April 26, 2018

Open letter in light of the 27 april 2018 coreper i meeting

Your Excellency Ambassador,

cc. Deputy Ambassador,

We, the undersigned, are writing to you ahead of your COREPER discussion on the proposed Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market.

We are deeply concerned that the text proposed by the Bulgarian Presidency in no way reflects a balanced compromise, whether on substance or from the perspective of the many legitimate concerns that have been raised. Instead, it represents a major threat to the freedoms of European citizens and businesses and promises to severely harm Europe’s openness, competitiveness, innovation, science, research and education.

A broad spectrum of European stakeholders and experts, including academics, educators, NGOs representing human rights and media freedom, software developers and startups have repeatedly warned about the damage that the proposals would cause. However, these have been largely dismissed in rushed discussions taking place without national experts being present. This rushed processes is all the more surprising when the European Parliament has already announced it would require more time (until June) to reach a position and is clearly adopting a more cautious approach.

If no further thought is put in the discussion, the result will be a huge gap between stated intentions and the damage that the text will actually achieve if the actual language on the table remains:

  • Article 13 (user uploads) creates a liability regime for a vast area of online platforms that negates the E-commerce Directive, against the stated will of many Member States, and without any proper assessment of its impact. It creates a new notice and takedown regime that does not require a notice. It mandates the use of filtering technologies across the board.
  • Article 11 (press publisher’s right) only contemplates creating a publisher rights despite the many voices opposing it and highlighting it flaws, despite the opposition of many Member States and despite such Member States proposing several alternatives including a “presumption of transfer”.
  • Article 3 (text and data mining) cannot be limited in terms of scope of beneficiaries or purposes if the EU wants to be at the forefront of innovations such as artificial intelligence. It can also not become a voluntary provision if we want to leverage the wealth of expertise of the EU’s research community across borders.
  • Articles 4 to 9 must create an environment that enables educators, researchers, students and cultural heritage professionals to embrace the digital environment and be able to preserve, create and share knowledge and European culture. It must be clearly stated that the proposed exceptions in these Articles cannot be overridden by contractual terms or technological protection measures.
  • • The interaction of these various articles has not even been the subject of a single discussion. The filters of Article 13 will cover the snippets of Article 11 whilst the limitations of Article 3 will be amplified by the rights created through Article 11, yet none of these aspects have even been assessed.

With so many legal uncertainties and collateral damages still present, this legislation is currently destined to become nightmare when it will have to be transposed into national legislation and face the test of its legality in terms of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Bern Convention.

We hence strongly encourage you to adopt a decision-making process that is evidence based, focussed on producing copyright rules that are fit for purpose and on avoiding unintended, damaging side effects.

Yours sincerely,

Copyright for Creativity (C4C) – Europe
Digital Republic – Bulgaria
Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU – Europe
Technology Ireland – Ireland
Associação Ensino Livre – Portugal
OpenMedia Global
European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA)- Europe
Software Heritage -Global
Ploss Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (PLOSS-RA) – France
Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) – Global
ARTICLE 19 – Global
Open Knowledge International (OKI) – Global
Association for Technology and Internet (ApTI) – Romania
Copy-Me – Global
Wikimedia Eesti – Estonia
Digitas Institute – Slovenia
France Digitale – France
Associação D3 – Defesa dos Direitos Digitais (D³) Portugal
Conseil National du Logiciel Libre (CNLL)-France
Asociación de Internautas – Spain
Modern Poland Foundation- Poland
APADOR-CH (Romanian Helsinki Committee) Romania
Kennisland- Netherlands
Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic Czech Republic
Centrum Cyfrowe-Poland
Slovak Alliance for Innovation Economy (SAPIE)- Slovakia
Civil Liberties Union for Europe (Liberties)-Europe
Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights- Italy
Digital Citizens Romania – Romania
Xnet- Spain
Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER) – Europe
Deutscher Bibliotheksverband e.V. (dbv) – Germany
Danish Association of Independent Internet Media (Prauda)- Denmark
National Online Printing Association (ANSO) – Italy
Frënn vun der Ënn -Luxemburg
BlueLink Foundation – Bulgaria
Kosson.ro Initiative – Romania
Elektroniczna BIBlioteka (EBIB Association) -Poland
Creative Commons Polska Poland
Create Refresh Campaign- Europe
Verein Deutscher Bibliothekarinnen und Bibliothekare e.V. (VDB) -Germany
Allied for Startups – Europe
Lifelong Learning Platform Europe
Association of Producers and Dealers of IT&C equipment (APDETIC) -Romania
Creative Commons- Global
MaadiX -Spain
Aquinetic- France
Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA) – UK
Ubermetrics Technologies Germany

