Copyright Directive Draft Guidance Could Lead to Rights Violations, NGOs Warn

Digital and civil rights groups have sent a letter to the European Commissioner for Internal Market warning that draft guidance on Article 17 of the Copyright Directive could lead to limits on free speech and the right to receive information.

A coalition of civil society groups sent a letter to the European Commissioner for Internal Market,Thierry Breton, to warn him that the Commission’s draft guidance about the Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market as it stands is likely to lead to violations of fundamental rights.

The open letter was sent after the draft guidance on Article 17 of the Copyright Directive was published for consultation. (You can see our answer here.)

The letter asks for proper safeguards to protect freedom of expression and the right to access information.

Signatories of the letter raised the issue that the draft guidance endorses the use of upload filters by online services, which, without human intervention, are very likely to limit free speech, the right to receive information, and to hamper democracy.

According to plans, the guidance will formally be issued to member states by November to help EU countries apply the rules contained in the Copyright Directive. Member states are required to transpose the Copyright Directive by June 2021.

The letter sent to Commissioner Breton has been coordinated by Communia, Liberties and EDRi and has been co-signed by 30 organizations.

Read Liberties' answers to the consultation here.

Read the coalition's open letter here.