The Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market

Molly responds to constituents who have contacted her with concerns about Article 13 of the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market

Dear constituent,

In recent weeks, I have received many messages from citizens voicing their concerns about Article 13 of the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. I am glad to see that so many people are willing to raise this issue with their elected representatives in the European Parliament and to make their voices heard.

The debate on the new Directive has been no less controversial here in Parliament, especially on Article 13 – although there are other issues in the text that have caused intense discussions, such as Article 11 and the so-called “link tax”. 

As you may know, the Greens/EFA Group plays a leadership role in the Parliament on digital and internet policy and our Shadow rapporteur, Julia Reda, has been working very hard on the Copyright Directive since the Commission published the draft legislative text back in 2016. I have been able to talk through with her our response to the key issues.

Let me be clear on this: our Group is opposed to the introduction of a filtering obligation for online platforms, which Article 13 currently implies. Monitoring and identifying all content users upload to online platforms in order to prevent copyright breaches is not proportionate to the objective of this law and puts freedom of expression at risk.

We also oppose Article 11, which would force anyone who wishes to use parts of journalistic content for link-sharing to first get a license form the publisher (e.g. to display link previews using headlines of articles, excerpts etc.). On the one hand, similar initiatives to introduce such a “link tax” in Germany and Spain have already failed. On the other hand, this measure would needlessly limit access to online information and discourage the use of hyperlinks.

I should say, however, that we believe the operators of social media platforms should take greater responsibility for their content and should carry some of the responsibilities of publishers. So far, it has been too easy for them to deny responsibility and thus facilitate the spread of disinformation and propaganda. I believe we may need to regulate in this area but the current proposals are too heavy-handed.

Julia Reda has been very vocal in opposing the aspects of the text that would threaten internet freedom. She has published extensive information about the Directive and its possible (negative) consequences on her website.

Unfortunately, the Committee for Legal Affairs adopted the Copyright Directive without any changes to Articles 11 and 13 on June 20th. However, the text still needs to be approved by the plenary of the European Parliament, probably in July or September. In the meantime, Julia Reda will challenge the outcome of the committee vote on behalf of the Greens/EFA Group. She remains determined to fight, because she is convinced that “we can still overturn this result and preserve the free internet”.

I would like to thank you for getting in touch with me at this crucial point in time – it is extremely important for citizens to address their concerns directly to MEPs. If you would like to know more about my work in the European parliament, please visit my website where you can also sign up to my regular newsletter. 

Warm wishes,