EU Council: Controversial copyright reform takes the last hurdle

The copyright reform is coming: in the EU Council, the controversial reform has now been finally waved.

The EU member states waved the controversial copyright reform on Monday in the EU Council of Ministers, as expected. 19 countries voted in favor of adopting the directive, while six countries voted against: Finland, Sweden, Poland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Italy. Included were Belgium, Estonia and Slovenia.

On March 26, the European Parliament had already approved the controversial project, but amendments to the reform had not been voted on at that time.

The vote of the EU member states was now considered a formality. After protests and criticism, however, countries such as Sweden and Estonia have recently been moved. Germany therefore played a key role in the vote. "If Germany abstains, the reform would be rejected, and if Germany agrees, it would be accepted," MEP Julia Reda wrote before voting on Twitter.

The federal government, which was represented in the vote by Agriculture Minister Julia Klöckner (CDU), had previously announced that it would vote for the copyright reform. Germany also issued a statement of protocol in which, inter alia, it is emphasized that the national implementation of the directive should forgo the use of the controversial upload filters.

Copyright reform without upload filter?

In Germany, tens of thousands of people protested in several cities in recent months, especially against Article 13 (now article 17) and the feared introduction of upload filters. Platforms should check in the future whether content contains copyrighted material. This is in the opinion of the critics only possible with filters in which there is a risk that even permissible content will be sorted out. Article 11 (Article 15 of the final text) also provides for ancillary copyright for press publishers. According to this, news search engines such as Google News have to pay future publishers for displaying article clippings.

After there had been a violent protest against parts of the reform, especially in Germany, government politicians emphasized several times in recent weeks, upload filters should be avoided in the implementation. Until recently, several ministries were working on an additional declaration, which, among other things, should clarify that Berlin intends to implement the directive without these filters. Lead Minister of Justice Katarina Barley (SPD) also supported the implementation of Article 17 "without the 'upload filter' instrument.

However, critics fear that in the future, platform operators will still be forced to use upload filters to prevent users from uploading unlicensed material. Although some platforms already use automated filter systems, a perfect solution for an application in the copyright context does not yet exist.

The countries now have around two years, ie until 2021, to transpose the new rules into national law. Copyright reform is a guideline and EU countries can therefore issue their own rules that are in line with the directive. In the end, the reform could therefore be implemented differently in different EU states.

ref: spiegel