Copyright Guidelines Need to Protect Users' Fundamental Rights

Liberties has submitted its opinion on the basic safeguards and principles for the implementation of the Copyright Directive to ensure free speech and privacy for users.

Liberties has sent its opinion about basic principles and safeguards to be set out in the Guidelines for implementing Article17 of Copyright Directive.

The Commission organised a series of stakeholder dialogues to discuss the proper implementation of Article 17 (formerly Article 13). Here is the summary what we would like to see in the Guidelines:

  1. The Directive is too vague about how rightholders and platforms should cooperate in a way that guarantees freedom of expression and data protection of users.
  2. Guidelines should urge governments to avoid mandatory upload filters. The Copyright Directive does not impose general monitoring obligations on member states, and mandatory upload filters are avoidable to circumvent suppression of freedom to access information and express one's opinion.
  3. Using filtering methods not only creates a danger to free speech but could also easily compromise the protection of personal data. Therefore, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is applicable. According to the GDPR, human intervention is mandatory in any automated decision-making process, such as blocking or removing content.
  4. Guidelines should urge member states to incorporate the same exceptions and limitations in transposed legislation. There are some forms of exceptions and limitations, such as pastiche and parody, that are not harmonised at EU level. In some EU member states, parody is limited by copyright. We push for harmonised exceptions and limitations.
  5. Big platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and others should create effective and expeditious complaint and redress mechanisms. Complaint and redress mechanisms should be i) easily accessible, ii) transparent, iii) free of charge, iv) trustworthy, v) and meet accountability requirements.
  6. Member states can impose sanctions for wrongful copyright claims. At a minimum, rightholders who request the disabling or removal of content must "duly justify" their requests. They should be liable for repeated wrongful claims.
  7. Platforms and copyright holders must work transparently. Their decisions, measures, and operations must be transparent for the general public. Also, audit and assessment tools, such as algorithm audits, are essential.

Download the full paper here.

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