We call for rejection of the draft directive of the European Parliament and the Council on copyright in the digital single market, or at least the removal of articles 11 and 13, which, under the pretext of protecting copyright, undermine freedom of expression on the Internet.
As Internet users, we are extremely worried about the vision of its censorship. Below is a description of the threats posed by the introduction of these records.
Article 13 provides that owners of social networking sites will have to obtain from their copyright owners licenses for content posted by their users and implement "appropriate measures" to prevent unlicensed content on these websites. In practice, this means that such websites will have to implement costly automatic filters to check all content posted by the user. Hence:
Available to users in the European Union will remain only those websites that will be able to implement these "appropriate measures", in practice they can only be the largest portals, such as Facebook, Twitter or Youtube;
- Because the technical check is complicated and the automatic filters are not perfect, the content that does not infringe on copyright will be blocked and removed (eg parody-style alterations allowed in many EU countries);
- Due to the above, the use of social networks may become difficult and unattractive;
- The article properly introduces preventive censorship - the website creator must beware of inappropriate content under the threat of legal consequences;
It will be possible to use these filters for forced censorship of content for reasons other than copyright (eg political or ideological) - there will be no alternative in the form of independent websites that do not use such filters.
Article 11 stipulates that the publication of even short fragments of press texts - such as "teasers" by links or titles - will be subject to the requirement to obtain permission from the press publication provider, in practice usually for a fee. This can lead to:
Restrictions on accessibility within the European Union to link aggregators, such as Google News (after the introduction of a similar law in Spain, Google withdrew this service for users from that country);
- The fall of smaller sites aggregating links, which will not be able to afford fees;
- Liquidation of "teasers" with links on such portals as Facebook and as a consequence reduce their attractiveness;
- The fall of smaller information portals that gain readers thanks to links in social networks and link aggregators.
The overall effect of the implementation of both of the aforementioned articles will be to limit access to information to the citizens of the European Union and the possibilities of sharing it. We believe that the right to freedom of expression and to receive and transmit information without the intervention of public authorities, included in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, is more important than tightening the rules on copyright (with the introduction of prevention). In the face of the above threats, we oppose such measures that hamper the development of the information society in the EU.
Throughout Europe, we are closely following the activities of MEPs when working in committees and in the forum of the European Parliament, expecting to take into account the voice of those you represent.