*Plenty of news from national processes this month: Romania and Lithuania
have passed their copyright reforms, Czechia is on its way. Denmark sort of
tried to regulate online platforms on top of what the EU is doing, but
pulled back. Italy is trying to make everyone pay for the use of public
domain works. Meanwhile in Brussels, the DSA is still being worked on and a
new proposal to tackle child sexual abuse material is raising some
uncomfortable questions. *
DIGITAL SERVICES ACT
Post-Deal Editing: Remember how the French Presidency of the Council wanted
to get a deal done so badly, it pushed the Parliament and Member States to
accept a “political deal” putting the main cornerstones in place. 
However, a “technical deal” is still being negotiated. As part of this, the
Council presented a series of changes to the Recitals of the Regulation.
 The Recitals are opening paragraphs that lay down the intention of the
Stay-Down Anger: One particular change was in a recital that indirectly
opens the door for so-called “stay-down provisions”. Meaning a platform
would have to re-scan its uploads constantly to make sure certain content
doesn’t re-appear. The issue here is similar to that of “upload filters”
and the fact that it is impossible to do without monitoring everything. At
the same time the courts have ruled against general monitoring obligations
and the DSA was so far staying clear of such provisions. On the civil
society side Wikimedia, EDRi, AccessNow and EFF communicated to lawmakers
that this is problematic. Industry associations also raised the issue,
while inside the European Parliament the Liberals and Greens groups pushed
back. The result is that the text will now be re-worked. So another round
Sensitive Issue: The European Commission has published its proposal for a
“Regulation on Fighting child sexual abuse: detection, removal and
reporting of illegal content online.”  The debate around this is very
tricky and cannot be allowed to escalate to copyright levels. The issue
boils down to this: How much self-policing and monitoring of users content
should platforms be required to do? How far-reaching should the content
blocking and removal powers of authorities be?
Proposal Cornerstones: The regulation suggests that platforms should
perform a risk analysis every three years on how vulnerable they are to
such abuse material and grooming. Based on this they should draw up a
mitigation plan. These analyses and mitigation measures are to be public.
Apart from that a designated national authority of the Member State where
the service provider is represented may ask a court or independent
administrative body (depending on the country) to issue detection or
removal orders. Both orders would require scanning for child sexual abuse
content, normally provided by a EU Centre to be established in The Hague. A
designated national authority may also ask for an order to internet service
providers to block URLs. This last provision also seems rather problematic
for a number of reasons, including the method and technology mentioned and
the lack of safeguards on the national level.
Private Chats: The most controversial parts of the Regulation are beyond
what covers Wikimedia projects. Detection and removal orders would also
cover providers of interpersonal communications, i.e. instant messaging.
Which would mean that if a detection order is issued, such providers would
have to scan each private conversation for the hashes of specific CSA
material. Again an issue with general monitoring. This is the main apple of
Open Data Consultation
The Open Data Directive (formerly known as the Public Sector Information
Directive)  allows the European Commission to lay down a list of
high-value datasets that must be opened up by authorities for re-use. They
have now published the draft implementation act containing this list, which
includes geographic, climate and industrial statistics data, for instance.
Feedback is open until 21 June.  We have in the past shared our position
not only on the types of data to be opened, but also on the quality
requirements for such datasets.  It is good to see some of it in the
proposal and we are likely to reiterate some of the points in the current
consultation. If you are interested in working on the submission with us,
get in touch!
Two weeks ago the Italian government published a draft national
digitisation plan and opened a public consultation until June 15th. This is
bad news for Wikimedia projects. The most worrisome elements are:
1. The plan doesn’t recognise Creative Commons Zero as a relevant license
for GLAMs. There is an explicit delegitimisation of this license.
2. The plan proposes to release all public domain content of cultural
institutions by default under a MIC BY NC license (MIC stands for the
Italian Ministry of Culture). The non-commercial restriction is apparently
not based on copyright, but on an administrative right that allows cultural
institutions to require a fee for commercial uses of heritage they manage,
even if it is under public domain.
3. The most important issue for Wikimedia is the specific reference to
Wikimedia Commons, which says that if you re-use Italian cultural heritage
content from there, you need to pay a fee to the Ministry of Culture.
Wikimedia Italia is in the process of gathering a coalition on this and
responding to the proposal but also kicking off a public campaign. The
Wikimedia Foundation and us in Brussels are engaged and will try to help.
It might be useful to raise this issue in international media (even if
specialised outlets), so if you have any contacts or platforms in your
country, please consider writing about it. Else, there should be more
information, including blog posts, about this soon.
In April the Danish government put forth a legislative proposal for the
regulation of online platforms independent of the DSA. The gist of the law
is that social media platforms, generally defined as platforms with the
purpose of creating a profile and browsing other profiles and
user-submitted content with over 80.000 yearly users in Denmark, will be
obliged to take down illegal content within 24 hours of reporting. The
proposal contains an almost verbatim copy of the encyclopedia carveout of
the DSM directive.
Wikimedia Denmark sent a letter  to the legislative committee handling
the proposal. They addressed four main points:
(1) the breadth of the online encyclopedia exemption,
(2) the definition of "illegal content", which I argued was very broad and
could end with some undesirable scenarios where platforms would have to
e.g. enforce libel law on behalf of private parties,
(3) the risk of over-removal, which had already been addressed by a civil
rights org and
(4) protecting modération citoyenne. The letter is here in Danish:
The parliamentary committee sent a question to the government based on this
letter. In the meantime, the government was told by the European Commission
that they wouldn't approve of this type of legislation so close to the DSA
coming into force, so the proposal is pulled back for now. It may or may
not resurface in the future, we will watch the space.
Copyright Directive Transposition
Both Romania and Lithuania have updated their copyright laws in the past
two months. You may take a glimpse at the machine translated English
versions of the texts for yourself . You probably won’t, so here are
two highlights: Both countries have introduced full-fledged copyright
exceptions for parody and pastiche for all uses (not just uses on UGC
platforms as required by the directive). Also, both countries have adopted
the public domain safeguard. For a more in-depth (and fun) analysis, check
out Communia’s Eurovision DSM contest site  later today. We partnered
with ApTi (a EDRi member) in Romania and with the Baltic Audiovisual
Archival Council in Lithuania to follow the process and participate in
Czech Republic: The amendment to the Copyright Act, which transposes the
Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market into the Czech law, has
reached the Chamber of Deputies. It will now be discussed by the relevant
committees. Open Content CZ (they are also the local Creative Commons
chapter) and WMCZ are following the process.