A group of EU civil society organizations have written to the European Commission’s Head of Internal Market, Thierry Breton, highlighting “serious fundamental rights concerns” related to the Commission’s draft guidelines on l application of the Copyright Directive.

Members of the civil rights community who believe Article 17 of the directive, designed to ensure that platforms no longer make copyright infringing works accessible online, have sparked a backlash.

In particular, the contingent targeted on Monday (September 14) the proposed use of automated content blocking technologies for the online detection of copyright infringing material.

The consultations that took place in the second half of 2019 and early 2020 were incorporated into the draft guidelines released by the Commission last week.

These guidelines, say advocacy groups, infringe the right to free speech and expression, by endorsing the use of automated content recognition technologies, designed to stop rule-breaking content before it is released. does not appear online. Critics have called this technology “download filters”.

“We remain deeply concerned that the guidelines approve the use of automated content blocking by online services, even though it is clear that this will lead to the violation of fundamental rights,” said the letter, signed by organizations, including Communia, Liberties summerDRi.

“In view of this approval, the proposed guidelines do not allay our concerns that the implementation of Article 17 on the basis of the proposed guidelines would violate established principles of EU law.”

Following the consultation meetings between the stakeholders and the Commission, the participants were invited to respond to the draft guidelines of the European executive. This will eventually feed into the full guidance on the application of Article 17, which is expected to be officially transmitted to EU countries by November.

Full transposition of the Copyright Directive is required from Member States by June 2021.

Following the submission of the letter on Monday, Eva Simon, asThe enior advocacy officer at the Civil Liberties Union for Europe (Freedoms) called on the Commission to reconsider its position on the use of automated content recognition technology.

The use of upload filters has always been the sticking point when it comes to the EU copyright rules, ”she said.

“The download filters are inaccurate and do not understand the context. Without any human intervention, the videos or the articles that people download from the internet May be blocked by these filters, which infringe freedom of expression and freedom of access to information. We can’t count only on machines to protect basic human rights.

In the midst of the Commission’s consultations, there has recently been intense lobbying on both sides of the debate. Last week, a coalition of rights holders and content creators, including the Association of Commercial Television in Europe and News Media Europe, sent a critical letter to the Commission on the other side of the debate.

The group criticized the EU executive’s interpretation of various aspects of Article 17 in such a way that “conflicts with the Commission’s decision to make culture one of Europe’s priority ecosystems for recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic ”.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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