European Copyright Directive, contested global

Thursday - 30 November 2017
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

On 30 November, over 80 organisations (see the full list below) sent this open letter to the Ministers attending the Competitiveness Council.  This is the 1st time that such a broad spectrum of organisations – representing human and digital rights, media freedom, publishers, journalists, libraries, scientific and research institutions, educational institutions including universities, creator representatives, consumers, software developers, start-ups, technology businesses and Internet service providers – join forces to send a strong signal to the Member States packaged into one sentence.

The signatories warn the Member states that the discussion around the Copyright Directive are on the verge of causing irreparable damage to our fundamental rights and freedoms, our economy and competitiveness, our education and research, our innovation and competition, our creativity and our culture.

To show the substance behind that sentence, the letter refers in annex to 29 letters and analyses sent previously by various European stakeholders and experts for more details (see some of the statements below), and which notably emphasise the negative impact of the copyright overhaul proposed notably in Articles 13 (monitoring and censoring of user uploads), 11 (press publishers’ rights, aka ancillary copyright) and, 3 (text and data mining), 4 (education), 5 (cultural heritage preservation) and 7 to 9 (out-of-commerce works).

At this stage, all arguments have been set out repeatedly by all affected stakeholder, and this from all possible angles. This letter is a warning that the copyright downwards spiral must be stopped before it is too late’, states Caroline De Cock from Copyright for Creativity.

The open letter signatories represent:

–        European and global organisations, as well as national organisations from across 16 EU Member States;

–        over 40 human, privacy, civil rights and media freedom organisations;

–        almost 70.000 libraries across Europe and about 100 million European library users;

–        1000’s of startups across Europe;

–        more than 850 higher education institutions in 47 countries (including all EU Member States);

–        100’s of Internet service providers and hosting companies across Europe that serve millions of users; and many others.

Some of the points that were previously brought to the EU legislators’ attention:

“Article 13 (…) is disproportionate and irreconcilable with the fundamental rights guarantees in the Charter [of Fundamental Rights of the EU]” (p. 14) and “contains imbalanced, undefined legal concepts that make it incompatible with the existing acquis” (p. 23).

20 October, 2017Recommendation cosigned by over 50 respected academics on measures to safeguard fundamental rights and the open Internet in the framework of the EU copyright reform. “Article 13 of the proposal on Copyright in the Digital Single Market include obligations on internet companies that would be impossible to respect without the imposition of excessive restrictions on citizens’ fundamental rights.

16 October, 2017Open letter from over 50 NGOs representing human rights and media freedom asking the EU legislators to delete Article 13. “These filtering algorithms will ultimately decide what material software developers should be allowed to share.”

29 September, 2017Open letter launched by the Free Software Foundation Europe and OpenForum Europe to secure the free and open source software ecosystem in the EU copyright review. “Article 11 will (…) have serious negative effects on the quality of the press, freedom of opinion and freedom of expression of EU citizens.”

25 September, 2017Open letter from the coalition of innovative media publishers to Members of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union on the introduction of a new neighbouring right under Article 11 of the Copyright Directive. “(…) ensure that Articles 3 to 9 support new forms of research and education and not work against them.”

6 September, 2017Open letter from a group of representatives of European academic, library, education, research and digital rights communities to the Members of the Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee of the European Parliament on how the EU copyright reform threatens Open Access and Open Science. “We are alarmed that the policies described in the proposed Article 13 of the Commission’s text could cripple the growth of online innovation for startups that already exist, while also preventing new, innovative startups from entering the marketplace.”

5 April, 2017Letter from over 20 startups and online services to Members of the European Parliament to raise their raise their serious concerns regarding proposed Article 13.


1 Access Info Europe Europe

2 ActiveWatch Romania

3 Allied for Startups Europe

4 ARTICLE 19 Global

5 Asociación de Internautas Spain

6 Asociación Española de Startups Spain

7 Associação D3 – Defesa dos Direitos Digitais Portugal

8 Associação Nacional para o Software Livre (ANSOL) Portugal

9 Association for Progressive Communications (APC) Global

10 Association for Technology and Internet (ApTI) Romania

11 Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER) Europe

12 Association of Publishers of Periodical Publications (AEEPP) Spain

13 Association of the Defence of Human Rights in Romania (APADOR-CH) Romania

14 Association of the Internet Industry (eco) Germany

15 Austrian Startups Austria

16 Bits of Freedom (BoF) Netherlands

17 BlueLink Civic Action Network Romania

18 Brand24 Poland

19 Bulgarian Helsinki Committee Bulgaria

20 Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) Global

21 Centrum Cyfrowe Poland

22 Civil Liberties Union for Europe (Liberties) Europe

23 Communia Association Global

24 Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) Global

25 Copyright for Creativity Europe

26 Create Refresh Campaign Europe

27 Creative Commons Global


29 Dutch Association of Public Libraries (VOB) Netherlands

30 EDiMA Europe

31 Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Global

32 Austria

33 Estonian Association of Information Technology and Telecommunications (ITL) Estonia

34 Estonian Startup Leaders Club Estonia

35 European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA) Europe

36 European Digital Rights (EDRi) Europe

37 European Innovative Media Publishers Europe

38 European Internet Services Providers Association (EuroISPA) Europe

39 European University Association (EUA) Europe

40 Factory Berlin Europe

41 Federation of Hellenic Information Technology & Communications Enterprises (SEPE) Greece

42 France Digitale France

43 Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU (FKAGEU) Europe

44 Free Software Foundation Europe Europe

45 Frënn vun der Ënn Luxemburg

46 German Library Association (dbv) Germany

47 Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights Italy

48 Human Rights Without Frontiers Global

49 Hungarian Civil Liberties Union Hungary

50 Index on Censorship Global

51 Initiative gegen ein Leistungsschutzrecht (IGEL) Germany

52 International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Global

53 ISPA Austria Austria

54 Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights Italy

55 Italian Internet Service Providers Association (AIIP) Italy

56 Justice & Peace Netherlands

57 Kennisland Netherlands

58 l’Association des Services Internet Communautaires (ASIC) France

59 League of European Research Universities (LERU) Europe

60 Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA) Europe

61 Media Development Center Bulgaria

62 Mind the Bridge Global

63 Modern Poland Foundation Poland

64 National Online Printing Association (ANSO) Italy

65 Netherlands Helsinki Committee (NHC) Netherlands

66 Open Knowledge International (OKI) Global

67 Open Rights Group (ORG) UK

68 OpenMedia Global

69 Platform for the Defence of Free Expression (PDLI) Spain

70 Portuguese Association for Free Education Portugal

71 Public Libraries 2020 Europe

72 Robotex Estonia

73 Roma Startup Italy

74 SA&S – Partnership for Copyright & Society Belgium

75 Science Europe Europe

76 SentiOne Poland

77 Silicon Allee Germany

78 SPARC Europe Europe

79 Startup Poland Poland

80 Ubermetrics Germany

81 Wikimedia Deutschland Germany

82 Xnet Spain

83 ZIPSEE Poland