Thursday, September 15, 2016

Copyright - A big proposed change in EU Copyright Law

     Yesterday, September 14th, European Union Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker gave a State of the Union speech and mentioned an "overhaul" of copyright law (link to speech). I'm not so sure it is an overhaul as much of tweaking of the system. The full text of the proposed revisions to the Copyright Law can be found at this link.

     There is one major change in the proposal - Article 13.

     This provision would require information society service providers to take measures, such as content recognition technologies (i.e., filtering) to prevent copyrighted content from being available on their systems. Information society service is a broad term defined as "any service normally provided for remuneration at a distance, by means of electronic equipment for the processing (including digital compression) and storage of data, at the individual request of a recipient of the service" (Directive 2000/31/EC, Directive on Electronic Commerce, whereas clause 17). Given that all service providers would be affected, it will be interesting to see how "public access" and "large amounts of works or other subject-matter uploaded by their users" are interpreted, because they could create substantial safe harbors.

     This is a big change compared to current EU law and US law. Under current laws, copyright holders bear the burden of policing service providers and requesting that any infringing content be pulled. Under the new EU proposal, the burden would shift to service providers.

- Henry Park

Updated 10/1

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