The European Union’s Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market that has been steadily gaining notoriety – as it seeks to bring “order” into the global internet by means of offensive over-regulation – now appears to also be testing the unity of the very Union that has managed to spawn it.
EU’s democratic – or bureaucratic, as the case, or the point of view may be – process goes like this: the European Parliament (EP) approves a proposed directive, in this case the one containing Article 11 (“link tax”) and Article 17 (née Article 13, “upload filter”) – and that has already been done.
Then, the European Council (EC), defining the organization’s overall political direction and priorities, approves or rejects it. And if there’s approval in this body, the initiative will be sent to no less than 28 EU-member states, with varying degrees of influence and agency, who will need to write the proposal into their national legislation as actual law.
The lack of approval when the European Council meets later this month would also require at least one “key country” to change its mind. Toward that end, Sweden is seen as the possible dissenter at the upcoming EC meeting – and Techdirt reports about it also by describing the EC Council, an EU institution – as “little known”. Well, not over here.
Much hope hinges on Sweden – and on none other than Germany – whose Axel Springer publishing behemoth has been seeking the likeness of Article 11 provisions in one form or another from tech companies for years now, and on Germany’s very own Guenther Oettinger – this time as the EU commissioner, confirming that “upload filters will be unavoidable.”
So should we look for hope beyond, and elsewhere?
Proponents of the new legislation say it will make sure artists are paid for their work available online, while critics, including the Polish government, say the rules will ban the linking of text, images and memes, thus stifling creativity and spread of information, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (FSS) said, phys.org is reporting.
Poland’s ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski Kaczynski has also been quoted as saying that his ruling Law and Justice party would implement it “in a way that will preserve freedom.”