POLAND HAS BECOME the first EU member state to launch a formal complaint against the incoming European Copyright Directive.
The new rules approved by the Europe last month come into effect in July, including Article 13, which has come in for major criticism due to its strict rules about sharing copyrighted material.
Now Polish government officials have written to EU courts challenging the new laws, suggesting that it could have serious repercussions for creative industries, which could lead to ‘preventative censorship' - that is to say, not doing what you planned to do to express your point, to save yourself from legal problems.
Amongst the repercussions, sites like ours could end up having to pay to quote from our colleagues in the industry, and copyright holders will have the right to object to material being used in ways that it doesn't like. All in all, it's a sledgehammer to crack a cashew.
Deputy Foreign Minister Konrad Szymanski told Polish broadcaster TVP Info: "This system may result in adopting regulations that are analogous to preventive censorship, which is forbidden not only in the Polish constitution but also in the EU treaties."
The legislation has been the subject of much criticism since it was first mooted with protests across Europe in the run-up to the final vote. Even when it passed, some countries claimed that the way it was presented was confusing. Swedish delegates even went so far as to say that they had voted for it by mistake and had requested to change the record.
The legislation was passed by the tiniest of margins, meaning that in the event that there are any legal challenges, there's a good chance of them being able to make a valid case to reassess the bill.
Although there were originally fears that the concept of the "meme" would be killed off by the legislation, there has been an exception made, though we won't know how effective it will be until it comes into force. Assuming it does of course. μ
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