Current status: IN COMMITTEE

  • ProposalThe European Commission proposes a legal initiativeSeptember 2016
  • Draft reportThe rapporteur of the leading Committee in the European Parliament presents a draft reportMarch 2017
  • OpinionsOther committees give their opinions on the proposalDrafts submitted February 2017, debate ongoing until May 2017
  • AmendmentsOther MEPs submit amendments to the report and the opinionsuntil April 12, 2017
  • CompromiseThe rapporteur attempts to consolidate the amendments into a report that unites a majority, the same happens with the opinionsdate unclear
  • Committee voteThe relevant committee passes the amended report or rejects itdate unclear
  • Plenary voteThe entire Parliament passes the final report or rejects itdate unclear
Full title:
Copyright in the Digital Single Market
Directive (will be implemented into national law by Member States)
Legal Affairs (JURI)
MEP Axel Voss (replacing Therese Comodini Cachia since summer 2017) (EPP, Germany)
My role:
Shadow rapporteur for the Greens/EFA group

3 minute summary

  • A proposal to reform EU copyright was presented by Günther Oettinger shortly before leaving his post as Digital Commissioner. The proposal falls far short of the stated goal of “breaking down national silos in copyright” and updating the rules to the digital age.
  • The proposals seek to limit how freely we can share links and upload media to benefit the business models of media conglomerates: “Censorship machines” for internet platforms, an extra copyright for news sites and the very limited scope of a proposed text and data mining exception would curtail our ability to actively participate online.
  • Two committees of the European Parliament advocated for removing the “censorship machines” provision, but calls to fix the other problems failed to find majorities. In the leading Legal Affairs Committee, the conservative MEP in charge authored a very sensible report after meeting with 100 stakeholders, but subsequently resigned from the Parliament. Her successor, MEP Axel Voss, distanced himself from her efforts and reverted to cheerleading the Commission’s proposals.
  • Next, the different political groups are trying to find compromises that enjoy majority support. After many delays, the Legal Affairs Committee is currently expected to vote on the result in March or April. It then needs to be confirmed by the entire Parliament in a plenary vote. Meanwhile, the EU member state governments are working on their own common position in the Council. These positions will need to be reconciled in further negotiations.

What’s being debated

Article 11: Extra copyright for news sites
Will all use of  journalistic content online, even when just describing a link, require a license from the publisher? Read more
Article 13: Censorship machines
Will internet platforms where users can upload content be forced to monitor user behavior to identify and prevent copyright infringement? Read more
Article 3: Text and Data Mining exception limited in scope
Will a new EU-wide permission to conduct research using text and data mining be limited to research institutions only? Read more

Full text of the Commission proposal
Opinions by the Internal Market, Industry, Culture and Civil Liberties Committees of the European Parliament
Legal Affairs Committee (leading): Draft Report, over 1000 proposed amendments

Criticism summarised

[The Copyright Directive is] on the verge of causing irreparable damage to our fundamental rights and freedoms, our economy and competitiveness, our education and research, our innovation and competition, our creativity and our culture.
Over 80 signatories representing human and digital rights organisations, media freedom organisations, publishers, journalists, libraries, scientific and research institutions, educational institutions including universities, creator representatives, consumers, software developers, start-ups, technology businesses and Internet service providers

There is independent scientific consensus that Articles 11 and 13 cannot be allowed to stand.
Leading European centres researching intellectual property and innovation law

We are concerned that these provisions will create burdensome and harmful restrictions on access to scientific research and data, as well as on the fundamental rights of freedom of information. […] a significant threat to an informed and literate society
Large group of European academic, library, education, research and digital rights communities, including the European University Association and the International Federation of Library Associations

This [law] will lead to excessive filtering and deletion of content and limit the freedom to impart information on the one hand, and the freedom to receive information on the other.
57 signatories representing fundamental rights organisations, including Human Rights Watch and Reporters without Borders

The reform may thwart development of modern solutions in education, creativity, commerce, media or healthcare
A Future Not Made in the EU – Centrum Cyfrowe think tank

For more, see the individual topic pages.


Show past events

April 24, 2018 (most likely) JURI Vote on report
Summer 2018? EU Parliament Plenary Vote on report

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Icons use material (cc) Ralf Schmitzer, Valery, Nathan Diesel, Curve for the Noun Project