Copyright in the EU

 Copyright law for Europe



 Updated: Enabling control freakery for website linking...

Leaked Draft Reveals EU Anti-Piracy Enforcement Plan


Link Here 19th November 2015  full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe
european commission logoTorrentfreak commented on a draft document indicating some rather censorial legislation is being considered by the EU Commission. Torrentfreak explains:

A leaked document has revealed the EU Commission's plans for copyright in 2016. In addition to tackling the issue of content portability in the spring, the draft suggests the Commission will explore a follow-the-money approach to enforcement, clarify rules for identifying infringers, and examine the crosss-border application of injunctions.

Noting that creative rights have little value if they cannot be enforced, the Commission calls for a balanced civil enforcement system to enable copyright holders to fight infringement more cheaply and across borders.

A 'follow-the-money' approach, which sees the involvement of different types of intermediary service providers, seems to be a particularly promising method that the Commission and Member States have started to apply in certain areas, the draft reads.

It can deprive those engaging in commercial infringements of the revenue streams (for example from consumer payments and advertising) emanating from their illegal activities, and therefore act as a deterrent.

On this front the Commission says it intends to take immediate action to set up a self-regulatory mechanism with a view to reaching agreement next spring. While voluntary, the EU says the mechanism can be backed up by force if necessary.

The document also highlights a need to address the (cross-border) application of provisional and precautionary measures and injunctions . Clarification is needed, but this appears to be a reference to EU-wide site blocking.

Furthermore, the EU indicates it will examine the rules for copyright takedowns and the potential for illicit content to be taken down and remain down.

The Commission is also carrying out a comprehensive assessment and a public consultation on online platforms, which also covers 'notice and action' mechanisms and the issue of action remaining effective over time (the 'take down and stay down' principle), the draft reads.

Finally, Julia Reda MEP is raising alarms over the Commission's intent to clarify the legal definition of communication to the public and of making available .

The Commission is considering putting the simple act of linking to content under copyright protection, Reda writes.

This idea flies in the face of both existing interpretation and spirit of the law as well as common sense. Each weblink would become a legal landmine and would allow press publishers to hold every single actor on the Internet liable.

Update: EU claims that it is not seeking a hyperlink tax or EU harmonised website blocking

19th November 2015. See  article from publicaffairs.linx.net

Linx is a trade group of UK ISPs so has a keen interest on issues being discussed by the EU. Linx reports:

EU Commissioner Andrus Ansip has confirmed that forthcoming European copyright proposals will not include introduce ancillary copyright rules, and will not attempt to harmonise web-blocking laws across the EU.

In an interview with Politico, the European Commission Vice President for the Digital Single Market said that there were no plans to require news aggregators and pay publishers for the right to link to their content.

Ansip said that it was too early to tell what lessons would be learned from ancillary copyright laws recently passed in Spain and Germany.

 

 Update: Bad news in leaked EU Copyright Directive...

Open Rights Group reviews extended copyright powers for big business


Link Here 1st September 2016  full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe

Open Rights Group logo Leaked EU Copyright Directive ignores ordinary internet users, presents limited reforms to support creators, researchers, teachers and librarians; while providing a sledgehammer of protectionist measures for the incumbent news, music and film industries.

Several documents have been leaked from the European Commission providing a clear picture of the proposed reforms to copyright that will be presented later in the year. The picture is quite negative as the proposals range from the timid to the openly regressive, such as the introduction of a new ancillary right for news publishers. Several key initiatives have been dropped, including changes to the current exceptions for "freedom of panorama" that allow taking pictures of public art and buildings.

The documents leaked include the Impact Assessment on the Modernisation of EU Copyright Rules , prepared by EU officials; an official communication titled 'Promoting a fair and efficient European copyright-based economy in the digital single market' due to be published later this month; and finally the full text of the proposed new Directive on Copyright in the Single Market

The new directive will complement and not replace current legislation such as the Infosoc Directive, although there are some minor technical modifications. Existing directives will not be reopened for discussion, thus limiting the possibilities for reform in key areas such as Digital Rights Management. The directive applies to the European Economic Area (EEA) and will probably be relevant to the UK whatever shape Brexit eventually takes.

