Copyright: EU Parliament puts reform on ice

The EU Parliament has rejected controversial plans for a reform of Internet copyright laws that would introduce compulsory upload filters. In a plenary session the parliament voted by a thin majority against presenting the bill to the member states. Commentators discuss the pros and cons of the reform and see it as a ray of hope for European policy that the topic has drawn so much attention.

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Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

A ray of hope for Europe

The social debate about copyright was a glimmer of hope for Europe, writes the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung gleefully:

“An initiative from often so remote Brussels that ties in with a real debate. This was no rebellion of computer freaks. A broad section of civil society first took a critical stance vis-à-vis a technically and legally complex plan and then stopped it. Admittedly, those who suspect that every critic of the plan is a Google lobbyist won't be able to feel this sense of satisfaction, an impudent allegation anyway: consumer protection activists, social democrats, Greens and liberals and even some conservatives were also against it. ... The main thing now is to take the criticism seriously so that what ends up in the legal text will be the result of a true European debate - and that's a glimmer of hope.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Problematic surveillance technology

The EU Parliament's vote against the copyright directive is the right step, writes Der Standard:

“Preliminary checks of all photos and videos uploaded on the Internet were to prevent Youtube from earning money with the creative content of others. It sounds good, but there's a tiny problem with this: reality. Google has already been checking all uploads through its own filtering system for years. In that respect the directive wouldn't have affected the company anyway. But it would have affected the small companies and start-ups that would also be obliged to carry out preliminary checks. The fact that there were no ideas in advance as to how all this was to be implemented at the technical level, or even financed, or about how to resolve the resulting surveillance problems fits in with this scenario.”

El Mundo (ES) /

Combat fake news with copyright protection

Europe urgently needs this reform, El Mundo stresses:

“The rejection of the copyright reform by the EU Parliament is not good news. ... The text established that service providers with a strong lobby in Brussels who make money through advertising by using the content of others would have to reach an agreement with media over author rights. The latter could then claim compensation from platforms that use their articles or excerpts from them. ... A revised version of the reform will return to the EU Parliament. It should be approved. Nothing is for free, including intellectual property. Paying for it is the best way to combat fake news.”

Corriere della Sera (IT) /

Protecting everyone's intellectual work

Unfortunately the campaign of the Internet lobby has borne fruit, complains Corriere della Sera's US expert Massimo Gaggi:

“Now it must be clear to everyone that this dispute is about far more than protecting the financing channels of a press which, although it is in crisis, is still the most important instrument for defending democracy. It's about the right to defend the intellectual work performed by large and small agents in every area. And above all it's about not allowing this value to be destroyed by those who spread misleading or false slogans over a megaphone in order to stop a measure they don't want.”