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Daniel Smith

European Parliament passes controversial Copyright Directive

By | EU Legislation, Europe, News

The European parliament has voted in favour of controversial proposals to reform online copyright. The two most controversial articles in the proposed copyright directive, article 11 and article 13, had been amended after being rejected by MEPs when they voted on the draft legislation in July.

Article 11, which has been dubbed the “link tax” by critics, would require news aggregation and search sites such as Google to pay publishers for showing news snippets or linking to news stories on other sites. Article 11 has now been amended to allow links to contain individual words from the linked to publishers’ content in a bid to address criticism that it would criminalise the use of hyperlinks.

Article 13 would require companies to automatically filter copyrighted material uploaded on their platforms, unless it has been specifically licensed. The amended proposals have reduced the scope of article 13 to platforms that both host “significant” amounts of content and also “promote” that content, and an exemption is made for small businesses.

A large number of musicians, including Paul McCartney, backed the proposals in article 13 arguing that they would ensure artists were appropriately compensated for their work. However, an open letter signed by 70 technology leaders, including Tim Berners-Lee, warned that the proposals were an “imminent threat” to the future of the internet as we know it, and could effectively ban things like memes and remixes which use some copyrighted material.

While recorded entertainment industries welcomed the vote,  critics say that the two articles have only been subject to cosmetic changes, which have done nothing to mitigate their concerns.

The legislation will now be subject to trialogue negotiations with the European commission and Member States through the European Council. It will then return for a final vote in the European parliament in January.

DCMS publishes consultation on NIS Directive for Digital Service Providers

By | News, Security

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published a targeted consultation to seek views on how the Government intends to implement the Network and Information Systems (NIS) Directive in relation to Digital Service Providers (DSPs) in the UK. This follows the publication of the Implementing Act for DSPs by the European Commission in January 2018.

The Government states that the UK will define DSPs in the same way as set out in the Directive, which means that DSPs will encompass “online marketplaces”, “online search engines”, and “cloud computing services”.

As the Government has previously stated, the Information Commissioner’s Office (the ICO) will be responsible for regulating DSPs in the UK in the context of the NIS Directive. As part of this role, the ICO will produce guidance to help DSPs establish whether they are in scope of the Directive. The consultation states that the ICO will also, after 10 May 2018 when the Directive comes into force, “establish a system in order for UK DSPs to register themselves with the ICO.” The Government states that this system “is necessary in order for the ICO to know who is required to meet the requirements of the Directive and who they need to regulate”, and that it is considering making registration mandatory.

The ICO will also publish guidance to ensure that DSPs understand their obligations under the Directive. This guidance will take into account the Technical Guidelines for the implementation of minimum security measures for Digital Service Providers published by the European Network and Information Systems Agency (ENISA) in 2017. This, according to the Government, will ensure that there is a consistent approach across Europe.

The ICO, along with the other relevant regulatory authorities, will have the power to recover the costs of regulating the NIS Directive. In this context, the Government expects that the ICO, in line with common practice in other regulations such as the GDPR, will levy an annual fee on DSPs, in addition to recovering direct costs involved in any regulatory investigations. The consultation states that the amount of this fee has not yet been determined and will be published by the ICO in due course.

The closing date for responses to the consultation is 29 April 2018.