These leaks make the past two years of pre legislative discussions about comprehensive copyright reform feel like a waste of everyone's time, except of course for a few industry lobbyists. The EU is about to throw away the first chance in over a decade to adapt copyright to the digital world, instead choosing classic protectionism for incumbent industries. These measures will not promote the creation of a vibrant digital industry in Europe capable of standing to Silicon Valley - as EU policymakers want.

Below we summarise the main contents of the leaked Directive. There are other initiatives in the wider package, including: a Regulation for online broadcasting, implementation of the Marrakesh treaty on accessibility for the visually impaired, a broad package on copyright enforcement and more provisions to promote European works.

The contents of the Directive are a potpourri of initiatives that include some mandatory limited exceptions for culture and education and measures to help improve remunerations for creators, but in the main are openly about supporting right holders and European industry.

Protectionist measures Publishers ancillary right

This is the most controversial "reform": the creation of a completely new intellectual property right that lasts for 20 years specific for news publishers, which adds a new layer of complexity to internet regulation. The new right has the same scope as rights of reproduction and making available and it's covered by the same exceptions, including criticism or review. The EU is open in aiming to support the financial sustainability of news publishers, and the right does not cover scientific or academic publishers. We are not completely clear on the situation of blogs, but the right is meant to cover only publications by a "service provider".

This right is meant to stop internet news aggregators to simply copy a portion of the news article and stopping revenues flowing to the original site. Similar initiatives in Germany and Spain had a disastrous effect on media access, but we will need more time to fully understand how bad this one is. The first analyses are extremely negative as the new right seems even less constrained than previous initiatives.

User uploaded content: Youtube Law

Another major concession to industry aiming to address the "value gap" created by the disparity between the number of people watching content in platforms - basically Youtube - and the revenues received. The Directive forces relevant online platforms to seek licenses from rightsholders. While there may a case for Google to share some of its profits with rightsholders it is unclear that copyright law is the best way to do it. This law will extend beyond Youtube with unpredictable effects on internet activities, as clever lawyers cotton up to the new powers given to industry.

This new power goes to the heart of internet regulation: the (lack of) liability of intermediaries that enables content to be hosted and linked around, expressed in the E-commerce Directive. In principle the new power covers services that go beyond providing "mere physical facilities" and perform and "act of communication to the public" by taking an active role in curating or promoting content, but this is not always clear cut.

The Directive does not include an obligation to monitor preemptively - which would contravene other laws - but it forces the implementation of technological protection measures to protect works, such as Google's Content-ID - with transparency obligations towards rightsholders.

Fair remuneration for authors and performers

There are some positive measures to protect creators that include transparency over online media sales, powers to renegotiate contracts and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. Overall they seem positive albeit a bit weak, when compared with the sledgehammers given to news publishers and the music industry.

New mandatory exceptions

These exceptions are positive but in all case limited when compared to the initial demands of libraries, educators and cultural institutions. They do not include many of the more far fetching reforms proposed by civil society and even the European Parliament.

The call for a mandatory exception for "freedom of panorama" campaigned for by many civil society groups including ORG fell on deaf ears. The Commission has simply stated in their documents that the status quo works fine, while politely asking all countries to implement the exception.

Text and Data Mining exception

This exception allows the making of copies to perform analysis for scientific research by non-profit or public interest organisations. There is no compensation for rights holders and an explicit ban on contractual clauses overriding the exception. Technical measures to restrict access or copying are allowed but should not affect the exception.

This is a positive move, although many research organisations and libraries had been asking for a broader scope as they feared that much important research may be excluded.

Online Teaching exception

The rationale for this exception is the lack of clarity on whether existing exceptions in Infosoc and Database Directive apply to online education, particularly cross border access . The exception covers only "educational establishments," which must control access to the resources, and will likely exclude many online educational initiatives. The exception allows for licensing schemes to take precedence over the exception and this could be used to weaken the provisions.

Digital Preservation

Libraries, archives and similar cultural heritage institutions will be allowed to make necessary copies of works for preservation, but only of works in their permanent collections. The exception is only for internal copies and not for online libraries.

Supporting the digital market

A couple of fairly minor initiatives that are positive but of limited impact in the context of the once-in-twenty-years reform of copyright.

