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11 member states of EU slam the new Article 13 Copyright Directive

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Making news once again, on January 18, the member states of the European Union gathered in Romania to approve the latest draft of the new European Copyright Directive – out of which 11 countries voted against the Directive.

The members states who denied voting in favour of the draft cited concerns over Article 13, as well as the similarly contentious clause, Article 11 (dubbed the ‘link tax’ provision). Due to the failure of receiving favourable votes, the Directive’s scheduled approval was cancelled.

The member states who raised concerns about the Directive include Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Finland and Slovenia – who were all against previous version of the text – plus Italy, Poland, Sweden, Croatia, Luxembourg and Portugal.

“A total of 11 countries voted against the compromise text proposed by the Romanian Council presidency earlier this week: Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Finland and Slovenia, who already opposed a previous version of the directive, as well as Italy, Poland, Sweden, Croatia, Luxembourg and Portugal. With the exception of Portugal and Croatia, all of these governments are known for thinking that either Article 11 or Article 13, respectively, are insufficiently protective of users’ rights. At the same time, some rights-holder groups who are supposed to benefit from the Directive are also turning their backs on Article 13,” said Julia Reda, an European Parliament Member and a vocal opponent of Article 13, in her blog.

Among the states that opposed the draft, Italy’s stand was the most crucial as the recently-elected populist government is reportedly not very happy with the strictness of the Directive’s copyright proposals.

Though the European Council’s would-be approval on Friday stood cancelled, the ‘trialogue’ phase of the Directive’s potential passing still remains intact. However, if a compromise on a new draft can’t be found before the end of February, the legislation faces an uncertain fate, and could even possibly be scrapped.

“This surprising turn of events does not mean the end of Link Tax or censorship machines, but it does make an adoption of the copyright directive before the European elections in May less likely. The Romanian Council presidency will have the chance to come up with a new text to try to find a qualified majority, but with opposition mounting on both sides of the debate, this is going to be a difficult task indeed. The outcome of Council vote also shows that public attention to the copyright reform is having an effect. Keeping up the pressure in the coming weeks will be more important than ever to make sure that the most dangerous elements of the new copyright proposal will be rejected,” Reda wrote.

The European Parliament voted through a draft version of the new European Copyright Directive in September last year, complete with the controversial Article 13 provision – which aims to force user-upload services to face legal responsibility for copyright infringement on their platforms.

 

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