ECJ Decision on Upload Filters: A Bad Signal for Online Freedom of Expression

Commenting on today’s ECJ judgment which announces that Article 17 of the Copyright Directive (EU/2019/790) is compatible with Union law and which overrules Poland’s complaint, eco Chair of the Board Oliver Süme has the following to say:

“The judgment sends out a bad signal for online freedom of expression. It is true that the ECJ considers Art. 17 to provide sufficient guarantees against undesirable overblocking. However, already enacted laws of the Member States show that automated detection and filtering will become the norm. From eco’s point of view, this is an unacceptable restriction on the right of service users to share online content, freedom of expression and freedom of information. Automated filters always harbour the danger of overblocking. For the companies concerned, this means continued legal uncertainty about the extent to which they have to take measures to protect copyright in order not to be sued by rightholders. They are thrust into the role of state institutions and effectively take on the role of courts when it comes to assessing the legality of content posted by users.”

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