After years of negotiations and debate on a copyright reform presented in 2016, the European Parliament finally voted in favor of the new copyright directive, on the 26th of March 2019, called The European Union Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. The aim of the reform that started in 2016 was to update the european law and make it adaptable to nowadays needs by creating a balance between the right holders and service platforms, esspecially the GAFAM, which are superpowers ruling the digital market, by limiting the way copyrighted content is shared on online platforms.
It is the articles 17 and 15, respectively former articles 11 and 13 of the directive, that sparked a huge controversy.
Article 15 (former article 11) establishes neighboring rights of copyright for press publishers in order to oblige major digital platforms like Google News to remunerate the media when they use their content.
Until now, platforms were not reponsible for copyright violation, and their responsibility was limited to removing the copyrighted content on the request of the copyright holders. With the article 17 (former article 13) of the new copyright directive, these platforms became under the obligation of automatically filtering copyrighted content, and became liable in case of copyrigh infringement.
There are two main position undertaken by the different players in the net:
Those who were on the right holders’ side and in favor of the directive, concider that the latter allows a better remuneration for artists and press publishers from the traffic generated by their content on platforms.
On the other side, the advocates of free diffusion on the internet dispute the idea of a binding regulation and the excesses it could lead to, esspecially the institutionalization of automatic censorship.