This Thursday, October 25, the second trilogue negotiation on the EU copyright reform takes place, in which the European Parliament and the Council (representing the member state governments) try to reach a compromise between their positions. You can find the trilogue’s draft agenda and the new compromise proposals here.

Where EU member states stand

Ahead of this, the member state governments have been debating their stance. Here’s where the different countries currently stand on the main controversial articles – the “link tax” and upload filter proposals:

Country “Link tax” Upload filters
Austria in favour in favour
Belgium sceptical sceptical
Bulgaria
Croatia limit it
Cyprus expand it
Czechia opposed limit it
Denmark limit it
Estonia
Finland opposed
France expand it expand it
Germany limit it sceptical
Greece expand it in favour
Hungary in favour in favour
Ireland limit it in favour
Country “Link tax” Upload filters
Italy opposed opposed
Latvia limit it
Lithuania limit it
Luxembourg sceptical limit it
Malta limit it
Netherlands opposed sceptical
Poland
Portugal in favour in favour
Romania
Slovakia sceptical limit it
Slovenia opposed
Spain expand it expand it
Sweden sceptical limit it
UK in favour limit it

Legend:

opposed Wants deletion
sceptical Does not find any of the current options acceptable
limit it Supports a limited version, e.g. with narrower scope or more safeguards
in favour Supports the proposal
expand it Supports an expanded version, e.g. with broader scope or fewer safeguards

Is there a majority?

To pass the Council, a law needs the support of at least 55% of member states, who together need to represent at least 65% of the EU population.

If only the countries marked above as opposing an article vote against the law, it is passed.

Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Finland and Slovenia voted against the proposal last time if this opposition stands and Italy joins (which changed its stance under its new government), the proposal would narrowly be rejected, falling just shy of the 65% threshold (see a calculator here). The most influential and least sure vote is Germany’s.

Surprise attack on education

Unfortunately, a new problem has arisen in the negotiations on the copyright exceptions: Council is threatening existing copyright exceptions for research and education. Today, all Member States of the EU allow the use of copyright protected works for research and education to some extent. Generally, these exceptions for teaching purposes do not require any technical measures to ensure that only students can access the content. Several Member States certainly allow the use of the education exception online.

Parliament is of the opinion that the new mandatory exception for teaching is supposed to provide a common standard for all of the EU to allow cross-border teaching activities, because the existing education exceptions are always bound to the territory of one country. By no means is the new mandatory teaching exception supposed to limit what is allowed under the existing optional exception for research and education.

Council, on the other hand, has now completely out of the blue proposed a new Article 17a that says that existing exceptions for education, text and data mining or preservation can only be maintained if they don’t contradict the rules of the newly introduced mandatory exceptions. In the case of teaching, this would mean that national teaching exceptions that don’t require limiting access to the educational material by using a “secure electronic environment” would no longer apply!

This is outrageous given that the whole stated purpose of the new mandatory exceptions was to make research and education easier, not to erect new barriers. If as a consequence of the new mandatory teaching exception, teaching activities in some countries that have been legal all along would no longer be legal, then the reform would have spectacularly failed at even its most modest goal of facilitating research and education. It’s therefore of utmost importance that Parliament must insist that any copyright exception that is legal under existing EU copyright law remains legal if this new Directive is passed.

Other issues

Good news: The sports event organisers’ right appears dead in the water, with not a single member state having come out in clear support of the Parliament’s idea.

On the under-reported issue of Text and Data Mining, there’s a chance for improvement: Belgium, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Estonia and the Czech Republic support expanding the scope of this proposed copyright exception that would be critically important for Europe’s AI industry.

 

To the extent possible under law, the creator has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this work.

My name is Julia, I'm the Pirate in the European Parliament.

I'm fighting to make copyright in the EU unified, progressive and fit for the future. Will you join me?

9 comments

  1. 1
    Olaf Jansen

    What can people in The Netherlands do to improve our country’s stance on upload filters?

  2. 2

    Hi Julia,
    You’re doing a great job out there!!

  3. 3

    Hi ,
    Thanks for this great work.
    I’m just wonder why there is nothing for Poland, Estonia and Bulgaria
    Thanks

  4. 4
    B Lewandowski

    Hello Julia,

    I am 100% for open libraries, open access to historical records for social, cultural, community, family or scientific reseach that protects induals

  5. 5
    Michael Riendeau

    So I did a calculation on where the countries stand and I placed all those who want to limit, oppose or at least are skeptical of this, into the opposition, which gives us 15. Only 9 countries approve or want to make it worse, and only 4 have not made a stance, which I placed out side of that into abstain. So, if a final vote came today in t council with the directive as is, it would sink easily. Even if the four undecided came to join those in favor, it would still sink 15 to 13.

    Any thoughts on this calculation and is there still any hope considering how deadlocked things seem to be? Or do you think they have been bribed too much to get rid of this internet destroying menace of a directive? Have there been any changes to the conversation to be worried about?

  6. 6

    Of course I fully support your concept of copyright, Julia. You did great during your mandate. You remember my EESC opinion some years ago, but the Commission rejected all and every proposal. They want internet to be Disneyworld but not the tool of research, informations and education for all everywhere we do believe in. I wish you all the best in your future endeavours. Sincerely.

  7. 7

    Data is the most valuable commodity we have , however we are not compensated for it . A few large companies control most of it and get very rich in the process. There is a lack of transparency with how data is used and who it is sold to. This has to change in order for us to build a more efficient system . This system has to be based on trust , respect ,and mutually benefit content owners, creators, and the platforms which provide the services to share our data . If we are honest with each other and have full transparency I believe we can all benefit from this massive opportunity. Most importantly, people need to control their data , not corporations. All platforms to give users the ability to download their data fairly easily in a simplified format . Google does this very well !

  8. 8

    Hi,

    I have a questions regarding the countries that you’ve listed above. I see that countries like Bulgaria, Estonia, Poland, and Romania don’t have any markers next to them for either of the articles. Does this mean that they are abstaining from the voting process or are you not aware of where they stand at the moment?

    Thank you for all the hardworking that you’re doing and I hope this gets strike down. Rooting for you from the other side of the pond. Cheers!

    • Christopher Clay

      It means we don’t know of any position they have recently taken in the negotiations. It doesn’t mean they’re abstaining.

What do you think?