The EU Copyright Directive was the focus of Julia Reda’s video keynote which was a ‘call at arms’ against the damaging potential of the Directive. Now it has passed, EU member states have to implement the Directive – including the upload filter and ‘link tax’ – into domestic law by 2021.
Here in Australia we are already seeing similar calls for upload filtering, particularly in response to the ACCC Digital Platforms inquiry. There’s a good chance the kinds of provision in the Directive will continue to come up in Australia in relation to the EUFTA.
The United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Free Speech David Kaye cautioned the EU Parliament on the potential free speech implications of the Directive while numerous tech experts warned that filtering technology is not yet mature enough to accurately spot copyright infringements without also blocking some legitimate uploads, and the reforms could have serious detrimental effects on the ongoing health of the internet.
In the lead up to the vote on the Directive Wikimedia blacked out the German, Danish, Czech, and Slovak language editions of Wikipedia in protest and Reddit posted notices to users about the potential impact of the Directive. Thousands of people reportedly demonstrated against the Directive in Germany and five million people signed a petition against it but despite demonstrations and warnings from industry experts and the Directive was passed 348 votes to 274 (with 36 abstentions). Communia calls the Directive a missed opportunity that has resulted in “a biased regulation that supports one business sector, at the cost of European citizens”. Meanwhile Electronic Frontiers Foundation has a look at what the process will look like from here on their Deep Links blog.