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Manifesto for an open and fair internet

Manifesto for an open and fair internet

without censorship, with remuneration for artists


We all live among the digital revolution. We want to shape it, not prevent it. Authors must be paid. Therefore, the internet needs good rules. There is no freedom without rules! Otherwise, only the strongest will prevail as has happened with the internet-giants. We are no technophobes. We want good governance for the digital world. We want an open and fair internet.

Copyright law has to be clarified for today’s digital world, but not weakened or abolished. We want a sustainable culture. A free internet is not always free of charge. We have long had the new monopolies of American tech giants, who determine the rules of the game online. The criticism we have is merely of the myths and fighting talk, which are poisoning the current debate: A free internet at no charge, publishers as evil exploiters, authors ripped off by collecting societies, the enforcement of copyright as censorship.

Google and Facebook are already using filter algorithms. They filter not only – as intended – illegal content (e.g. pornographic or terrorist content), but also completely legal content (e.g. photos of naked bodies). They do so arbitrarily and without democratic regulation. The new directive, however, will regulate filters. At the same time, the platforms currently earn their money by making third parties’ content accessible and advertising it, without paying appropriate fees to the creators of this content – photographers, musicians, authors, graphic artists. This is where the new directive on European copyright law comes in: Article 13 regulates how licensing works for platforms. Platforms should pay creatives fair and reasonable remuneration by obtaining licences for the global repertoire. If they have such flat-rate licences from collecting societies, they do not need to filter content.

This is the purpose of Article 13.

Only those commercial platforms have to license whose main purpose is to monetize and curate large quantities of copyrighted content by making it available to the general public (Art. 2.5). Furthermore, Article 9a, which is mostly ignored in the public debate, extends the competences of collecting societies to make it easier for platforms to acquire licences – they do not have to negotiate individual contracts with each right-holder!

A number of other exceptions and regulations create more legal certainty for all parties:

> Users have legal certainty, there are no more written warnings on uploaded content

> Exceptions for quotation, parody, pastiche are harmonized Europe-wide – Memes are safe!

> Messengers (e.g. WhatsApp), online encyclopaedias (e.g. Wikipedia), cloud services (e.g. Dropbox), online marketplaces (e.g. eBay), dating portals (e.g. Tinder) as well as discussion forums are excluded

> “Creative Commons” licenses are explicitly provided for

Other advantages of the reform are:

> Journalists are remunerated through protection of press publications concerning online users (Art. 11)

> Authors are in a better position towards publishers (Art. 14-16)

> Authors and publishers are part of one value chain and share revenues (Art. 12)

We stand for transparent legislation. For many years, European legislators have been discussing the subject with a wide variety of stakeholders and have reached well-founded compromises. We are in favour of a free and fair internet without censorship!

We are in favour of this copyright reform. It is a fair balance between users, platforms and authors!