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Article 13

THE CENSORSHIP MACHINE

What is at stake?

“The provisions of Article 13 threaten the accessibility of scientific articles, publications and research data made available through over 1250 repositories managed by European non-profit institutions and
academic communities. These repositories, which are essential for Open Access and Science in Europe, are likely to face significant additional operational costs associated with implementing new filtering
technology and the legal costs of managing the risks of intermediary liability. The additional administrative burdens of policing this content would add to these costs. Such repositories, run on a not-for-profit basis, are not equipped to take on such responsibilities, and may face closure. This would be a significant blow, creating new risks for implementing funder, research council and other EU Open Access policies. ” – Joint Letter by CESAER, COAR, Common Network, Communia, Creative Commons, C4C, EBLIDA, EIFL, EUA, Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU, IFLA, LIBER, RLUK, Science Europe and SPARC Europe

A GOOD approach to prevent copyright infringements

Ensure users’ rights are protected

Where companies take measures (automated or not) that result in the removal of user uploaded content on the basis of a copyright infringement, those users must have a right to counter such claim in an easy-to use, efficient, quick and non costly manner.

Ensure abusive copyright claims are prevented

Claims that one is the rightholder of a piece of content should not be done lightly or abusively. In case such an abuse is demonstrated, penalties should be paid by the person abusing this right.

Ensure a fair balance is struck between copyright and fundamental rights

Such rights include privacy, freedom to access information, freedom of speech but also the right to conduct a business. Measures to prevent copyright infringements should never result in creating excessive burdens on start-ups and small and medium companies, to the benefit of the larger ones in place.

A BAD solution to prevent copyright infringements

Mandating the prevention of availability if infringing content which entails a general monitoring obligation

Any obligation that results in practice in imposing the monitoring of all the content uploaded by all the users of a given online platform to look for content protected by copyright would be in clear breach of existing EU laws (including the Charter of Fundamental Rights) and should hence not be accepted. It is moreover technically unfeasible at this stage for all types of content and extremely costly for those types of content for which a filter has been created. The latter also show that such filters are unreliable and generate quite a few false positives.

Imposing licensing for user uploaded content on an unidentified number of online platforms

Considering that by licensing content, the problem is solved indicates one does not understand the complexity of licensing: who do you licence what from? Not every copyrighted piece of content has collecting societies that represent its rightholders. How could GitHub, the platform dedicated to hosting software, ensure all uploaded content is licensed ? And the same is true for a multitude of services such as the blogging platform WordPress or massive open online course (MOOC) platforms.