Tomorrow the Members of the Culture and Education Committee of the European Parliament (CULT) will vote on their position on the proposal on Copyright in the Digital Single Market directive. This will be the second vote in the European parliament after last month’s vote in the IMCO committee. While the CULT committee is nominally responsible for Culture and Education it seems rather likely that tomorrow’s vote will result in an one sided opinion that would support the key elements of the flawed directive, making them worse in many areas. Below is a quick rundown of what is on the table during tomorrow’s vote. We have listed voting recommendations for CULT MEPs interested in enacting real copyright reform that will foster Europe’s cultural and educational sectors:
Expand the scope of the text and data mining exception
We have argued many times that Text and Data mining should not be covered by copyright at all. A TDM exception such as the one proposed by the Commission would then be unnecessary. Any TDM exceptions enacted in spite of this would need to be as broad as possible both in terms of beneficiaries and in terms of purpose. Unfortunately the compromise amendment on the issue does nothing to broaden the scope of the proposed exception and merely reaffirms the Commission’s backwards looking proposal. MEPs should reject the compromise amendment and vote for AMs 337, 356, 360, 362 and 364 Instead.
Broaden the education exception to fit the needs of education in the 21st century
On the proposed education exception the Culture and Education committee seems intent to abandon the needs of 21st century educators. Instead of improving the Commission’s half-baked proposal, the compromise amendment reaffirms or worsens the most problematic elements of the proposal:
They keep the artificial barrier between offline and online education, maintain the damaging ‘licensing override’ and further limit the list of potential beneficiaries by requiring that they are ‘certified’. Adding insult to injury the compromise would also make compensation for the use of materials under this exception mandatory, against common practice in more than half of the EU Member States. MEPs should therefore reject the compromise amendment for article 4 and vote for the broadening of the scope of the exception, as proposed in AMs 137, 139, 140, 144, 148, 157, 370, 371, 377 and 381. They should also vote in favour of the deletion of art 4(2), as proposed in AM 392. Finally, they should vote in favour of adding a non-contractual overrides provision, as proposed in AMs 391, 392 and 411.
Allow cultural heritage institutions to share their collections online
Access to cultural heritage online is the second issue where the CULT committee fails its task completely. Instead of working with cultural heritage institutions to turn the Commission’s proposal into something that can actually work in practice, the compromise language that is being put up to vote tomorrow only contains cosmetic changes that fail to address even the biggest flaws of the Commission’s proposal. MEPs should reject the compromise amendments for article 7, 8 and 9 and follow the lead of the IMCO committee that voted for substantial improvements of the proposal (AMs 195, 198, 200, 202, 204, 209, 436, 437, 438, 452, 458, 461, 463, 468, 469, 471, 474, 476 and 478 are in line with the opinion adopted in IMCO).
No new rights for press publishers
With evidence piling up that new rights for press publishers are counterproductive, will hurt small publishers, and that the problems faced by publishers can be addressed by less invasive measures, the only sensible answer to the Commission’s proposal is to reject it in its entirety. Unfortunately the “compromise” amendment on article 11 that is being put to vote tomorrow introduces nothing more than a few superficial changes to the Commission’s proposal. MEPs should therefore reject the compromise amendments and vote for deletion of article 11 as proposed by MEPs from across the political spectrum in AMs 484-489.
Oppose upload filters for online platforms
As we have highlighted here before, the members of the CULT committee voted against mandatory filtering in their recent report on the Audiovisual Media Services Directive. In this light the fact that the compromise amendment for article 13 not only keeps the proposed mandatory upload filters intact, but even manages to make them worse is difficult to explain. The upload filter and the rest of the measures introduced in article 13 will severely limit the ability of European citizens to express themselves online and should be rejected. The members of the CULT committee should stay consistent with their previous position and reject the compromise amendment on article 13. Instead they should vote for deletion of article 13 as proposed in AMs 507, 508 and 255.