Factory Berlin Germany

Silicon Allee Germany

Bundesverband Deutsche Startups Germany

Mediawise Society Romania

EDiMA Europe

Initiative gegen ein Leistungsschutzrecht (IGEL) Germany

Staatsbibliothek Bamberg Germany

Hungarian Civil Liberties Union Hungary

Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) Global

Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) Global

Startup Poland Poland

ActiveWatch Romania

Index on Censorship Global

Sugus Spain

Associação Nacional para o Software Livre (ANSOL) Portugal

Access Info Europe Europe

ZB MED – Information Centre for Life Sciences Germany

Associação para a Promoção e Desenvolvimento da Sociedade da Informação (APDSI) Portugal

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Global

Internet Service Providers Austria (ISPA Austria) Austria

European Internet Services Providers Association (EuroISPA) Europe

Bulgarian Helsinki Committee Bulgaria

Media and Learning Association (MEDEA) Global

European Digital Learning Network (DLEARN) Europe

Center for Public Innovation Romania

Abilian France


Ośrodek Edukacji Informatycznej i Zastosowań Komputerów w Warszawie (OEIiZK) Poland

eco – Association of the Internet Industry Germany

Dutch Association of Public Libraries (VOB) Netherlands

COMMUNIA Association Global

EDUin Czech Republic

Alliance pro otevrene vzdelavani (Alliance for Open Education) Czech Republic

Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights (CILD) Italy

Open Rights Group (ORG) UK

Science Europe Europe

Startup Cyprus Cyprus

Wikimédia France France

Renaissance Numérique France

Net Users’ Rights Protection Association (NURPA) Belgium

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) Germany

European Network for Copyright in Support of Education and Science (ENCES) Europe

Freischreiber Österreich Austria

Association for Progressive Communications (APC) Global

Landesbibliothekszentrum Rheinland-Pfalz Germany

Code for Croatia Croatia

International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) Global

Commonwealth Centre for Connected Learning Malta

ePaństwo Foundation Poland

SPARC Europe Europe

Ecumenical Academy Czech Republic

K-Monitor Hungary

Public Libraries 2020 (PL2020) Europe

Czech Fintech Association Czech Republic

Syntec Numérique France

Creative Commons Slovakia Slovakia

Aresi Labs Lithuania

Istituto Italiano per la Privacy e la Valorizzazione dei Dati Italy

Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Sachsen-Anhalt (Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg) Germany

European Digital Rights (EDRi) Europe

Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Medieneinrichtungen an Hochschulen e.V. (AMH) Germany

European University Association (EUA) Europe

University Library of Kaiserslautern (Technische Universität Kaiserslautern) Germany

ISOC Bulgaria Bulgaria

BESCO – Bulgarian Startup Association Bulgaria

Hamalogika Bulgaria

Creative Commons Bulgaria Bulgaria

Open Project Foundation Bulgaria

Wikimedians of Bulgaria Bulgaria

DIBLA Bulgaria

PHOTO Forum Bulgaria

LawsBG Bulgaria

Bulgarian Association of Independent Artists and Animators (BAICAA) Bulgaria

Obshtestvo.bg Bulgaria

Init Lab Bulgaria

Bulgarian Library and Information Association (BLIA) Bulgaria

Panoptykon Foundation Poland

techUK UK

Tech in France France

Alliance Libre France

Coalition for Open Education (KOED) Poland

ICT Association of Hungary – IVSZ Hungary

Fundacja Szkoła z Klasą (School with Class Foundation) Poland

l’ASIC France

Greek Free Open Source Software Society (GFOSS) Greece

Asociación Española de Startups (Spanish Startup Association) Spain

South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO) Europe

National Association of Public Librarians and Libraries in Romania (ANBPR) Romania

Wikimedians of Latvia User Group Latvia

Forum za digitalno družbo (Digital Society Forum) Slovenia

Startin.LV (Latvian Startup Association) Latvia

Jade Hochschule Wilhelmshaven/Oldenburg/Elsfleth Germany

Open Knowledge Finland Finland


Creative Commons Finland Finland

Wikimedia Suomi Finland

Wikimedia Sverige Sweden

April France

The signatories below represent human and digital rights organisations, media freedom organisations, publishers, journalists, libraries, scientific and research institutions, educational institutions including universities, creator representatives, consumers, software developers, start-ups, technology businesses and Internet service providers.