Brussels
17 February 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

EU's Article 13 ‘needs to be properly defined’


A rapporteur for the European Parliament committee on culture and education has submitted draft amendments to the proposed EU Digital Single Market copyright directive, arguing that Article 13 does not properly define its own scope.

The directive is part of 16 initiatives set out by the European Commission to create the Digital Single Market in Europe.

The draft opinion, submitted by rapporteur Marc Joulaud to the European Parliament committee as it considers what has been proposed, said that the proposal does not “define with enough provision” the scope of the services that will fall under Article 13 of the directive. This will create “legal uncertainty and a potential broader effect”.

Currently, Article 13 proposes that user content platforms and services such as YouTube use content recognition technologies to remove potentially infringing subject matter from their sites.

These systems would be akin to YouTube’s ContentID technology.

But, according to Joulaud, the European Commission does not “acknowledge the position consumers, as service users, now occupy in the digital environment”, and the proposal must create a “new pillar to protect consumer’s legitimate practices”.

To create this fourth pillar, a new mandatory exception should be made to protect the use of extracts of copyright-protected works in “user-generated content”.

Joulaud also tabled several other amendments relating to four key objectives, including the provision of legal certainty regarding the new exceptions and limitations.

He said: “The current proposal does not provide full legal clarity on the burden of the parties involved in each exception, which would jeopardise their effectiveness and hamper their harmonised implementation.”

Further, the proposal needs to define digital content platforms and ensure fair cooperation with rights holders.

Joulaud said that this amendment would cover specific uses of these works where use is not harmful to rights holders.

The fourth and final objective asks that the directive allow authors and performers to effectively enforce their rights, asking that disputes between authors performers and their contractual partners may be initiated “either on an individual or collective basis”.

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