UNDERSTAND | June 22, 2018

A Setback for Startups in EUs Copyright Regulatory Framework

Photo Credit: © European Union 2018 - EP

In terms of startup-friendly legislation in the European Union, this week is surely a setback. But we'll keep fighting for it.

The copyright directive passed the Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee in the European Parliament. On three major articles, startups are left in the rain:

1) Text & Data Mining will be allowed for startups... if you operate in a country that decided to allow an optional exemption for the private sector. Wasn’t the Digital Single Market supposed to reduce fragmentation?

2) An Ancillary Publishers Right is coming. Yes, like the one that failed in Germany and Spain. One of the few times policy makers actually had a practical policy example to learn from, they decide to go ahead and implement it anyway. It passed the JURI Committee with one vote (13-12).

3) Upload Filtering is coming. That’s the one which might keep us from sending gifs. Unless you make agreements with all rightsholders, which is something that not even the biggest platforms can do, you’ll be left shopping for filters.

Review the full vote here. At the beginning, the Rapporteur, Axel Voss, even asked to postpone the vote. That vote was split even, 12-12. Then the report still passed with the slightest of margins.

Now it is likely to go to Plenary, since already over 100 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) were against the publishers right. However, since Article 69c (which overturns the Committee vote) has never been successful, this is an uphill battle. Will plenary hear startups?

Lenard Koschwitz joined Allied for Startups in 2015. Since then he built up and led the organisations’ public policy activities in Europe. He’s… About the author