EU copyright reform isolates Europe’s creatives from the rest of the world.

EU Urheberrecht

The Federal Association of Music Technology in Germany (MusicTech Germany) strongly condemns yesterday’s decision on the new EU copyright directive. This proposed legislation reduces the innovative power of European companies to an unimaginable extent and isolates Europe’s cultural and creative industries from the rest of the world.

Berlin, 14. February 2019. For two years, various versions of the copyright reform were debated and redacted. The final draft that has now been adopted is the worst possible solution of all the drafts presented. In particular, the obligation adopted in Article 13 to implement upload filters for all companies older than three years is, in fact, the end for innovative startups, which mean to develop new opportunities for creatives in the global battle for exploitation, and to realize new, additional, and more transparent monetization possibilities on the internet.

Federal government breaks coalition pledges

By approving this EU directive, the Federal Government of Germany is breaking one of the promises they have made already in the coalition agreement. There, the parties CDU and SPD had stated that they “reject a commitment of platforms to upload filters as disproportionate.” This position was underlined again by Christiane Wirtz, Secretary of State of the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, at the Music Economy Summit 2018. She made it clear in her speech that the Federal Government will not sign a Copyright Directive, which will, among other things, expose small and medium-sized enterprises, to copyright liability risks.

For small, innovative companies in particular, this regulation means that they are likely to have to discontinue their services, as they themselves will not be able to develop their own upload filter technology. They have no other chance than buying it for a lot of money from companies that have developed kind of such technology. None of such companies exist in Europe. They are almost all exclusively based in the US.

Technical madness

Apart from that, it is technically just not possible to develop a universal upload filter that can distinguish between memes, satire, mash ups, remixes, parodies and original content.

It is also absurd to require platform operators to hold licenses for alll copyrighted works worldwide.

Matthias Strobel, President of MusicTech Germany:

“Such a system would require that, in the case of the music industry, the collecting societies and labels, provide the platforms with the metadata of their repertoire so that they can be used with the platform operator to check whether an upload is licensed or not in the first place. There has been little to no willingness to do that so so far. “

Copyright Directive re-speaks European law

To hold platforms liable for the uploaded user-content will not only endangers Europe’s innovative power but is also illegal. As early as 2012, the European Court of Justice ruled hat providers of such platforms cannot be forced to check all content in advance, as this violates the prohibition of the general obligation to monitor, restricts entrepreneurial freedom, and curtails the freedom of expression of European citizens.

The losers are the artists and creatives

This copyright directive censors diversity on the internet and strengthens the power of large technology enterprises, while creatives in Europe will no longer be able to compete for attention on the internet against non-European artists.

MusicTech Germany advocates the development of a proper legal framework for fair and balanced compensation of creators and rights holders for the exploitation of their works. The proposed copyright directive, however, is censorship of Europe’s cultural and creative identity and innovation capacity.

We, therefore, call on the German Government to return to the common European idea and to vote against the adoption of this Copyright Directive in the Council.