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New Copyright Directive: Tension rises in anticipation of European Parliament’s vote

Once again, the debate regarding the controversial DSM Copyright Directive is picking up steam. Next week, the European Parliament will liaise about the various amendments that will be tabled by a number of different groups of parliamentarians from various political backgrounds.

As mentioned in our previous blogs and videos, on 5 July 2018, the European Parliament rejected by 318 votes against, 278 in favour and 31 abstentions the compromise position adopted a week earlier by the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI). The attached negotiation mandate was thereby revoked, and the opening of the interinstitutional negotiations (trilogue) further delayed.

The still controversial debate focuses on basically two provisions of the original proposal (COM(2016) 593) and the corresponding recitals: Article 11, which holds a new neighbouring right for publishers of press publications, and Article 13, which is about to introduce new monitoring and filtering obligations for certain online platform providers.

On the one side, the SaveYourInternet campaign championed by MEP Julia Reda has gathered almost 1 million signatures (see here) and called the EU citizens to raise their voices across Europe (see here). On the other side, the rapporteur Axel Voss has prepared a revised version of the text initially adopted by the JURI Committee hoping to find a majority for his ideas. It will be introduced on behalf of the EPP group. Julia Reda’s proposal will be submitted to the plenary in the name of the Green/EFA Group. Further amendments have been anticipated by Jean-Marie Cavada, vice-chair of the JURI Committee, for the ALDE group, and some more change proposals have been put forward by a diverse group of parliamentarians headed by MEP Marietje Schaake.

All the stakeholders are now bracing themselves, as the decisive milestone is drawing near. On 12 September 2018, the European Parliament will vote on each of the, in total, 88 amendments that were filed before the deadline of 5 September 2018 (see the provisional agenda here). Ahead of this crucial vote, each campaign champion is throwing its whole weight into lobbying his or her initiative in an attempt to further raise the awareness of the public and rally the last undecided MEPs.

Possible outcomes include the adoption of the text with or without amendments (minor or major) – in which case the proposed Directive would sail ahead into the interinstitutional negotiations between the Commission, the Parliament and the Council – the renewed referral to the JURI Committee, or the complete termination of the initiative.

We will keep you informed of the outcome of this thrilling vote and its legal implication. Stay tuned!