Visualizing the Legal Affairs Committee’s Amendments to the DSM Directive

As part of our advocacy for policies that expand the public domain and increase access to and reuse of culture and knowledge we have closely been following the ongoing EU copyright reform process. The main legislative instrument for the ongoing review of the EU copyright rules is a proposed Directive for Copyright in the Digital Single Market (DSM directive). This directive, proposed by the European Commission in September 2016 is currently being discussed in the European Parliament and among the Member States of the EU in the European Council.

We have closely been tracking the progress of the directive proposal as it moves through the European Parliament. The DSM directive proposal is being discussed in 5 different committees of the Parliament. The leading legal affairs committee (JURI) is responsible for incorporating the opinions of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO), International Trade (ITRE), Culture and Education (CULT) and the Civil Liberties (LIBE) committees into its report. Once the report has been adopted by the JURI committee it will then be voted by the full parliament (which is currently expected to happen at the end of 2017).

The work in the committees revolves around proposals to change the text of the proposed directive. Such proposals for changes are known as Amendments (AMs). As part of our work we have been tracking a total of 2.584 Amendments that have been tabled in these 5 committees. Based on our positions on key topics of the directive we have rated these on a scale of 5 (“no no”, “no”, “¯\_(ツ)_/¯”, “yes”, “yes yes”). Rating Amendments on such a scale allows us to develop recommendations for policy makers regarding which AMs should be supported (and which one’s should not – see here for an example).

Visualizing policy positions

We have now teamed up with a bit of data to provide a visualisations of a subset of the Amendments that we have analyzed. This subset consists of all Amendments tabled in the JURI committee that relate to parts of the DSM directive proposal on which we have previously published position papers, or where other organisations have published positions that we support. Specifically this concerns the following 8 issues:

The visualisations below calculate an average score for each of these issues for each political group represented in the European Parliament (Greens-EFA, GUE-NGL, EFDD, S&D, EPP, ECR, ALDE, and ENF). Scores can range from -10 (dark red) to +10 (dark green).

Negative scores (red lines in the graph) mean that on average the Amendments tabled by MEPs from that political group are undermining our policy positions. A red line means that from our point of view the political group is attempting to make the Commission’s proposal worse for that particular issue.

Conversely, positive scores (green lines in the graph) mean that on average the Amendments tabled by MEPs from that political group support our policy positions. A green line means that from our point of view the political group is attempting to improve the Commission’s proposal for that particular issue.

The visualisations below are interactive. You can show or hide individual issues to zoom in on specific issues or to compare specific issues (hover over the name of an issue or a political group to see the calculated values). You can embed or re-use the visualisations by copying the URL or embed code (<iframe />) via the links below the visualisations. Both the visualisations and the underlying data are made available under the terms of the CC0 Public Domain Dedication.

Visualisation 1 (Political groups weighted by relative group size)

The first visualization shows the political groups. The weight (height) of each group depicts the relative size of the group in the European Parliament (in terms of MEPs). This depiction shows how powerful (in terms of the amount of votes it controls) a political group is relative to the other groups.

Visualisation 2 (Political groups weighted by number of amendments tabled)

The second visualization again shows the political groups on the left side. This time the weight (height) of each group depicts the amount of amendments tabled by MEPs belonging to the political group. This depiction shows how active the political group is on each topic. This can be seen as in indicator of how important a topic is considered by MEPs of each political group (alternatively a large amount of AMs can also be read as an indicator of poor coordination within the group).

Visualisation 3 (Political groups and opinion giving committees weighted by relative group size)

This visualization is a variation of the first visualisation. In addition to the political groups shown in the first two visualisations, we also show the three opinion giving committees (CULT, IMCO and ITRE) that have so far published their opinions. As in the first visualisation, the weight (height) of each political group depicts the relative size of the group in the European Parliament (in terms of MEPs). For the opinion giving committees we are using a fictitious weight. The scores for the opinion giving committees are composite scores based on the relevant parts of the opinion adopted by the committees.

Credits/Justification

The scoring of the Amendments was undertaken by the COMMUNIA team. Further data analysis, data normalization and visualisations by a bit of a data agency made possible with support from Mozilla.

Both the visualisations and the underlying data are made available under the terms of the CC0 Public Domain Dedication.