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Digital copyright vote a step backwards for an open internet

News item

Thursday 13 Sep 2018

Nessa Childers, MEP for Dublin, expressed disappointment with the outcome of the 12th September vote on copyright rules in the European Parliament, where a number of proposals to reconcile the interests of creators with those of the online world were rejected.

Ms. Childers was the co-sponsor of a number of cross-party proposals which attempted to bridge that gap, particularly by simplifying licensing and facilitating the enforcement of publishers’ rights but without hindering the right of others to share summary snippets.

These also included provisions to prevent the systematic use of upload filters online while ensuring that large platforms that share video and music also share revenue with rightholders.

Speaking from Strasbourg after the vote, Ms. Childers said:

“I have had serious doubts about the implications of this copyright proposal for the online environment and for the freedoms individual users enjoy and that is why I voted to block it before summer.

“Unfortunately, even the attempts we made since to safeguard rightholders without causing widespread damage to the interests of individual users were rejected by a majority.

“As adopted in Parliament today, draconian provisions on liability for copyright infringement by individual users will force most platforms to preventively apply uploading filters so as not to fall afoul of the law.

“Likewise, this proposal fails to give users and platforms the legal certainty they need in order to quote and share snippets of news.

“I fully appreciate and support all creators’ right to remuneration for their work, but similar attempts in national jurisdictions have failed to make them better off.

“It is now the turn of EU national governments to have their equal say on this proposal. I hope they will revisit these issues and listen to the many academics and internet experts who oppose it, as I cannot support it in its current form.