European Parliament Approves Copyright Directive: All You Should Know

The copyright registration in Europe is different from other countries In March 2019, The European Union (EU) presented its final nod to the Copyright Directive that will renew the existing copyright law in the area and allow publishers and copyright holders to seek remuneration from technology giants for the snippets of the work used on many internet-based platforms.

While in the European parliament, 348 members voted in favor of the proposed directive on copyright rules whereas 274 parliamentarians voted against it.

“The directive intends to assure that the longstanding rights and responsibilities of copyright law also refer to the internet. YouTube, Facebook, and Google News are some of the internet household names that will be several immediately affected by this legislation. The directive also attempts to assure that the internet remains a space for freedom of expression,” the EU parliament wrote in a press release.

More about Controversial Copyright Law in the EU

For people who are unaware, the controversial copyright directive involves two sections that have been opposed by tech giants like Facebook and the Google which aims to empower the rights of creators, artist, and publishers by allowing them to negotiate better remuneration deals for the usage of their works when featured on online platforms by making the aggregators liable for content uploaded on their platform.

Section 11 is also called the Link Tax. This section seeks remunerations from internet-based aggregators like Google and Facebook for the content by publishers and artists that they feature on their platforms. While Section 13, makes the tech aggregators responsible for copyright infringements on their platform. This section is also called the Censorship Machines. Let’s discuss this section in detail:



Earlier this section was article 11(now 15). The first factor of criticism regarding the new Directive is Article 15. It aims to provide better protection for the use of press publications online. EU-based press publishers will be able to claim rights over their articles that are reproduced and made publicly available for online use to ensure fair remuneration.

Private or non-commercial use, the frame of hyperlinks, and the use of individual words or very concise extracts from press publications will continue to be allowed without limitations (practice will explain what is meant by “very brief extracts” from press publications). On the other side of many fears, the sharing by private individuals of press publications on social media platforms will not be affected by the Directive. With the implementation of the new Article 15, even the news service platform Google-News that provides an overview of articles of diverse press publishers and links them through hyperlinks will be able to resume its service, with only, if at all, minor restrictions.


Another factor for public protests and huge criticism against the Directive is the new Article 17. According to this article, service providers will be accountable for content uploaded and made publicly available on their platforms by users. For the internet-based publication of works protected by copyrights, platforms such as FB and Youtube will have to obtain the consent of rights holders like concluding licensing agreements. The liability chance for hosting providers that need service providers to act only after becoming aware of illegal content on their platform will no extended apply to these cases according to the European Union E-Commerce Directive 2000/31/EC (Article 14).

According to this article, uploaded content must be reviewed before it can be uploaded and made available to the public by service providers. In practice, such a content review by platforms such as YouTube or Facebook, with several million content uploads per day around the world, will only be possible by using “Upload-Filters”. This is the reason where the criticism of Article 17 comes in. Although the Directive provides for exceptions to the obligation to gain the consent of right holders for criticism, quotations, cartoons, reviews, or parody, the use of filter systems will unavoidably lead to the blocking of legal content (“over blocking”), as upload filter systems are not yet capable of clearly differentiating between legitimate and non-legitimate content, which will inherently constitute a limitation of the fundamental right to freedom of expression (Article 10 ECHR).

Article 17 also keeps small businesses and start-ups away from the scope of its application. Service providers who have been offering their services to the public for less than 3 years and do not exceed a EUR 10 million of annual turnover, will not be subject to the “filter-obligations”. They are only needed to make every effort to obtain the consent of the right holders for publishing copyright-protected work. Such organizations remain liable under the hosting provider privilege of the E-Commerce Directive.

Finally, paragraph 8 of Article 17 of the new Directive mentions that the application of this provision will not result in normal monitoring or blocking of lawfully uploaded user content. It seems questionable – also against the background of the ECJ’s earlier decisions under Article 15 of the E-Commerce Directive 2000/31/EC on the obligation and scope of removal obligations of a hosting provider.

For example, in the cases SABAM/Netlog (C-360/10) and Scarlet/SABAM (C-70/10) and – how this requirement can be met, especially as Article 17 now lays down filter obligations for hosting providers which are planned to prevent future copyright infringements. Here, it will be the task to find a moderate solution between two contradictory requirements for the courts. On the one hand the prevention of future infringements and on the other hand, the prohibition of normal monitoring obligations for hosting companies or providers. Apply for copyright registration in Europe today!


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