The European Commission has proposed a Copyright Directive which intends to address the challenges posed by some of the new forms of online content distribution along the value chain, which are based on user-created content.
The proposal, and in particular its Article 13 (‘Use of protected content by information society service providers storing and giving access to large amounts of works and other subject-matter uploaded by their users), aims to shift the responsibility for protecting allegedly infringed rights from rightsholders to platforms.
If this proposal comes into force, software development and European software communities could not continue to operate the way they do today. Free and Open Source Software and open collaboration play a vital role in software development today. Especially for the Creative Industries. Many inventions only came to life because of openly available software, for developers to view, edit, distribute; and in exchange contribute to the improvement of it.
This application could have a huge negative impact on business and innovation in Europe. Instead of promoting a culture of openness and collaboration, which would align with the overall common idea of Europe, it would close doors that were open for a long time, serving as a gateway for collaborative innovation.
The most schizophrenic part of this Copyright Directive is the fact, that the same department of the European Commission (DG CONNECT) has released a report in March this year, identifying the key drivers for the Digital Market’s growth and competitiveness. That study on “The Economic and Social Impact of Software and Services on Competitiveness and Innovation” came to the conclusion that
“[…] several technological trends, from mobility and data analytics to digital transformation and social collaboration, along with emerging software development practices such as DevOps and Open Source Software will radically change the way we produce and use software. Almost any industry sector will be influenced by this shift. […]”
Not only will the proposed Article 13 create barriers for free and open knowledge transfer in software development, eventually hindering further innovation for the future growth of the European software and IT market. This proposal is also in absolute contradiction to the overall goal of the European Commission’s Digital Single Market strategy which
“aims to open up digital opportunities for people and business and enhance Europe’s position as a world leader in the digital economy”.
MusicTech Germany encourages the development of a proper regulatory framework for fair and balanced compensations of creators and right holders for the exploitation of their works but this proposal impacts heavily upon several fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression, the right to privacy, the freedom to conduct a business, and the presumption of innocence.
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