- Representatives of the European Parliament and EU Member States have reached a compromise on the highly competitive reform of copyright.
- In the future, platforms like Youtube will in principle be responsible for all content that users upload to their pages.
- But critics of the reform also stick to their warnings after the compromise.
From the perspective of the critics, it is the worst possible solution, the advocates breathe on: On Wednesday evening, representatives of the European Parliament and the EU Member States have agreed on a compromise in the highly competitive reform of copyright. According to this, platforms such as Youtube will basically be responsible for all content that users upload to their pages. However, they can avoid this responsibility if they try by all means possible to prevent users from uploading copyrighted films, music or other protected works. Especially against the last point, there had been violent protests until recently: Critics fear that such filter systems can not distinguish between prohibited pirated copies and permitted quotations, such as in parodies. The federal government had also expressed in its coalition agreement against upload filter.
In addition, the parties agreed on Wednesday on a new ancillary copyright for press publishers, much the same as that in force in Germany – although an expert from the European Court of Justice recently recommended that it not be applied because of procedural errors. The right, now agreed at EU level, should ensure that publishers earn money when their texts are redistributed by search engines.
Relief and praise for the compromise
EU Digital Commissioner Andrus Ansip praised the compromise: the Europeans would now "finally get a modern copyright with real benefits for all". The hitherto valid directive dates from the year 2001; Youtube was not invented back then. Even the responsible rapporteur in the European Parliament, Axel Voss (CDU), was relieved about the agreement: "Digital copyright protection finally ends the Wild West on the Internet, in which the right holders are often undermined so far," he said on Wednesday evening. Fears that the rules broke the Internet would prove unfounded.
But critics of the reform also stuck to their warnings after the compromise. "This deal is a threat to small publishers, authors and internet users alike, and runs the risk of putting the Internet, as we know it, in the hands of technology and media giants," says MEP Julia Reda, who is responsible for the legislative process for the European Greens. The obligation to use upload filters would make life difficult for smaller platforms that no filtering software can afford.
For the reform to become law before the European elections, both the Member States and the European Parliament must ratify the compromise that has now been negotiated. It is by no means certain that this will happen: even at the last vote in parliament, there was only a slim majority for the reform.