5 December 2017

Justice and Peace joins coalition to stop controversial European copyright bill

Copyright laws are supposed to protect authors and creators. But taken to an extreme, they can stifle innovation, access and creativity. The latter, is the direction that a new bill put before European lawmakers seems to be heading to.

As a result of intense lobbying from powerful publishers, new provisions in a proposed new Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market could soon impose serious restrictions on areas as far-reaching as education, research and innovation.

Article 13 of the proposed Directive, for instance, forces service providers to systematically monitor the internet imposing what is known as an “Upload filter” — an online spying tool that intermediaries (like YouTube or SoundCloud, etc.) would have to put in place on copyright grounds to police user uploads. Other articles in the bill have raised concerns including Article 11 that restricts press publishers' rights, and Article 3 that opens the door to widespread text and data mining.

As an organization that defends the work of human rights defenders across the world, Justice and Peace wants copyright laws to protect fundamental rights and freedoms promote innovation, access, and creativity instead of killing them.

This Directive —Article 13 in particular— is set to create a dangerous precedent in Europe setting a bad example for more authoritarian governments to follow. This in turn may have a direct impact on internet freedom in countries where the internet is, in many cases, the only remaining space for expression.

That is the reason why Justice and Peace is joining a broad-based coalition of over 80 European and international organizations. The coalition represents a broad spectrum of organizations working on human and digital rights, media freedom, as well as publishers, journalists, libraries, scientific and research institutions, educational institutions including universities, creator representatives, consumers, software developers, start-ups, technology businesses and Internet service providers.

We are all joining forces to send a strong message to EU Member States: Europe should lead by example instead of opening the floodgates for censorship.

Read the full text of the Open Letter to European lawmakers published on November 30, 2017, including the full list of signatories: http://copybuzz.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Open-Letter-COMPET-Council-30-Nov-online.pdf