use content identification technology to prevent users from uploading unlicensed copyrighted content.

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10

EC Will Not Push For Encryption “Backdoors”, But Member States Might

The European Commission (EC) announced this week a package of counter-terrorism measures as part of its European Agenda on Security initiative. These include, among other things, “measures to support law enforcement and judicial authorities when they encounter the use of encryption in criminal investigations”. It is heartening that the EC restates its recognition of encryption as a crucial element in ensuring both cybersecurity and the right level of security for processing personal data. We welcome the explicit realisation that backdoors, or any form of weakening online security, would have disastrous consequences for online communications and commerce.

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