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Controversial EU Copyright Directive Article 13 Back From The Dead

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BRUSSELS, Belgium (CelebrityAccess) — After negotiations on the European Union’s controversial ‘Article 13’ came to an abrupt halt in January following an intensive lobbying campaign from companies like Google, many observers thought the new regulation might be dead on arrival.

As it turns out, reports of its demise may have been greatly exaggerated.

This week, a draft copy of the latest version of the proposed regulation leaked after France and Germany reportedly reached a compromise, removing a major roadblock to the measure’s passage.

Article 13 would require that content platforms, such as YouTube, implement automated filters that scan uploaded content and block any uploaded material that infringes on a copyright.

The filters would apply to all companies who provide digital content except for a slim set of criteria: services that have been available to the public for less than 3 years, have an annual turnover below €10 million, and which are visited by fewer than 5 million unique monthly visitors

While this might seem like a solution to valid copyright infringement issues, many observers have criticized the measure for placing an undue financial burden on smaller content delivery companies.

The measure has also drawn widespread opposition from the public, who noted that the filters were tantamount to an automated censorship system.

Automated filters, similar to the ones as the ones proposed in Article 13 are already in place to a lesser extent on services such as YouTube and have garnered a bad reputation for accuracy and for leaving people wrongly accused of infringement with little recourse.

Following news of Article 13’s revived prospects, a group of industry stakeholders including the ICMP (The Global Voice of Music Publishing), the IFPI, which represents the global recorded music industry and independent music trade body IMPALA, penned an open letter to the EU calling on negotiators to cancel the proposed directive.

The letter states, in part: “The key aims of the original draft Directive were to create a level playing field in the online Digital Single Market and strengthen the ability of European rightsholders to create and invest in new and diverse content across Europe.

“Despite our constant commitment in the last two years to finding a viable solution, and having proposed many positive alternatives, the text – as currently drafted and on the table – no longer meets these objectives, not only in respect of any one article, but as a whole. As rights holders, we are not able to support it or the impact it will have on the European creative sector.”

Article 13 is expected to be voted on by the European Council on Friday, 8 February, and then to be considered by the EU Parliament on February 11th.

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