[FSFE PR][EN] EU Copyright review: The FSFE joins more than 80 organisations asking the EU member states to reject harmful Article 13

Free Software Foundation Europe press at fsfe.org
Fri Dec 1 08:37:27 CET 2017

 = EU Copyright review: The FSFE joins more than 80 organisations asking the EU member states to reject harmful Article 13 =

[ Read online: https://fsfe.org/news/2017/news-20171130-01.en.html ]

A new copyright proposal is currently discussed by the EU co-
legislators. Part of this proposal is Article 13 which can hamper our
ability to collaborate with each other online as it imposes new
monitoring obligations and installation of arbitrary upload filters on
every code hosting and sharing provider. The Free Software Foundation
Europe (FSFE) today raises its voice to save code sharing and joins 80
other organisations in an open letter towards the EU Council.

Free Software development often relies on code hosting platforms to
build software together. Current ongoing EU copyright review, and in
particular its Article 13 [1] however, could hamper our ability to
collaborate online with each other by imposing new obligations [2] on
every code hosting and sharing provider to prevent any possible
copyright infringement in the form of arbitrary upload filters. In
addition, the proposed Article 13 will oblige online platforms to
monitor their users and actively seek for possible copyright
infringements. However, there are no known filtering technologies that
could accurately and reliably identify whether any Free Software is
being shared in accordance with its terms and conditions. That means
with such an Article 13 as currently proposed in the Council of the
European Union (EU Council), software developers’ ability to share and
collaborate in the development of source code would be limited.

Together with over 80 organisations, the Free Software Foundation Europe
calls [3] the EU member states to acknowledge the danger that Article 13
of the current EU Copyright Directive proposal poses to fundamental
rights and freedoms, our economy, our education, our innovation, and our
culture. And in order to address the issues Article 13 specifically
poses on Free Software, the FSFE together with Open Forum Europe already
launched Save Code Share [4] and has published a White Paper [5] to
explain how Article 13 endangers our ability to build and share software
online. We also ask individuals, organisations and companies to sign our
Open Letter [6] addressed to EU legislators to prevent harmful impact of
Article 13 on collaborative software development and Free Software.

Support us today [7] so we can make the voice of Free Software
developers heard in this policy process.

 == Background on the policy ==

The main parliamentary effort in the copyright reform led by the Legal
Affairs committee (JURI) will be voted upon in January 2018. However,
several other parliamentary committees have issued their opinions on the
matter. The most recent one by the European Parliament Committee on
Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), proposes [8] to remove
the most harmful provisions from Article 13, which means:

- no to upload filters;

- no to general monitoring obligation to actively seek for any possible
  copyright infringement on their platforms.

As a result, the LIBE opinion goes in the right direction to make sure
that no content, including source code, is taken down because of
'potential' copyright infringement decided by the arbitrary filters.
While LIBE's vote did not reject the harmful Article 13 as a whole, it
still sends a clear message to the rest of the European Parliament that
there is no place for arbitrary code filters when it comes to sharing
Free Software online.

While European Parliament's main negotiating position regarding the EU
copyright directive is yet to come, the co-legislator EU Council
consisting of the EU member states representatives, however, seems to be
taking a completely diverging direction, evident from their revised
presidency compromise proposal [9] on Article 13. EU Council's
compromise proposal reinforces arbitrary removal of works hosted online.

In particular, the EU council proposal reinforces the European
Commission's proposal to oblige online platforms, such as code sharing
platforms, to prevent any copyright infringement on their platforms. It
explicitly mandates to delete and block any content, including code
uploads, as soon as the platform is notified of a potential infringement
without any meaningful redress mechanism for users to contest that
decision. Furthermore, it makes it an explicit responsibility of a
platform to make sure that the same content is not being available
elsewhere on the same platform, including for example all other projects
that might have incorporated the same source code into their software.
As a result any code repository or project can be disabled or taken down
from online code hosting services at any time.

The EU Council's text is even more inconsistent in its proposals. Not
only are platforms obliged to pre-block content, but they have to make
sure the "preliminarily blocked content"' is made publicly available so
the relevant rightsholders can "enforce their rights with regard to
infringing works". The proposal mandates at the same time to both pre-
block content upon uploading, and to make the same content publicly
available simultaneously, in order to expand the number of possible
copyright infringers for rightsholders to go after. Only then, platforms
cannot be held liable for actions of their users, while demanding
mutually exclusive actions from them. As a result, the EU Council's
compromise proposal is introducing more legal uncertainty for online
platforms and their users when it comes to sharing works online,
including software.

Please become a supporter of the FSFE now [10], and enable our work!

  1: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:52016PC0593
  2: https://fsfe.org/news/2017/news-20171005-01.html
  3: http://copybuzz.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Open-Letter-COMPET-Council-30-Nov-online.pdf
  4: https://savecodeshare.eu/
  5: https://savecodeshare.eu/static/assets/WhitePaper-ImpactofArticel13onSoftwareEcosystem-SaveCodeShare.pdf
  6: https://savecodeshare.eu/
  7: https://fsfe.org/join
  8: https://fsfe.org/www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&reference=PE-604.830&format=PDF&language=EN&secondRef=02
  9: https://fsfe.org/data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-14482-2017-INIT/en/pdf
 10: https://fsfe.org/join

  == About the Free Software Foundation Europe ==

  Free Software Foundation Europe is a charity that empowers users to
  control technology. Software is deeply involved in all aspects of our
  lives; and it is important that this technology empowers rather than
  restricts us. Free Software gives everybody the rights to use,
  understand, adapt and share software. These rights help support other
  fundamental freedoms like freedom of speech, press and privacy.

  The FSFE helps individuals and organisations to understand how Free
  Software contributes to freedom, transparency, and self-determination.
  It enhances users' rights by abolishing barriers to Free Software
  adoption, encourage people to use and develop Free Software, and
  provide resources to enable everyone to further promote Free Software
  in Europe.


Matthias Kirschner - President - Free Software Foundation Europe
Schönhauser Allee 6/7, 10119 Berlin, Germany | t +49-30-27595290
Registered at Amtsgericht Hamburg, VR 17030  |   (fsfe.org/join)
Contact (fsfe.org/about/kirschner)  -  Weblog (k7r.eu/blog.html)

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