[Advocacy Advisors] EU Policy Monitoring Report - November

Dimitar Parvanov Dimitrov dimitar.parvanov.dimitrov at gmail.com
Thu Nov 27 13:55:48 UTC 2014

Wikimedia and the EU
November 2014 Report

To be extra popular, we’re keeping it rather short. Some data protection
and plenty of copyright.

This and past reports: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/EU_policy/Monitor

1. The Google Spain Case and the “Right to be Forgotten”

2. European Commission Work Programme 2015

3. Copyright Reform Perspectives: Directive or Regulation and what about
France & Belgium?

4. Freedom of Panorama/Wikimedia in the media


#RTBF #GoogleSpain

1. The Google Spain Case and the “Right to be Forgotten”

Why is this relevant?

Should people have the right to demand the removal of certain search
results when their name is searched? The issue affects primarily search
engines, who may have to deal with a huge number of removal requests, but
delinking also cuts off some of the traffic to the websites that host the
source information. Already, a number of articles have been delinked from
Wikimedia based on name searches.

What happened?

After the CJEU in May decided [1] that a Spanish citizen had the right to
have certain search results removed, Google launched a series of seminars
to shed light on the topic [2]. The final one took place on November 4 in
Brussels. Invited speakers from the EU Commission took a strong position in
favour of the principles established by the CJEU through its decision,
which indicates that this is an order that they want to preserve in the now
negotiated Data Protection Regulation. Several Member States, however are
beginning to question whether the balance has tipped too far in favour of
data protection on the expense of free speech and freedom of information.

What comes next?

The European Parliament has finished its first reading of the Commission's
proposal. It is now up to the Council to come to a decision in its first
reading. The process seems stalled in the so-called trialogue (informal
talks between the Commission, the Parliament and the Council) and even a
revised proposal by the Commission is being talked about recently.

What is less well understood by the general public is that the so-called
“right to be forgotten” actually already legally exists (although not
bearing that name) in Europe due to the 1995 Data Protection Regulation.
[3] The current court decision is based on this piece of legislation. The
newly proposed text [4] (see amendment 27) revises this principle tackling
many of the currently discussed problems, but is paradoxically being
attacked by the most vocal critics of the court decision in the Google
Spain case.



2. European Commission Work Programme 2015

Why is this relevant?
What is to be realistically expected in the next 12 months in Brussels.
This is crucial to taking the right steps to ensure our message continues
to be heard.

What happened?

The European Commission published (well, leaked) its draft work programme
for 2015 [5]. It includes a Digital Single Market package schedules for the
second quarter and additionally explicitly states that there is to be a
proposal on copyright reform. Other net politics topics include the
E-Privacy Directive, TTIP and perhaps an amendment to the package that
contains the net neutrality provisions.

Almost simultaneously, Vice-President Ansip stated during his speech at the
Strasbourg plenary [6] that he is committed to reforming and harmonising
copyright and to remove geoblocking.

What comes next?

Realistically, we should expect to see a reform proposal before summer


#fixcopyright #AskAnsip

3.Copyright Reform Perspectives: Directive or Regulation and what about
France? And Belgium?

Why is this relevant?
Which steps will the Commission take and how will European Parliament and
the Member States react to it. Only if we know what will most likely come
can we include Freedom of Panorama in the right packages. Knowing what is
going on on all levels guarantees us a competitive advantage when talking
to decision-makers.

What happened?
There are two ways the European Commission might go about reforming
copyright. Updating the 2001 Information Society Directive [7] or proposing
a Regulation. [8] A Regulation in the European Union is an immediately
enforceable  law in all member states. By contrast, a Directive would have
to be adopted by each country first.

There is even a third option, which would be to have a Regulation and a
Directive at the same time, thus splitting the more controversial things
off and fully harmonising everything else.

In the meanwhile the French government seems to have ran itself into a
contradiction. While the Minister of Culture and Communications clearly
stated that France is critical of any copyright reform [9], her government
seemingly decided to include Freedom of Panorama in the new Open Data law
discussion [10]. This is remarkable, because what we call Freedom of
Panorama is essentially part of the 2001 Copyright Directive, thus
introducing it would be copyright reform. Wikimédia France will follow-up
on the procedures.

In Belgium, the President of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives, who
hosted the Wikimedia Belgium founding event [11][12] committed himself to
propose a Freedom of Panorama amendment to the house at the reception.
Concrete talks will follow led by Wikimedia Belgium.

What comes next?

Making sure that Freedom of Panorama is at least seriously discussed in the
countries that don’t have it yet, will help us making our case in front the
European Commission. They are much more likely to go for stuff that won’t
be immediately blocked by Member States. Simultaneously knowing what’s
going on both at the European and the national levels puts us in an
advantageous argumentative position.


Why is this relevant?

Trying to keep a very exotic topic like Freedom of Panorama afloat in a
global copyright debate can be challenging. Finding a stories and pictures
that are geared toward the media, work with the public and can easily be
picked up by decision makers is necessary.

What happened?

BXL - EU Observer on Freedom of Panorama:


BE - Express on Freedom of Panorama:



EE - Estonian Public Television on Copyright Reform and VP Ansip:


Parts in English

ES - Spanish National Radio on Freedom of Panorama:




What comes next?

More interviews (possibly with TAZ from Germany next) and a Freedom of
Panorama blacked-out images exhibition inside the European Parliament in













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