Copyright is a huge area of debate in European legislation and today we have been voting on article 11 and 13 which call for changes in the way copyright law is enforced.
There has been a lot of discussion about this issue. I have heard from many people on both sides of the argument. I have heard from tech firms, from publishers, musicians and more but I just can’t support the articles in their current form, I voted against them today and I wanted to explain why.
I am in favour of content creators being paid for their intellectual property, so I am not against the principle of these articles, which seek to grant copyright protection. However, I do not believe they are clear enough to explain to start up online platforms and many individual internet users what they can and can’t do in future.
The introduction of GDPR proved that you can’t just introduce well-meaning but sledgehammer style legislation and then forget to look at the impact it will have on ordinary individuals.
How many people who are setting up a simple personal blog today on WordPress or an email newsletter, now face a reminder to set up a detailed privacy document? How many people who could be contributing to the rich discussions we all enjoy online will now be thinking it’s just too much hassle?
What we need is a clear set of rules on copyright to clarify the process for taking down copyrighted material that users may post on platforms, while not threatening the viability of new online services and innovation.
If there is so much confusion among lobbyists and major firms with lawyers, then what hope have enterprising individuals, without a legal background, and small startups got?
We must protect copyright, we must protect the rights of content creators, but we must not scare off potential entrepreneurs. For that, we need legislation that is clear for everyone and works.
Today we voted for the two articles to be debated again in full. That is likely to happen in September. I want to hear a much clearer set of arguments before that time, so that we can get over what has become a highly polarised debate and have some practical discussions in order to create legislation which works for everyone.