Controversial proposed EU law nears passing

Anything that is uploaded onto the internet would be scanned for copyright as a result of the proposed law.

The European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) voted to accept the proposals of Article 13 of the Copyright Directive.

Article 13 will mean that anything uploaded onto the internet in the EU will be checked for copyright infringement. A similar procedure is already used by YouTube, however it would become standard procedure for any website if the law is passed.

It is hoped the proposed law would close the copyright ‘loophole’ which allows certain technology companies such as YouTube and Facebook to exploit creators’ rights in relation to user-uploaded content.

To date, these companies have not been required to fairly remunerate songwriters or music performers for the use of their work in user-uploaded content online.  

These proposals now move to Plenary vote in early July, which will see all MEPs have the opportunity to vote in favour of securing creators’ copyrights online.

Commenting on today’s Committee vote, Eleanor McEvoy Chair of IMRO said,

“The news of today’s vote is music to our ears,” said Eleanor McEvoy, chair of IMRO said. “As a singer-songwriter and Chair of the organisation that represents 12,000 music creators in Ireland, I am delighted that the JURI Committee has today voted in favour of fairness. Technology and music can and do work hand-in-hand, and that’s great - but it has to be fair. Creators need to be paid for their work and I’m glad that the Committee has recognised this.”

IMRO (Irish Music Rights Organisation) was set up protect, promote and develop the collection and distribution of music royalties in Ireland. They ensure that musicians are payed and actually receive the royalties they are entitled to.

“At IMRO, we are now calling on all Irish MEPs to show their support for music when this issue goes to Plenary in the weeks ahead,” she said “The political system in Ireland has been supportive of music to date, but now is the time to really demonstrate that Ireland truly values music. This is a crucial time for the future of Irish creators.”

While IMRO are highly supportive of the proposal, many people are critical as they feel it may infringe on the freedom of people’s use of the internet.

The law would be mainly aimed at combating illegal streaming of pirated music and video. However, to do this it will mean checking any copyrightable material - which would include images, audio, text and videos.

Many people have highlighted the fact that the law could potentially ban memes as a result of their frequent use of copyrighted material.

A group of key people involved with the establishment and development of the internet, including Tim Berners-Lee and Jimmy Wales, wrote an open letter to the President of the European Parliament in which they outlined their reasonings for opposing the law.

“The European Commission’s proposal for Article 13 of the proposed Directive for Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive was well-intended. As creators ourselves, we share the concern that there should be a fair distribution of revenues from the online use of copyright works, that benefits creators, publishers, and platforms alike.

"But Article 13 is not the right way to achieve this. By requiring Internet platforms to perform automatic filtering all of the content that their users upload, 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.”

As a result of JURI accepting the proposal earlier today, the entire Parliament will now vote on the passing of the law in July.

 

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