Posted on Tuesday 10 July 2018 by Cruickshank Intellectual Property

The proposed Copyright reform has been hit with another delay as Members of Parliament (MEP) voted against the directive on July 5th. The proposal entitled ‘Directive of the European Parliament and of The Council on Copyright in the Digital Single Market’ was met with 318 to 278 votes against the suggested legislation with 31 abstentions. The copyright reform put forward by the European Commission in 2016 is to update current legislation and adapt it to the ever-changing evolution of digital technology and make it suitable for the Digital Single Market. 

Controversy Surrounding the Reform

Since the announcement for a planned reform in 2016, controversy and heavy criticism has surrounded the reform most notably Article 11; ‘Protection of Press Publications Concerning Digital Uses’ which has been termed as a ‘link tax’ by critics, requiring online platforms to pay a license fee to media companies regarding linking to articles. While Article 13; ‘Use of protected content by information society service providers storing and giving access to large amounts of works and other subject-matter uploaded by their users’ would require online platforms to set up filters to detect copyright infringement and monitor content uploads. In an open letter sent to the European Parliament and signed by numerous human rights and digital rights organisations including World Wide Web creator Tim Berners Lee, it is argued that Article 13 ‘takes an unprecedented step towards the transformation of the Internet from an open platform for sharing and innovation, into a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users.’ However, many musicians and artists have called for a yes vote, with Sir Paul McCartney stating in an open letter last week before the vote to ‘Please vote to uphold the mandate on copyright and Article 13. You hold in your hands the future of music here in Europe.’

What happens next?

It is thought that both articles 11 and 13 mentioned above have been the main reason behind the rejection. Following this it now means the draft law will be re-examined and re-opened for debate. It is not known what changes or if any will happen to the proposed legislation, but a second vote is expected in early September. As it stands it is a case that will continue to be closely monitored by Europe.

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