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Come on government, stand up for us!

#Article 13 is a given. But how the Netherlands interprets these rules on copyright is not. There is now a draft bill, which is unfortunately very disappointing. The government really needs to try much harder to protect the interests of internet users.

What was that again, #article13?

Article 13In the final version of the directive, Article 13 has been renumbered to Article 17. is a notorious article in the new Copyright Directive which makes platforms responsible for the content that users post there. A European law that does not solve what the European Commission saw as a problem, but in the meantime it does limit the freedom of internet users tremendously. It will ensure that commercial companies, such as Google and Soundcloud, scan and approve everythingThere are plenty of examples of failing filters you upload. And that the same companies, in order to avoid liability, will probably refuse many uploads in advance.

The Netherlands found European rules harmful

The Dutch government was crystal clear in the European debate: these rules do more harm than good. In 2017, the Netherlands asked the lawyers of the European Commission critical questions about the legal sustainability of the proposal for the directive. Much later in the process, the Netherlands voted against the text that was to serve as a basis start of the negotiations of the member states with the Commission and Parliament. Later again, the Dutch permanent representation stated that the adopted proposal "does not strike the right balance between the protection of right holders and the interests of EU citizens and companies".

The Netherlands was crystal clear in the European debate: these rules do more harm than good.

From European to Dutch rules

Since this is a so-called directive, all member states must incorporate the rules into national legislation. Now that this European law cannot be undone easily, transposition is the place to limit the damage as much as possible. In other words: with a minimal transposition the rights of the internet user are protected to the maximum extent. You might say that if the Netherlands was so critical of the directive, it would also do its utmost to try to limit the damage caused by those European rules in the transposition into national legislation as much as possible. But unfortunately…

Not in the mood or too warm

Two months ago, the Ministry of Justice and Security published a draft billThe official information: "Bill of Implementation Directive Copyright in the Digital Single Market." for this transposition. That proposal is disappointing, as if the officials were not in the mood. Or maybe it was too hot. In any case, the ambition to protect the interests of the user as much as possible is lacking. The Dutch government has no regard for the interests of the individual citizenDoes #article13 protect users against unjustified content blockages? (NL), which the government used to talk about. It does not restrict the interpretation of terminology as it could and does not force that the guarantees provided for are properly explained.

The government must come up with a much more ambitious proposal to limit the damage as much as possible.

A more ambitious proposal is desperately needed

Bits of Freedom strongly urges the Dutch government to come up with a more ambitious bill. A transposition in which the damage of the directive is limited as much as possible and the rights of the user of the internet are protected as much as possible. Because this is a particularly complex legal matter, we also recommend that, prior to the drafting of the bill, an investigation be carried out into the scope that a member state has to limit the damage of the directive. This research could be carried out by academics with expertise in the field of copyright.

The Netherlands must do better

In short, the Netherlands must do better. The fact that the directive has been adopted does not mean that the battle is lost. Here, too, hard work pays off: you reap what you sow.

This article was translated from Dutch to English by two volunteers of Bits of Freedom: Celeste Vervoort and Martin van Veen. Thank you two!

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