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CULT Committee’s failure to defend copyright regulation disappointing

12/07/2017

CULT Committee’s failure to defend copyright regulation disappointing

GUE/NGL Shadow Rapporteur Martina Michels has expressed her disappointment at the members on the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) for not standing up to the European Commission in the latest battle to bring EU copyright regulation into the digital age.

The German MEP says that yesterday’s vote on a revision of the copyright regulation in the Digital Single Market (DSM) failed to challenge the Commission’s proposals on ancillary copyright and binding upload filters for digital platforms, and says this was particularly galling given they are part of Günther Oettinger’s toxic legacy as the Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society.

In particular, Michels highlighted the stark contrast to MEPs from the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) who did a much more thorough examination of the Commission’s proposals:

“Unlike those at IMCO, the CULT committee agreed with all the controversial Articles of the new Copyright Directive that were submitted by the Commission.”

“It’s a pity that those at CULT did not go along with IMCO in excluding binding upload filters for platform from Article 13. Upload filters - or content recognition technologies - are not an adequate solution. They might even have the opposite effects and be used in censoring memes and parodies, thus contradicting fundamental rights of expression in the long run.”

Michels, however, was most damning in the CULT Committee’s failure to address the shortcomings in Article 11 covering ancillary copyright and blames Oettinger for trying to introduce an EU-wide ancillary copyright for news publishers when it had already failed in his home country, Germany:

"Article 11 on ancillary copyright is the most annoying incentive from Oettinger's legacy as Commissioner. Similar proposals had already failed in Germany and Spain and not a single journalist has been awarded with better pay. Meanwhile, it’s helped Google to grow even further in the market with free licenses,” the German MEP continued.

“Although media pluralism - even with the temporary shutdown of Google news in Spain - doesn’t apply everywhere but nevertheless, many had argued that this superfluous protection law would provide new impetus to journalism. But the reality is that this has yet to bear any fruits."

“All eyes will now be on the legislative committee where a vote will take place in September. The debates about modern copyright in the digital age are only at the beginning, however - and still has a long way to go," concluded Michels.

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