Out of commerce works

Libraries have been lobbying for a long time to be allowed to engage in collective licensing deals to digitise and distribute out of commerce works. They see this as both an extension of their mission and an opportunity to generate funds, although in principle this is framed as non-commercial cost recovery of the costs of mass digitisation. The exception only applies to works first published in the EU. This is not a full free copying exception, but the option to enter extended collective licensing deals without the need to get approval from every author. There is a six month compulsory notice in case authors are around and object.

Video on demand

The directive forces member states to create a voluntary "negotiation mechanism" with the support of and impartial body to help parties license work for VoD services.

In summary, a disappointing culmination of a two year discussion that started with high hopes of seeing Europe take bold moves to really modernise copyright. The legislative process starts now however and while the UK is in the EU ORG will continue to try to influence the shape of these laws as they go through the European Parliament. We must also remember that this is all based on leaked documents and the European Commission may still make some changes.

 

  Copyright reform fails EU citizens in favour of industry...

Open Rights Group and TorrentFreak report on more disgraceful legislation from the EU


Link Here 15th September 2016  full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe
Open Rights Group has criticised the European Commission's proposals for the Directive on Copyright in the Single Market, published today.

Open Rights Group logo Executive Director Jim Killock said:

Thousands of EU citizens responded to the consultation on copyright, only for the Commission to ignore their concerns in favour of industry. The Commission's proposals would fail to harmonise copyright law and create a fair system for Internet users, creators and rights holders. Instead we could see new regressive rights that compel private companies to police the Internet on behalf of rights holders.

Failure to introduce EU wide freedom of panorama exception

The failure to introduce a harmonised exception for freedom of panorama is both a lost opportunity and a direct snub to the thousands of people who responded to the Commission's consultation on this. It appears that the Commission has simply ignored their opinions and made no mention of freedom of panorama in its proposals. Freedom of panorama is a copyright exception that allows members of the public to share pictures they've taken of public buildings and art. While this right exists in the UK, many European countries do not have this exception, which means that innocuous holiday snaps can infringe copyright.

Compelling intermediaries to filter content

The proposals aim to compel intermediaries, such as YouTube, to prevent works that infringe copyright from appearing on their services through content identification technologies . This is effect would force sites to police their platforms on behalf of rights holders through filters and other technologies that are a blunt instrument.

Such proposals could place unreasonable burdens on smaller operators and reduce innovation among EU tech companies. They will certainly lead to a greater number of incorrect takedowns, as "Robocopy" takedowns cannot take account of fair quotation, parody, or even use of public domain material.

These plans could undermine the UK's hard-won right to parody copyright works. Folk songs and classical performances by amateurs are often misidentified and removed as infringing 'copies' of performances of professional musicians for instance.

New ancillary copyright for news publishers

The proposals suggest a new right for news publishers, designed to prevent search engines and news aggregators from reproducing snippets at the expense of publishers. Although, this is designed to protect the media industry, it had a disastrous impact on news websites when similar proposals were introduced in Spain and Germany. It is also disproportionate that the proposed right would last 20 years, given that it applies to news.

Notes

Open Rights Group is the UK's leading grass roots digital rights organisation, campaigning for the right to privacy and free speech.

ORG's FAQs document on freedom of panorama is available here .

ORG is part of Copyright for Creativity, which campaigns for a new European approach to copyright.

Meanwhile TorrentFreak has been speaking to Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda about the impossibility of the proposals for anyone except for US media giants. TorrentFreak reports:

torrentfreak logo Today, the European Commission published its long-awaited proposal to modernize the EU's copyright law. Among other things, it will require online services to install mandatory piracy filters. While the Commission intends to strengthen the position of copyright holders, opponents warn that it will do more harm than good.

Despite earlier suggestions that geo-blocking would be banned for streaming portals such as Netflix, these ideas haven't made it into the final text. Instead, it introduces a wide range of reforms that improve the position of rights holders.

One of the suggestions that has a lot of people worried is Article 13, which requires online services to police pirated content. This means that online services, which deal with large volumes of user-uploaded content, must use fingerprinting and filtering mechanisms to block copyright infringing files. The Commission demands:

The Commission proposal obliges such service providers to take appropriate and proportionate measures to ensure the protection of user-uploaded works, for example by putting in place content recognition technologies.

