Monday, 22 July 2024

Snippet tax and upload filters: lethal © cocktail from the Council – the EP must act NOW

After weeks of pushing and shoving by the Bulgarian Council Presidency (or should we say by the European Commission), today, 25 May, the Committee of the Permanent Representatives of the Governments of the Member States to the European Union (COREPER) was coerced in agreeing to agree on something in the discussions on the Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market.

And the result is appalling: every poison that was put on the table by the European Commission got worsened and mixed into a lethal cocktail for EU citizens, institutional players, start-up and big businesses (except for the rightholders) as well as for creators that thrive in the digital environment.

We have repeatedly gone into lengthy details about the (many) flaws of the Council text so now is the time to be short:

  • this text does not deliver in any way a digital single market;
  • it creates an unmanageable snippet tax/link tax for the whole of the EU internet; and,
  • it mandates upload filters that will block content before it ever appears online, under the control of private companies.

The damage is hence done in the Council, under the guidance of a couple of big Member States and the European Commission. A slight positive note is that apparently several Member States, including Germany, voted against. However, not enough of them raised their voice to stop this from happening, which remains a shame.

Caroline De Cock, Coordinator of the Copyright for Creativity (C4C) coalition, concludes that:

A heavy responsibility is now placed on the European Parliament: defending the rights of the millions of citizens, the small entrepreneurs, the creators, the knowledge community professionals, and all the users that go online and ensuring that snippet taxes and censorship machines are not allowed to creep into our lives.

Caroline is coordinator of the Copyright 4 Creativity (C4C) coalition. She is also the founder and Managing Director of N-square Consulting (N²), a Brussels-based public affairs firm. She is the author of ‘ Survival Guide to EU Lobbying, Including the Use of Social Media’. [All content from this author is made available under a CC BY 4.0 license]