SNP MEPs urge 'mutually beneficial' interpretation of Copyright Directive

Both SNP MEPs Alyn Smith and Ian Hudghton have today (Tuesday) expressed their disappointment at the European Parliament voting in favour of a major change to the copyright law of the European Union.

The Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive, which passed by 348 votes to 274, has been controversial throughout its drafting. Both Alyn and Ian have consistently voted against the Report and instead supported workable compromises between the most contentious elements of the Directive, in particular Articles 11 and 13. 

The MEPs said:

"Back in September, we supported amendments to Articles 11 and 13 because – no matter how well-intentioned proposals to close the value-gap for artists and content creators are – the proposals overlooked the right of consumers to upload and share their personal creations.

"There’s a lot of debate still to come regarding how it should be implemented. There is slight reassurance in the form of the votes in favour decreasing since September 2018 when the mandate was approved by 438 votes, and hope that we’ll see a mutually-beneficial solution for all parties.

"MEPs have been subject to intense lobbying from both sides, and some of these messages have been a touch Doomsday Scenario. The Directive will not remove your free internet.

"Yes, of course content creators have the right to be fairly compensated for their work, and we need to ensure that this right is protected. Sadly, this report is misguided at best, out-dated at worst.

"We need to protect the public’s right to freedom of expression. Upload filters simply do not work as they can’t tell the difference between legal parodies and actual copyright infringements.

“To vote against this Directive is not to vote in favour of the status quo. Our copyright laws badly need reform but the report passed today does not deliver that.”



The most controversial provision is Article 13 which will make platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube automatically filter all uploaded content. These filters could prevent consumers from uploading legitimate content that contains copyrighted material, for instance homemade videos that include copyrighted music. 

The text of the Directive will cause almost all for-profit sites and apps where users may share content to install upload filters. Although the Parliament previously amended its mandate to introduce more flexibility for small platforms the directive fails to deliver this. Since only large companies such as Google and YouTube will have the ability to afford such technologies these proposals will not only encroach on individuals’ rights but also entrench the dominance of these platforms.