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UN human-rights expert delivers warning about Article 13


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There’s some new criticism of the proposed European copyright directive from an unexpected source: the United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of expression. David Kaye holds that post, and he’s published his concerns about the Article 13 section of the legislation, which relates to copyrighted material on user-uploaded-content platforms like YouTube and SoundCloud.

“Article 13 of the proposed Directive appears destined to drive internet platforms toward monitoring and restriction of user-generated content even at the point of upload.  Such sweeping pressure for pre-publication filtering is neither a necessary nor proportionate response to copyright infringement online,” said Kaye, warning that many internet services wouldn’t qualify for the planned ‘exception’ for newer companies.

“Most platforms would not qualify for the exemption and would face legal pressure to install and maintain expensive content filtering infrastructure to comply with the proposed Directive,” said Kaye. “In the long run, this would imperil the future of information diversity and media pluralism in Europe, since only the biggest players will be able to afford these technologies… Misplaced confidence in filtering technologies to make nuanced distinctions between copyright violations and legitimate uses of protected material would escalate the risk of error and censorship. Who would bear the brunt of this practice? Typically it would be creators and artists, who lack the resources to litigate such claims.”

Stuart Dredge

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