Article 13 Draws Fire from the United Nations

Another day, another opponent to Article 13. This time, it’s the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights from the United Nations.

Axel Voss, the architect for Article 13 might say that criticisms are simply fake and simply originating from big tech, but another opponent is proving this claim wrong.

Mr. David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression has published some criticism of Article 13 of his own. Kaye is urging Europe to adopt a copyright law that respects freedom of expression – something he suggests Article 13 fails to do. He’s not against modernizing copyright law, but he says that it should fall in line with international standards for freedom of expression and not undermine that.

From the United Nations:

“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.”

The latest version of the proposed Directive, which would include an exemption for relatively new content-sharing providers that have limited penetration in European markets, would not meet the concerns raised by earlier drafts, Kaye added.

“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,” the expert said. “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.”

In the absence of specific requirements on platforms and Member States to defend freedom of expression, it is far from clear how either will comply with the Directive’s proposed safeguards, such as the requirement that “quotation, criticism, review” and the “use [of copyrighted works] for the purpose of caricature, parody or pastiche” be protected, the Special Rapporteur said.

“Even the most experienced lawyers struggle to distinguish violations of copyright rules from exceptions to these rules, which vary across Member States,” Kaye added. “The lack of clear and precise language in the Directive would create even more legal uncertainty.”

“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.”

The comments come after the German Data Privacy commissioner came out against Article 13 who warned about the consequences of implementing such filtering technology.

This latest development represents yet another political blow to supporters of the proposed censorship laws. Already, they are struggling to gain any kind of social credit. As more and more people come out against the laws, the less the claims of conspiracy become believable.

(Via Music Ally)

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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