EU Copyright Reform Proposals Unfit for the Digital Age

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(Open Letter to Members of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union)
Multiple Authors
24 February 2017

(Open Letter to Members of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union)
We are independent legal, economic and social scientists, and represent the leading European centres
researching intellectual property and innovation law.
It is likely that you personally are being lobbied with regard to a complex Copyright Reform package that
extends to 3 Regulations and 2 Directives (supported by over 400 pages of Impact Assessments).
The proposals say the right words on the cover: “EU Copyright Rules Fit For The Digital Age. Better
choice & access to content online and across borders. Improved copyright rules for education, research,
cultural heritage and inclusion of disabled people. A fairer online environment for creators and the
press.”
While the Proposed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market
number of reasonable, common sense measures (for example relating to cross border access, out-of-
commerce works, and access for the benefit of visually impaired people), there are two provisions that
are fundamentally flawed. They do not serve the public interest.
(COM(2016) 593 final) contains a
Article 13 indirectly tries to amend the E-Commerce Directive (2000/31/EC) that arranges the liability of online intermediaries for user generated content into a shared responsibility of rights holders and service providers. The proposals will hinder digital innovation and users’ participation.
Article 11 seeks to create an additional exclusive right for press publishers, even though press publishers
already acquire exclusive rights from authors via contract. The additional right will deter communication
of news, obstruct online licensing, and will negatively affect authors.
With respect to both provisions, independent empirical evidence has been ignored, consultations have
been summarised in a misleading manner, and legitimate criticism has been labelled as anti-copyright.
We urge you to look inside the copyright package and seek out independent expertise.
In order to facilitate debate, we have produced two short appendices to this letter, setting out the key
flaws of the proposals, and listing sources of evaluation. There is independent scientific consensus that
Articles 11 and 13 cannot be allowed to stand