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IGF 2019 Pre-Event #15 The European Copyright Directive and its Impact on Free Speech and Creativity on the Internet

Internet Society (ISOC) Chapters Advisory Council Steering Committee (ChAC-SC)


One of the most divisive laws to be enacted in recent history is the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (aka "EU Copyright Directive"). Coming right after the GDPR, at a time when many parts of the world--particularly countries from Emerging Economies--are looking to Europe for inspiration for their own national legislation, the Copyright Directive appears to have created significant controversy, disruption and dissonance among both citizens and activists. In particular, Article 11 (“Link Tax”) and Article 13 (“Algorithmic Censorship”) have provoked angry responses from multiple communities including the technical, copyright, journalistic, and human rights experts and organizations from around the world, as these are seen ambiguous, unworkable and if put in practice, are likely to result in stifling of free speech, creative expression and fair use of resources.

While the Directive has passed the EU-level legislative process, it has to be adopted by individual countries in EU for implementation, and there appears to be considerable variation in the way different countries are approaching these national laws as well.

Since there are likely to be extraterritorial effects of these laws (just as in the case of GDPR), and since the Directive may inspire similar legislation in other countries, Internet Society Chapters Advisory Council Steering Committee (ChAC-SC) believes that they may adversely impact the Internet’s existence as a free, open space that believes in borderless communication and permissionless innovation.
Consequently, ChAC-SC considers it beneficial to have discussions around this topic with participation from Chapter representatives around the world, sharing experiences, concerns and means of mitigating any negative impacts of this and other similar laws in other geographies.

About 50 participants from different parts of the world are expected to participate in the session.

The following key participants will speak and guide the session:

Amrita Choudhury, India Delhi Chapter
Eduardo Diaz, Puerto Rico Chapter
Elaine Ford, Peru Chapter
Lillian Nalwoga, Uganda Chapter
Nabil Bukhalid, Lebanon Chapter
Olivier Crépin-Leblond, UK-England Chapter
Peter Koch, German Chapter
Satish Babu, India Trivandrum Chapter
Susannah Gray, US San Francisco Bay Area Chapter

Contact Information

United Nations
Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Villa Le Bocage
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10

igf [at] un [dot] org
+41 (0) 229 173 678