Mar 6, 2019

Google takes aim at the EU Copyright Directive

We have reported in the past about the issues that hosts and creators have identified with the proposed new EU Copyright Directive, and particularly with Article 13.

Google's Senior Vice President of Global Affairs Kent Walker has given his two-pence on the subject. In his blog on Sunday he said that the copyright directive would not help creators, and would indeed hold them back. As with many other people, it is the "unintended consequences" of Article 11 and Article 13 that causes Walker most concern.

The implementation of Article 13 (that compels 'big' hosts such as Facebook or YouTube (which Google owns)) to authenticate uploads before they are published. It is widely thought that that means an automated system of verification similar to but more robust than YouTube's existing ContentID model will need to be used. Walker bemoans the "vague, untested requirements" that he says will result in over-blocking for fear of legal recourse against the host.

That, he says, would be bad for creators, users, and hosts. He goes on to explain that the big hosts will be necessarily cautious, and therefore users are likely to notice either over-blocking or a longer delay in accessibility to new uploads.

Walker's issue with Article 11 is less pronounced. He claims that the consequence of limiting the "snippet" to very short summaries will hurt smaller publishers more than bigger ones. While that might be true, we would be very surprised if that is Walker's real reason for concern. More problematic for Google will be the entire overhaul of its summary/snippet process where a description of a search result is provided alongside the link itself.

Google's protestations are unlikely to make a difference to implementation, with the majority of EU countries already having backed the new directive.

If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniel & Co. on 0191 281 4000 or



in: Copyright, EU/International

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