It is the final weeks of a digital policy frenzy here in Brussels before the institutions go into hibernation from 11 December. The Estonian Presidency is doing all it can to get a Council negotiating position on copyright by year’s end, but isn’t likely to make it. Meanwhile, the lead committee of the European Parliament is struggling to find compromises and is expected to postpone the vote.
This and past reports: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/EU_policy/Monitor
European Council on Copyright Reform
Estonia really wants it: Estonia’s Presidency is about to end and the country really wants to seal a Council deal on copyright. Apart from really, really wanting to be the cool kids that wrapped it up, rumours have it that they equally distrust the Bulgarian Presidency.
Strike Two: After heavy criticism of the October compromise proposal on upload filters,  they tried to remedy some of the pain points by floating an updated compromise proposal in November.  While the new text tries to exclude non-for-profit platforms from the scope (“with the aim of obtaining profit from their use”), it also completely messes up the intermediary liability protection of the E-Commerce Directive in the recitals and seems to re-define the “communication to the public” principle on the fly. Both are fundamental to how the internet and the knowledge environment currently operate and turning them upside down in recitals and without public debate is probably not the most sensible thing to do.
Opposition United: At the same time a group of 80+ civil society and cultural heritage organisations (including the FKAGEU and WMDE) have joined a rare one-sentence open letter  in order to make themselves heard ahead of the Competitiveness Council meeting scheduled to discuss copyright today.  The letter basically lists the previous open letters and evidence critical of the current approach.
European Council on Copyright Reform
The Parliament takes its time: Unlike the Council, the Parliament doesn’t seem to be in too much of a hurry. Well, they also don’t have the luxury to do everything hidden from the public. (Sorry for the mini-rant.)
LIBE shows little love for filters: The last opinion giving committee finally voted on its report this month.  The Civil Liberties committee decided to copy the Internal Market committee’s compromise (which was originally copied from LIBE, anyway, good thing copying is allowed… oh wait...). Regardless, this is good news, as the IMCO/LIBE compromise is a good one. It deletes the upload filters obligation and keeps the E-Commerce Directive intact. This version of the article will serve as a basis for deliberations in JURI.
JURI is insecure: The last rounds of shadow meetings in the lead Legal Affairs committee didn’t produce a breakthrough. We are nowhere near compromises on the more controversial articles 11 (ancillary copyright) and 13 (upload filters). The last round of talks didn’t even manage to produce an agreement on article 4 (education). Seen that the Christmas break is nearing and that most of the dossier is yet to be negotiated, voting on 25 January as planned seems unrealistic.
Juri is surprised by article 4 fight: We were supposed to quickly deal with compromises on “uncontroversial” articles, including article 4 (education exception). Instead it was a fight and we are happy about it! What had been proposed as a compromise demonstrated how out of tune the publishers are with developments in education. Thanks in part to Communia’s quick action in mobilising their network of educational organisations, some MEPs protested and the compromise has to be rewritten.
IPRED - No legislative change
The Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (IPRED) deals with injunctions against and seizures of content and goods that infringes intellectual property.  As such it covers everything from counterfeit Gucci pumps to torrents. The Commission’s communication on its revision was first leaked  and then officially published . The good news is that they won’t re-open this piece of legislation, but instead opt for issuing non-binding guidelines on its implementation. The issue is that it seems like another tool to force upload filters upon information society service provides: “(...) the draft aims to clarify how and whether an injunction against an internet service provider could force them to use filtering technologies to identify potential copyright infringements.”
Last week of November, under a reignited scheme of inviting people to work with us on policy issues in Brussels, we have hosted Dr. Alexandra Giannopoulos, a Greek lawyer and academic working in Paris. Alex has met a number of MEPs, from GUE, S&D and EPP as well as the Greek Permanent Representation. As a result we have new MEP contacts, including EPP leads that could counterweight the group’s approach to content filtering. We loved having her over and we hope the cooperation will continue! Soon we will post a call for next year’s visiting volunteers programme - stay tuned!