Article 13: are rightsholders throwing in the towel?
The process of the new European copyright directive, including its Article 13 section, took its latest twist on February 7th, when a group of creative-industry/rightsholder bodies threw in the towel on the proposed legislation. The IFPI, Impala and the ICMP were among a group of television and sports companies signing a letter calling for the entire legislation to be scrapped:
The key aims of the original draft Directive were to create a level playing field in the online Digital Single Market and strengthen the ability of European rightsholders to create and invest in new and diverse content across Europe. Despite our constant commitment in the last two years to finding a viable solution, and having proposed many positive alternatives, the text - as currently drafted and on the table - no longer meets these objectives, not only in respect of any one article, but as a whole. As rightsholders we are not able to support it or the impact it will have on the European creative sector.
The document continues:
The outcome of these negotiations in several of the Council discussions has been to produce a text which contains elements which fundamentally go against copyright principles enshrined in EU and international copyright law. Far from levelling the playing field, the proposed approach would cause serious harm by not only failing to meet its objectives, but actually risking leaving European producers, distributors and creators worse off. Regrettably, under these conditions we would rather have no Directive at all than a bad Directive. We therefore call on negotiators to not proceed on the basis of the latest proposals from the Council.
It’s notable that criticism isn’t just coming from the rightsholders’ side: internet activist Cory Doctorow, a prominent opponent of Article 13, wrote an article summarising other opposition to the directive in its current draft form. “Everyone Hates It. EVERYONE”, he wrote. “There's a lazy, cynical view of politics that says that once a politician has found a way to make everyone unhappy, they must have finally found a ‘balance’ that is somehow fair. That's not what's happened here”.