EU Copyright Framework
For a detailed look at the specifics of articles 11 and 13, please see our in-depth analysis of the proposed directive.
I. How urgent is this?

Very urgent. The copyright reform proposal has been adopted by the EU Council and the European Parliament legal affairs committee (JURI). There is only one vote left, the European Parliament plenary vote.

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II. When will the vote take place?

According to the plenary agenda, the vote will take place on Tuesday March 26, 2019, somewhere between 12:30 and 14:30 CET (11:30 - 13:30 UTC).

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III. How can I contact my Member of the European Parliament (MEP)?

See the European Parliament website.

See also Pledge2019.

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IV. What can I do?

Inform yourself, and others. The best thing you can do is to – politely – call your Member of Parliament to pledge to vote against article 13, and if article 13 gets adopted, to vote against the whole directive. The latter would give the EU commission the chance to come with a better proposal.

The website links to a petition against article 13 with more than 5 million signatures and has a call tool. You can see which Members have pledged to vote against article 13.

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V. Which EU Parliament Members voted in favour of article 13 in September 2018?

See amendments 156–161, page 34 and 35; note vote corrections at the end of page 35.

For an HTML page with only the relevant vote, see here.

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VI. Why did five EU member states vote against the proposal?

The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Poland, Italy and Finland don't support the final package. Their statement:

“Statement of the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Poland, Italy and Finland to point 39 of the CRP I agenda of 20 February 2019 regarding the DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on copyright in the Digital Single Market.

The objectives of this Directive were to enhance the good functioning of the internal market and to stimulate innovation, creativity, investment and production of new content, also in the digital environment. The signatories support these objectives. Digital technologies have radically changed the way content is produced, distributed and accessed. The legislative framework needs to reflect and guide these changes.

However, in our view, the final text of the Directive fails to deliver adequately on the above- mentioned aims. We believe that the Directive in its current form is a step back for the Digital Single Market rather than a step forward.

Most notably we regret that the Directive does not strike the right balance between the protection of right holders and the interests of EU citizens and companies. It therefore risks to hinder innovation rather than promote it and to have a negative impact the [sic] competitiveness of the European Digital Single Market.

Furthermore, we feel that the Directive lacks legal clarity, will lead to legal uncertainty for many stakeholders concerned and may encroach upon EU citizens' rights.

We therefore cannot express our consent with the proposed text of the Directive.”

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VII. Did EU Parliament rapporteur Axel Voss admit that article 13 will lead to upload filters?

Proponents of article 13 have claimed that alternatives to upload filters exist that will ensure that copyright protected works are not available on Internet platforms. However, in discussions proponents have only mentioned manual filtering as an alternative. This doesn’t convince, due to the massive amounts of uploads to filter.

Writing about article 13, under the title “Memes could be filtered out by EU copyright law”, DW quotes Axel Voss, the EU Parliament rapporteur on the copyright reform proposal:

“If you have a massive platform like YouTube you will have to use a technological solution.”

Axel Voss, finally, acknowledges that manual filtering will not be enough, but that a technological solution would be needed. This technological solution is known as an upload filter.

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VIII. Did the German government acknowledge that article 13 will lead to upload filters?

Proponents of article 13 have claimed that alternatives to upload filters exist that will ensure that copyright protected works are not available on Internet platforms. However, in discussions proponents have only mentioned manual filtering as an alternative. This doesn’t convince, due to the massive amounts of uploads to filter.

Major German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reports, under the title Bundesregierung rechnet mit “Uploadfiltern” that the German government admits filters are likely to be needed.

The newspaper mentions that Christian Lange, Parliamentary State Secretary to the German Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection, wrote the following in answer to a parliamentary question:

“In the [German] federal government’s view it appears likely that algorithmic measures will have to be taken in connection with large volumes of data for practical reasons alone.” (Translation Florian Mueller, see his blog.)

This is an acknowledgment by the German government of what is widely regarded as unavoidable in case of large volumes of uploads. The “algorithmic measures” are known as upload filters.

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IX. Could the proposal have a negative effect on data protection?

Yes. According to Ulrich Kelber, Germany’s Federal Data Protection Commissioner, the copyright reform proposal poses significant risks relating to data privacy rights.

See Florian Mueller’s officially approved translation.

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X. Where can I find independent academic research?


  • Create
  • Pamela Samuelson on art 11.
  • Pamela Samuelson on art 13.
  • Pamela Samuelson on data-mining.
  • A study by the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition from 2017, on the original EU commission proposal.

Open letters by academics:

  • Statement by EPIP Academics to Members of the European Parliament in advance of the Plenary Vote on the Copyright Directive on 12 September 2018: Vote for a balanced European copyright law (10 September 2018, with Key academic contributions to consider)
  • Independent legal, economic and social scientists from leading research centres across Europe: The Copyright Directive is failing (Open Letter to Members of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union (26 April 2018)
  • Academics Against Press Publishers' Right; Academics launch final appeal to European Parliament (on article 11; letter 24 April 2018; update September 2018; originally 169 signatories, with updates 228)

For more open letters and evidence, see here.

Note that academic research takes time; check which version of the directive these relate to.

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XI. Could Members of the Parliament fix the proposal?

They can vote to allow amendments. They could remove article 13. However, that would leave other controversial articles. See for instance: Glyn Moody, Communia, and the answer regarding independent academic research.

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XII. Do you recommend MEPs to vote against the proposal?


