Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market “destined to become a nightmare”
We are deeply concerned that the text proposed by the Bulgarian Presidency in no way reflects a balanced compromise, whether on substance or from the perspective of the many legitimate concerns that have been raised
26 Apr 18


Brussels, 26 April 2018


Your Excellency Ambassador, cc. Deputy Ambassador,

We, the undersigned, are writing to you ahead of your COREPER discussion on the proposed Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market.

We are deeply concerned that the text proposed by the Bulgarian Presidency in no way reflects a balanced compromise, whether on substance or from the perspective of the many legitimate concerns that have been raised. Instead, it represents a major threat to the freedoms of European citizens and businesses and promises to severely harm Europe’s openness, competitiveness, innovation, science, research and education.

A broad spectrum of European stakeholders and experts, including academics, educators, NGOs representing human rights and media freedom, software developers and startups have repeatedly warned about the damage that the proposals would cause. However, these have been largely dismissed in rushed discussions taking place without national experts being present. This rushed process is all the more surprising when the European Parliament has already announced it would require more time (until June) to reach a position and is clearly adopting a more cautious approach.

If no further thought is put in the discussion, the result will be a huge gap between stated intentions and the damage that the text will actually achieve if the actual language on the table remains:

  • Article 13 (user uploads) creates a liability regime for a vast area of online platforms that negates the E-commerce Directive, against the stated will of many Member States, and without any proper assessment of its impact. It creates a new notice and takedown regime that does not require a notice. It mandates the use of filtering technologies across the board.

  • Article 11 (press publisher’s right) only contemplates creating publisher rights despite the many voices opposing it and highlighting it flaws, despite the opposition of many Member States and despite such Member States proposing several alternatives including a “presumption of transfer”.

  • Article 3 (text and data mining) cannot be limited in terms of scope of beneficiaries or purposes if the EU wants to be at the forefront of innovations such as artificial intelligence. It can also not become a voluntary provision if we want to leverage the wealth of expertise of the EU’s research community across borders.

  • Articles 4 to 9 must create an environment that enables educators, researchers, students and cultural heritage professionals to embrace the digital environment and be able to preserve, create and share knowledge and European culture. It must be clearly stated that the proposed exceptions in these Articles cannot be overridden by contractual terms or technological protection measures.

  • The interaction of these various articles has not even been the subject of a single discussion. The filters of Article 13 will cover the snippets of Article 11 whilst the limitations of Article 3 will be amplified by the rights created through Article 11, yet none of these aspects have even been assessed.

With so many legal uncertainties and collateral damages still present, this legislation is currently destined to become a nightmare when it will have to be transposed into national legislation and face the test of its legality in terms of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Bern Convention.

We hence strongly encourage you to adopt a decision-making process that is evidence-based, focussed on producing copyright rules that are fit for purpose and on avoiding unintended, damaging side effects.

Yours sincerely,
The over 145 signatories of this open letter – European and global organisations, as well as national organisations from 28 EU Member States, represent human and digital rights, media freedom, publishers, journalists, libraries, scientific and research institutions, educational institutions including universities, creator representatives, consumers, software developers, start-ups, technology businesses and Internet service providers.


1. Access Info Europe

2. Allied for Startups

3. Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER)

