07.02.2019

eco Criticizes Planned German-French Compromise Inclusive of Upload Filter

A proposal by the Romanian Council Presidency is currently circulating. This sets forth the result of the agreement between France and Germany on the sticking points of the Copyright Directive. The proposal reveals a weakened German position in the negotiations on a European ancillary copyright law, including that of an upload filter. The German government apparently wants to reach a compromise at any price, even if it contravenes its own plans as set out in the German government’s coalition agreement. The smallest, small and medium-sized companies will essentially be those who take the hit – as will the Internet itself.

“Should the German-French proposal on upload filters be presented to the Council of Ministers next Friday, I very much hope that the ministers will be aware of the consequences and of the high price to be paid for this compromise. I cannot repeat this too often – the ancillary copyright law in Germany and Spain was a failure and the establishment of a European ancillary copyright law will only increase the extent of the damage”, says Oliver Süme, Chair of the eco Board. “The fact that Germany has abandoned a resolute exception for small and medium-sized enterprises and agreed to a regulation that will not realistically help any enterprise is a bitter disappointment for the Internet industry, and for the German and European market.”

What was initially denied is now openly being admitted to in the current discussions: The new rules are primarily intended to put a foot in the door for US-American service providers. “Here, under the banner of ‘copyright’, a mish-mash of copyright, tax, and competition law discussions is taking place, in which the empty claim is regularly made that content creators would not be protected and that the Internet would be a legal vacuum. But the opposite is the case,” Süme continues.

After more than two years of discussions and negotiations, time is running out. Members of the European Parliament and parliamentarians from Member States want to seize the moment and reach an agreement quickly – at any price, it seems. eco warns of the consequences of a hasty decision. New sets of stakeholders who would be affected by the broad scope of the directive are regularly coming to light. No one can honestly estimate the scale of the problem. The type of “trial and error” principle which the European Parliament’s rapporteur wants to achieve is to be strongly discouraged in the interests of both entrepreneurs and users.

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