We’re in a bad spot. There are multiple controversial articles (see answer above). Regardless, the rapporteur is rushing the proposal. We, and many others, concentrate on the worst article, article 13. In these circumstances we can not expect the Parliament to adequately fix all the proposal’s flaws.

Rejecting the whole proposal gives the EU commission the chance to reconsider its approach.

Martin Kretschmer noted:

“My assessment overall is that the most problematic aspects of the Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive are due to misguided and poorly evidenced industrial policy. This diagnosis applies not only to Art. 13 but also to Art. 11, the new exclusive right for press publishers. Both articles have little relation to the Digital Single Market objective.”

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XIII. Where can I find the most recent text of the proposal?

This is the text that comes with the legal affairs committee decision.

Here is a machine readable version provided by MEP Julia Reda.

An official machine readable version and translations should be published here, in the “Documentation gateway” section.

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XIV. What is good about the proposal?

Communia’s overall assessment of the directive remains negative; it is, however, positive about cultural heritage, public domain, fair remuneration, and the right to remix.

But even the positive aspects seem limited in scope or effect. The International Organization of Journalists notes regarding remuneration: “New copyright directive makes a mockery of journalists’ authors’ rights”.

Regarding remixing, at least with regards to uses that fall within the scope of Article 13, EU member states who currently do not have the quotation and parody exceptions implemented would have to do so.

While this is positive, it does not counter article 13’s practical effects (false positives of upload filters).

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XV. Do computing experts oppose article 13?

Yes, see: over 70 Internet Luminaries Ring the Alarm on EU Copyright Filtering Proposal.

“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.”

The statement dates from June 2018 and is therefore based on an earlier version of the Directive, but it is still relevant, as the proposal would force platforms to filter.

Steffen Holly sells content filter technology. See also his warning.

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XVI. Did music insiders turn against article 13?

Yes, as an example, French music industry insider Pascal Nègre explains why article 13 is not in the interest of the music industry:

“Rather than building on embracing the way the internet allows musicians and fans to more easily engage with one another, it would erect new barriers for the creators and artists who depend on and thrive thanks to online platforms.

I care deeply about artists getting paid.

Our industry is not rigid, and I understand that some supporters of Article 13 are well-intentioned. But Article 13 doesn't move things forward; it turns back the clock.”

Note that this statement was made in September of 2018.

See also For artists, internet platforms are less threat than opportunity, by Wyclef Jean.

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XVII. Did the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion & expression issue a statement?

Yes, he did. On 11 March 2019, David Kaye, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression urged the European Union “to bring its Copyright Directive into line with international standards on freedom of expression”:

“Article 13 of the proposed Directive appears destined to drive internet platforms toward monitoring and restriction of user-generated content even at the point of upload. Such sweeping pressure for pre-publication filtering is neither a necessary nor proportionate response to copyright infringement online. (…)

Most platforms would not qualify for the exemption and would face legal pressure to install and maintain expensive content filtering infrastructure to comply with the proposed Directive[.]"

He continued:

“In the long run, this would imperil the future of information diversity and media pluralism in Europe, since only the biggest players will be able to afford these technologies. (…)

Misplaced confidence in filtering technologies to make nuanced distinctions between copyright violations and legitimate uses of protected material would escalate the risk of error and censorship. Who would bear the brunt of this practice? Typically it would be creators and artists, who lack the resources to litigate such claims.”

Here is an older statement.

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XVIII. Which Twitter accounts could I follow to stay updated?

We also have our own Twitter account: @EUcopyright

You may also be interested in EDRi members.

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XIX. Is there a compact explanation of article 13?

Yes, Communia has an excellent flow chart.

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XX. Shouldn’t artists be paid more fairly?

We believe in fair remuneration. And it is possible to pay artists fairly without damaging the Internet.

Article 13 makes impossible demands, on their own and together: acquire licenses for all content that might be uploaded to the platforms, filter on whole catalogues, and do not infringe on users’ rights.

The real problems to be solved are smaller: what should YouTube and other platforms pay to media companies, and what should media companies pay to artists?

For the first question, as Cory Doctorow explains, we can look at business to business payments in the entertainment world. Blanket licences whether negotiated or statutory could work.

For the second question, see “What could be a way forward for copyright in the digital age?”

Note also that, at the last moment, Parliament and Council negotiators weakened fair remuneration. The International Organization of Journalists stated regarding remuneration: “New copyright directive makes a mockery of journalists' authors' rights”.

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XXI. What could be a way forward for copyright in the digital age?

We could consider Karaganis’ ideas on an open-data agenda for the creative economy.

Karaganis notes that there is very little data available to evaluate reform proposals and their trade-offs. He argues that piracy isn’t the problem, as the industry has adapted “to the era of cheap digital abundance”. More copyright enforcement will not work.

Data is lacking on the flow of content, attention, and money that make up the ecosystems. Companies can decide who gets paid what, without revealing who else gets a cut:

“[This] raises barriers to competition and makes it easy for anyone sitting on the information-poor side of a negotiation to get taken advantage of without quite being able to say how. Musicians have been complaining about these issues for decades in relation to recording contracts and, more recently, streaming revenues, where artists get around 15 percent of the total.”

Karaganis argues for an open-data agenda for the creative economy.

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XXII. Where can I find the European Parliament procedure file?

Here is the European Parliament procedure file.

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XXIII. What is the official name of the proposal?

Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on copyright in the Digital Single Market


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Twitter: @EUcopyright

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