The New EU Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market
We’ve blogged about legal translation services for international copyright litigation and legal document translation services for copyright infringement cases. Hailed by some as an “historic vote for Europe’s soul and culture,” vilified by others who think it will “turn the internet into a place where everything uploaded to the web must be cleared by lawyers,” it is the most recent copyright legislation out of the European Union, called the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market.
You might think that something so seemingly technical would only appeal to a small number of tech-savvy people who are knowledgeable about obscure legal copyright issues. But the reality is far from that. In fact, the European Union’s Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (“Directive”) is a hotly contested issue today.
So, what is the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, and why is there so much controversy around it? In this article, we will discuss the details of this significant piece of international legislation. Without question, it is an intellectual property issue that will impact multi-national companies, and international attorneys alike.
Moreover, in discussing the major aspects of the European Union Directive, we will also consider why there is a need for reliable, professional legal translation services to assist you with any case or matter that involves the Directive, and the anticipated litigation.
The Purpose of the European Union Copyright Directive
The stated objective of the European Union’s Directive is to ensure “a well-functioning marketplace for copyright.” It is meant to build upon previous European Union initiatives on all manner of copyrights since 2001.
But what really drives the European Union’s Directive is the fact that media companies – which have had their business strategies torn asunder by the internet – continuously object to Google and other online sites earning profits from the media companies’ content without adequately compensating those who own copyrights to the content.
Indeed, just a brief glance at the challenges publications like the New York Times have had to face in order to continue generating revenue for its news content, tells you all that you need to know about how the internet has disrupted so many media organizations. Thus, the European Union’s Directive appears to be designed to give some help to the media industry so that it can still enjoy the fruits of its labor. It is, to be sure, the end result of intense lobbying efforts on the part of the media industry.
The Basic Framework of the Directive
The Directive is designed to force technology companies to proactively, and with some zeal, remove unlicensed copyrighted material from their online platforms. An example of that would be a site like YouTube removing a bootlegged copy of Raiders of the Lost Ark from its site, so that it is not available to users for free.
The Directive’s main focus is on Facebook and Google. It is believed that those two mammoth tech companies have, more than all others, gained status as advertising superstars by using creative material for which they have not paid the appropriate royalties.
Thus, the Directive requires websites with more than five million unique monthly visitors to make their “best effort” to obtain permission from copyright owners of their content, or put policies in place to remove the copyrighted material from being shared on their platforms altogether. The Directive does allow for some exceptions, including permission for sites to use quotations, criticism, parody, and artistic interpretation.
In sum, the big difference between the Directive’s new rules, and the rules prior to the Directive, is the focus on proactive protection of copyrights. Up until the passage of the Directive, the standard was that websites were never liable when users posted unlicensed content, provided that the websites removed the content when the infringement was brought to the site’s attention. That is the current standard in the United States.
However, the Directive puts more responsibility on the website to stop infringing material from making onto their platforms to begin with. And, the Directive’s liability provisions could spell costly fines for websites that depend on user-generated content.
The Debate Over the Directive
Not surprisingly, the media companies, music companies, book publishers, and news organizations that lobbied for this increased copyright protection are very pleased with the Directive. By contrast, tech companies like Google, tech trade groups, advocates of free internet access, and academic researchers, argue that there is so much unlicensed content out there, that the Directive will only result in an imperfect filtering system.
Further, the tech companies opposing the Directive note that there is a lot of room for interpretation in the Directive, and therefore, there will be major litigation to simply define what the text of the Directive means.
Wanted: Legal Translation Services
Given that major litigation surrounding the Directive is reasonably anticipated, there is a real need for international litigators to gear up and get ready for case law to be made on the Directive’s provisions. The Directive is by the European Union. Thus, by definition, litigation documents, technical data, statistics, and legal argument will need to be translated into at least a few different European languages, such as German, French, Portuguese, Polish, Lithuanian, Swedish, Bulgarian, Spanish, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Estonian, Finnish, Irish, Dutch, Greek, Maltese, Romanian, Latvian, Slovenian, Italian, Hungarian, Slovak.
To ensure that you have the ‘best of the best’ for your legal translations, look no further than All Language Alliance, Inc. We partner with law firms to ensure that all of your legal documents are translated accurately, professionally the first time. Call us 303-470-9555 today to learn more about our multilingual legal translation services.
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