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Loris Meyer's open opinion page: against upload filter on Internet!

I would like to talk to you about one of the most controversial EU directives proposed by the European Commission in Brussels in the recent years.

It is about adapting copyright law to the digital age. The text under discussion aims to give publishers of music, texts, clips or other creations more rights on the Internet and also to better protect artists and creators themselves. This should guarantee a more fair remuneration for the artist. Article 13 of this Directive is particularly controversial. Around 5 million citizens have signed an online petition and there is currently a Europe-wide call to protest against it on 23 March.

The question that is being asked: what is all the excitement about and what is it practically about too?

So far, users of online platforms such as Facebook, YouTube or Instagram have been able to upload images, music or text without any control. The user alone is responsible in the event of copyright failure. The platform to which the content is uploaded may only be accessed if it is made aware of a copyright infringement. At present, this leads to many infringements being committed, and such infringements are rarely punished. The losers are artists who are not fairly paid for their work.

And that, the directive should now change it.

In the proposal currently on the table, which many observers have described as inaccurate, platforms should in future be held responsible for content uploaded by users for which they have no rights. To prevent this from happening, platforms will be forced to use filters: the "suspected" upload filters.

These filters often cannot distinguish between illegal and legal use. For example, between a song that is stolen or music that simply plays in the background. This is just one example of many things where the filter can't work properly. Therefore, there is an acute danger that an imprecise technique may cause overblocking - so that platforms also block legal content to be safe.

In addition, the algorithm technology behind the upload filter is expensive, so only large platforms like Google can develop this technology. The smaller platforms, which often come from Europe, not only have to buy licenses, but also the upload filter technology from their big American competitors. A major threat to smaller players that could strengthen the dominance of American platforms. 

And that is why DP says that the EU directive will clearly restrict freedom of expression and destroy a large part of Internet culture.

DP is therefore committed to ensuring that copyright holders can simply be paid for their work when large platforms use their work. A coherent copyright protection on the Internet must not consist of censorship of our current Internet culture. A balance must therefore be found between the legitimate protection of copyrights on one hand and free diffusion on the internet on the other hand.

Link to Loris Meyer's platform on radio (in Luxemburgish): https://www.dp.lu/sites/default/files/attachments/20190318_lmeyer_tribune_libre.mp3