Controversial EU ‘Upload Filter’ Gets Pushed Back to Parliament

The EU’s attempt to modernize copyright laws has had quite a bumpy ride so far. EU lawmakers have been working to pass the Copyright Directive, a legal proposal that activists lambast as a gateway to broad censorship.

Two main controversies have emerged in what was slowly turning into a fiasco, namely articles 11 and 13 of the directive.

Article 11 says that publishers will be forced to pay a link tax everytime they link to copyrighted material. This will majorly hamper the work of bloggers and content creators on the web.

Article 13 will hold platforms – and not just the people that share or receive copyrighted material as is the case now – responsible for any copyright infringements. The article also proposes the use of AI to inspect the data being shared. It is unlikely that AI will be able to differentiate plagiarized work from work that falls under fair use, a quote from plagiarism, or whether a photo is used as a playful meme. Using AI to do this work would be fairly similar to carpet bombing in this scenario.

Article 13, which is also known as the ‘upload filter’, says that online services will be liable for content uploaded on their services and will have to take action to prevent copyright infringements or face the courts instead.

But in a promising twist, the European Parliament voted against the Copyright Directive, meaning that the bill will be opened for debate come September.

The plenary vote came as follows: 278 votes in favor and 318 against.

Rather than proceeding directly to negotiations with the Council, the proposal will be debated, potentially revised, and voted on in parliament again. Stay tuned!