FACT: The proposed new EU copyright rules will harm Europe’s open source community.
Mandatory upload filters and copyright licensing provisions in article 13 of the proposed EU copyright law are unworkable for open source software firms like Mozilla and the open source ecosystem generally. The obligations cover all forms of copyright-protected content, including software. Indeed, the cost and legal risk associated with these new rules would push smaller open source software developers out of Europe and threaten the code-sharing platforms (e.g. GitHub) on which they depend to innovate. The fluid nature of technology and software development means that any carve-outs — say for software development platforms — would still risk creating a risk-laden environment.
FACT: The proposed new copyright rules will negatively affect everyday user’s internet experiences.
When internet users want to share a witty meme online, or a home movie in which background music is audible, or even a photo of themselves wearing a t-shirt with an album cover printed on it, they may well find that their favourite online service blocks the content upload. Internet services of all sizes will be forced to implement automatic filtering technology, likely suppressing anything that looks like it might be infringing copyright, irrespective of whether the user has a right or permission to use the content. Given the crucial role the internet plays in citizens’ everyday lives, the impact on creativity, communication, and free expression from such blanket filtering would be palpable.
FACT: The proposed new copyright rules will lead to direct surveillance of users’ activities online.
Article 13 demands that online services build or buy specific technology to monitor and categorise each and every user upload. At a time when the EU is showing global leadership on privacy and data protection, it is deeply regrettable that lawmakers are nonetheless seeking to codify a regime that would compel service providers to monitor European internet users’ activity with even more vigour.
FACT: The proposed new copyright rules will negatively impact independent creators.
Article 13 will be used to restrict the freedom of expression and creative potential of independent artists who depend upon online services to directly reach their audience and bypass the rigidities and limitations of the commercial content industry.