4. Civil Liberties Union for Europe (Liberties)

5. Copyright for Creativity (C4C)

6. Create Refresh Campaign


8. EDiMA

9. European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA)

10. European Digital Learning Network (DLEARN)

11. European Digital Rights (EDRi)

12. European Internet Services Providers Association (EuroISPA)

13. European Network for Copyright in Support of Education and Science (ENCES)

14. European University Association (EUA)

15. Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU

16. Lifelong Learning Platform

17. Public Libraries 2020 (PL2020)

18. Science Europe

19. South East Europe Media Organisation (SEEMO)

20. SPARC Europe


21. Freischreiber Österreich

22. Internet Service Providers Austria (ISPA Austria)


23. Net Users’ Rights Protection Association (NURPA)


24. BESCO – Bulgarian Startup Association

25. BlueLink Foundation

26. Bulgarian Association of Independent Artists and Animators (BAICAA)

27. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee

28. Bulgarian Library and Information Association (BLIA)

29. Creative Commons Bulgaria


31. Digital Republic

32. Hamalogika

33. Init Lab

34. ISOC Bulgaria

35. LawsBG


37. Open Project Foundation

38. PHOTO Forum

39. Wikimedians of Bulgaria


40. Code for Croatia


41. Startup Cyprus


42. Alliance pro otevrene vzdelavani (Alliance for Open Education)

43. Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic

44. Czech Fintech Association

45. Ecumenical Academy

46. EDUin


47. Danish Association of Independent Internet Media (Prauda) ESTONIA

48. Wikimedia Eesti


49. Creative Commons Finland

50. Open Knowledge Finland

51. Wikimedia Suomi


52. Abilian

53. Alliance Libre

54. April

55. Aquinetic

56. Conseil National du Logiciel Libre (CNLL)

57. France Digitale

58. l’ASIC

59. Ploss Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (PLOSS-RA)

60. Renaissance Numérique

61. Syntec Numérique

62. Tech in France

63. Wikimédia France


64. Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Medieneinrichtungen an Hochschulen e.V. (AMH)

65. Bundesverband Deutsche Startups

66. Deutscher Bibliotheksverband e.V. (dbv)

67. eco – Association of the Internet Industry

68. Factory Berlin

69. Initiative gegen ein Leistungsschutzrecht (IGEL)

70. Jade Hochschule Wilhelmshaven/Oldenburg/Elsfleth

71. Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

72. Landesbibliothekszentrum Rheinland-Pfalz

73. Silicon Allee

74. Staatsbibliothek Bamberg

75. Ubermetrics Technologies

76. Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Sachsen-Anhalt (Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg)

77. University Library of Kaiserslautern (Technische Universität Kaiserslautern)

78. Verein Deutscher Bibliothekarinnen und Bibliothekare e.V. (VDB)

79. ZB MED – Information Centre for Life Sciences


80. Greek Free Open Source Software Society (GFOSS)


81. Hungarian Civil Liberties Union

82. ICT Association of Hungary – IVSZ

83. K-Monitor


84. Technology Ireland


85. Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights

86. Istituto Italiano per la Privacy e la Valorizzazione dei Dati

87. Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights (CILD)

88. National Online Printing Association (ANSO)


89. Startin.LV (Latvian Startup Association)

90. Wikimedians of Latvia User Group


91. Aresi Labs


92. Frënn vun der Ënn


93. Commonwealth Centre for Connected Learning


94. Dutch Association of Public Libraries (VOB)

95. Kennisland


96. Centrum Cyfrowe

97. Coalition for Open Education (KOED)

98. Creative Commons Polska

99. Elektroniczna BIBlioteka (EBIB Association)

100. ePaństwo Foundation

101. Fundacja Szkoła z Klasą (School with Class Foundation)

102. Modern Poland Foundation

103. Ośrodek Edukacji Informatycznej i Zastosowań Komputerów w Warszawie (OEIiZK)

104. Panoptykon Foundation

105. Startup Poland



107. Associação D3 – Defesa dos Direitos Digitais (D3)

108. Associação Ensino Livre

109. Associação Nacional para o Software Livre (ANSOL)

110. Associação para a Promoção e Desenvolvimento da Sociedade da Informação (APDSI)


111. ActiveWatch

112. APADOR-CH (Romanian Helsinki Committee)

113. Association for Technology and Internet (ApTI)

114. Association of Producers and Dealers of IT&C equipment (APDETIC)

115. Center for Public Innovation

116. Digital Citizens Romania

117. Initiative

118. Mediawise Society

119. National Association of Public Librarians and Libraries in Romania (ANBPR)


120. Creative Commons Slovakia

121. Slovak Alliance for Innovation Economy (SAPIE)


122. Digitas Institute

123. Forum za digitalno družbo (Digital Society Forum)


124. Asociación de Internautas

125. Asociación Española de Startups (Spanish Startup Association)

126. MaadiX

127. Sugus

128. Xnet


129. Wikimedia Sverige


130. Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA)

131. Open Rights Group (ORG)

132. techUK


133. ARTICLE 19

134. Association for Progressive Communications (APC)

135. Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT)

136. COMMUNIA Association

137. Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA)

138. Copy-Me

139. Creative Commons

140. Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

141. Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL)

142. Index on Censorship

143. International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR)

144. Media and Learning Association (MEDEA)

145. Open Knowledge International (OKI)

146. OpenMedia

147. Software Heritage

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