The Court of Justice of the European Union has dismissed Poland’s request to annul Article 17 of the Copyright Directive. The Court finds that the legislation, which could boost the use of ‘upload filters,’ does not violate freedom of expression, as long as they can sufficiently distinguish between illegal and legal content. This effectively puts an end to years of opposition.
In 2019 the European Parliament adopted the new Copyright Directive that aims to modernize how copyright is protected in the online environment.
After the directive passed, individual EU member states began working to implement the text into local law.
This includes the controversial Article 17, which requires online services to license content from copyright holders. If that is not possible, these companies should ensure that infringing content is taken down and not re-uploaded to their services.
Many opponents fear that this language will effectively lead to broad ‘upload filters’ that will take down more content than needed. These concerns been reiterated by several experts over the years.
After massive protests failed to stop the legislation, Poland became the last beacon of hope for the opposition. The country petitioned the EU Court of Justice to annul Article 17, claiming it would violate the freedom of expression of European citizens.
Last summer, EU Advocate General Saugmandsgaard Øe advised the Court not to grant Poland’s request. The AG argued that ‘upload filters’ would not significantly harm freedom of expression.
CJEU Dismissed Polish Opposition
Today, the EU’s top court issued its final decision, siding with the Advocate General’s advice. This means that Article 17 of the EU Copyright Directive will remain in place, effectively putting an end to several years of opposition….