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(English) November 2017 Open Letter on EU © Reform

Przepraszamy, ten wpis jest dostępny tylko w języku English.

Over 80 organisations representing a broad spectrum of stakeholders join forces to warn Member states and EU Institutions that the discussion around the Copyright Directive are on the verge of causing irreparable damage


On 30 November, over 80 organisations (see the full list below) sent this open letter [PDF] to the Ministers attending the Competitiveness Council and the EU institutions.

This is the 1st time that such a broad spectrum of organisations – representing human and digital rights, media freedom, publishers, journalists, libraries, scientific and research institutions, educational institutions including universities, creator representatives, consumers, software developers, start-ups, technology businesses and Internet service providers – join forces to send a strong signal to the Member States packaged into one sentence.

The signatories warn the Member states that the discussion around the Copyright Directive are 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.

To show the substance behind that sentence, the letter refers in annex to 29 letters and analyses sent previously by various European stakeholders and experts for more details (see some of the statements below), and which notably emphasise the negative impact of the copyright overhaul proposed notably in Articles 13 (monitoring and censoring of user uploads), 11 (press publishers’ rights, aka ancillary copyright) and, 3 (text and data mining), 4 (education), 5 (cultural heritage preservation) and 7 to 9 (out-of-commerce works).

„At this stage, all arguments have been set out repeatedly by all affected stakeholder, and this from all possible angles. This letter is a warning that the copyright downwards spiral must be stopped before it is too late”, states Caroline De Cock from Copyright for Creativity.

The open letter signatories represent:

  • European and global organisations, as well as national organisations from across 16 EU Member States;
  • over 40 human, privacy, civil rights and media freedom organisations;
  • almost 70.000 libraries across Europe and about 100 million European library users;
  • 1000’s of startups across Europe;
  • more than 850 higher education institutions in 47 countries (including all EU Member States);
  • 100’s of Internet service providers and hosting companies across Europe that serve millions of users;
  • and many others.

Some of the points that were previously brought to the EU legislators’ attention:

„Article 13 (…) is disproportionate and irreconcilable with the fundamental rights guarantees in the Charter [of Fundamental Rights of the EU]” (p. 14) and „contains imbalanced, undefined legal concepts that make it incompatible with the existing acquis” (p. 23).

20 October, 2017 – Recommendation co-signed by over 50 respected academics on measures to safeguard fundamental rights and the open Internet in the framework of the EU copyright reform.

„Article 13 of the proposal on Copyright in the Digital Single Market include obligations on internet companies that would be impossible to respect without the imposition of excessive restrictions on citizens’ fundamental rights.”

16 October, 2017 – Open letter from over 50 NGOs representing human rights and media freedom asking the EU legislators to delete Article 13.

„These filtering algorithms will ultimately decide what material software developers should be allowed to share.”

29 September, 2017 – Open letter launched by the Free Software Foundation Europe and OpenForum Europe to secure the free and open source software ecosystem in the EU copyright review.

„Article 11 will (…) have serious negative effects on the quality of the press, freedom of opinion and freedom of expression of EU citizens.”

25 September, 2017 – Open letter from the coalition of innovative media publishers to Members of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union on the introduction of a new neighbouring right under Article 11 of the Copyright Directive.

„(…) ensure that Articles 3 to 9 support new forms of research and education and not work against them.”

6 September, 2017 – Open letter from a group of representatives of European academic, library, education, research and digital rights communities to the Members of the Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee of the European Parliament on how the EU copyright reform threatens Open Access and Open Science.

„We are alarmed that the policies described in the proposed Article 13 of the Commission’s text could cripple the growth of online innovation for startups that already exist, while also preventing new, innovative startups from entering the marketplace.”

5 April, 2017 – Letter from over 20 startups and online services to Members of the European Parliament to raise their raise their serious concerns regarding proposed Article 13.

Open letter signatories

Organisations Country/
1 Access Info Europe Europe
2 ActiveWatch Romania
3 Allied for Startups Europe
4 ARTICLE 19 Global
5 Asociación de Internautas Spain
6 Asociación Española de Startups Spain
7 Associação D3 – Defesa dos Direitos Digitais (D³) Portugal
8 Associação Nacional para o Software Livre (ANSOL) Portugal
9 Association for Progressive Communications (APC) Global
10 Association for Technology and Internet (ApTI) Romania
11 Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER) Europe
12 Association of Publishers of Periodical Publications (AEEPP) Spain
13 Association of the Defence of Human Rights in Romania  (APADOR-CH) Romania
14 Association of the Internet Industry (eco) Germany
15 Austrian Startups Austria
16 Bits of Freedom (BoF) Netherlands
17 BlueLink Civic Action Network Bulgaria
18 Brand24 Poland
19 Bulgarian Helsinki Committee Bulgaria
20 Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) Global
21 Centrum Cyfrowe Poland
22 Civil Liberties Union for Europe (Liberties) Europe
23 Communia Association Global
24 Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) Global
25 Copyright for Creativity (C4C) Europe
26 Create Refresh Campaign Europe
27 Creative Commons Global
29 Dutch Association of Public Libraries (VOB) Netherlands
30 EDiMA Europe
31 Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Global
32 Austria
33 Estonian Association of Information Technology and Telecommunications (ITL) Estonia
34 Estonian Startup Leaders Club Estonia
35 European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA) Europe
36 European Digital Rights (EDRi) Europe
37 European Innovative Media Publishers Europe
38 European Internet Services Providers Association (EuroISPA) Europe
39 European University Association (EUA) Europe
40 Factory Berlin Europe
41 Federation of Hellenic Information Technology & Communications Enterprises (SEPE) Greece
42 France Digitale France
43 Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU (FKAGEU) Europe
44 Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) Europe
45 Frënn vun der Ënn Luxemburg
46 German Library Association (dbv) Germany
47 Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights Italy
48 Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF) Global
49 Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) Hungary
50 Index on Censorship Global
51 Initiative gegen ein Leistungsschutzrecht (IGEL) Germany
52 International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Global
53 ISPA Austria Austria
54 Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights (CILD) Italy
55 Italian Internet Service Providers Association (AIIP) Italy
56 Justice & Peace Netherlands
57 Kennisland Netherlands
58 l’Association des Services Internet Communautaires (ASIC) France
59 League of European Research Universities (LERU) Europe
60 Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA) UK
61 Media Development Center Bulgaria
62 Mind the Bridge Global
63 Modern Poland Foundation Poland
64 National Online Printing Association (ANSO) Italy
65 Netherlands Helsinki Committee (NHC) Netherlands
66 Open Knowledge International (OKI) Global
67 Open Rights Group (ORG) UK
68 OpenMedia Global
69 Platform for the Defence of Free Expression (PDLI) Spain
70 Portuguese Association for Free Education (AEL) Portugal
71 Public Libraries 2020 Europe
72 Robotex Estonia
73 Roma Startup Italy
74 SA&S – Partnership for Copyright & Society Belgium
75 Science Europe Europe
76 SentiOne Poland
77 Silicon Allee Germany
78 SPARC Europe Europe
79 Startup Poland Poland
80 Ubermetrics Germany
81 Wikimedia Deutschland Germany
82 Xnet Spain
83 ZIPSEE Poland

Additional signatories

Organisations Country/
84 Technology Ireland Ireland
85 European Network for Copyright in Support of Education and Science (ENCES) Europe

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Herman Rucic is Senior Policy Manager in the secretariat of the Copyright 4 Creativity (C4C) coalition. He is Senior Policy Manager at N-square Consulting since September 2010. [All content from this author is made available under a CC BY 4.0 license]