This could, for example, be similar to the Content-ID system YouTube has in place, which hasn't been without controversy itself. While the Commission stresses that small content platforms won't be subject to the requirement, the proposal doesn't define what small means. It also fails to define what appropriate or effective content recognition systems are, creating a fair bit of uncertainty.

The Commission, however, notes that the changes are needed to reinforce the negotiating position of copyright holders, so they can sign licensing agreements with services that provide access to user uploaded content.

Perhaps not surprisingly, this language is directly aligned with recent calls from various music industry organizations. Just a few month ago the BPI asked for new legislation to prevent platforms like YouTube abusing safe harbor protections in order to create royalty havens . With the current proposal, this wish has been partly granted.

TorrentFreak spoke with Pirate Party Member of Parliament Julia Reda who is fiercely against mandatory piracy filters.

There are countless problems with this approach. First of all, Google spent upwards of $60 million on the development of ContentID. Asking every startup or community project to make the same kind of investment is ludicrous.

Most services that deal with user-uploaded content can't invest millions into content recognition technologies so they would have to license it from others such as YouTube. This will only increase the already dominant positions of the major players.

In addition, she points out that automated systems often lead to overt mistakes and are poorly equipped to deal with the finer nuances of copyright.

Just because part of a copyright-protected work shows up in a video, that doesn't mean that the new work constitutes a copyright infringement.

There are numerous exceptions to copyright such as parody or quotation ?� different in every EU country ?� that could justify the re-use of part of a protected work. An algorithm can't detect that. It will take down lots of legal remixes and mashups, thus stifling freedom of expression.

A valid comment, as we witnessed ourselves just a few days ago when one of our perfectly legal videos was inaccurately flagged as a copyright infringement.

YouTube aside, Reda stresses that there are many other platforms to which automated recognition systems are not well suited. Wikipedia, for example, which uses mostly Creative Commons licensed content, or services such as DeviantArt which hosts user-uploaded artwork, or MuseScore that hosts sheet music.

There is no technology available that would reliably detect copyright infringements in these formats. The Commission is asking Internet companies to do the impossible, thus endangering collaborative communities on the Internet as well as European startups.

And there is already a campaign in place against the EU's nasty proposals. The SaveTheLink campaign via OpenMedia writes:

save the link The EU Commission has officially released some of the worst copyright laws in the world, including unprecedented new Link Tax powers for publishing giants.

Despite opposition from over 100,000 Internet users and dozens of other advocacy groups, the EU Commission has charged ahead with its wrong-headed plan. This will affect Internet users around the world.

This comes on the heels of a major court ruling that undermined our right to use hyperlinks. 4 This means it's more important than ever that EU decision-makers do what they can to stop this dangerous #LinkTax plan. 5

The link tax could make some of your favourite content virtually disappear from search engines. Users all over the world will be impacted.

Join us now at SaveTheLink.org to give decision-makers a clear resounding 'no to the link tax'.

 

 Petition: More crap law from the EU...

The European Commission says Internet hosts should pre-censor everything we upload to the Internet for copyright violations.


Link Here 6th December 2016  full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe

computer says no The European Commission says Internet hosts should pre-censor everything we upload to the Internet for copyright violations. The UK agrees.

Tell the UK's Intellectual Property Office (IPO) we don't want rights holders to monitor and filter the Internet!

The European Commission has published plans to force Internet companies to filter everything we upload in case it infringes copyright laws. The UK's Intellectual Property Office wants our views on the European Commission's plans. The UK Government is minded to support the plans if they can get them to work.

This could block Downfall parodies, campaign videos, TV clips, memes, profile pics -- anything that appears to reuse copyright content, even if it is legal to do so.

We need to stop this censorious, privacy-invading, anti-innovation proposal. Users of social media, photo, music and video sharing sites would all be hit hard.

Any company that lets you upload content to the Internet would check everything you upload against a database of copyright works - a massive violation of privacy in order to create this censorship regime.

If you want to insist on your right to publish, you'd have to supply your name and address and agree that you can be prosecuted by the rightsholder. That will put most people off taking the risk, even if they are within their rights to do so. And if rightsholder think that websites aren't monitoring their users' uploads closely enough, they can take those websites to court too.

Sign the  petition from action.openrightsgroup.org