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EU Copyright Reform & Upload Filter

Yesterday evening, a decision was made in Brussels that many legal experts, but above all Internet companies and institutions, consider to be a fire hazard for democracy and the further development of the free Internet in Europe. EU states, the Commission and the Parliament have agreed, among other things, on the introduction of mandatory upload filters. With the completion of the reform, numerous websites, portals, but of course also mobile apps, social networks and many other providers will have to check whether the content uploaded by users constitutes copyright infringement. The obligation to install upload filters should thus affect almost everyone who includes user content in any form, in the worst case starting with the avatar in an Internet forum. Where the boundaries will be, if at all, is hard to predict.

More and more protests are rising on Twitter and other platforms, and demonstrations have already been announced in many places.

Nearly 5 million people have already signed the petition against the reform on

As a lawyer with a focus on copyright, it is actually hard for me to be against a regulation that is supposed to protect creatives. However, if you look deeper into the way in which the reform is to come about, you are shocked at the lobbying the EU is being showered with here and how half-baked the balancing of interests is. I don’t even want to start on the problems that we lawyers will then encounter in everyday life, the potential waves of warnings, the demarcation problems and much more. Because while authors, creators, and other creators are undoubtedly entitled to fair compensation for work, and this is certainly massively limited numerous platforms, the risk of abuse is simply far too great. Without control possibilities and purely automated, only supposedly legal platforms will be restricted in their business development, tens of thousands of providers will be burdened with potentially high costs for the filters and enormous legal defense costs, while underground platforms in the area of file sharing etc. will not care about the then applicable obligation, just as they already do not observe the already applicable copyright.

In addition, of course, there is the question of whether numerous profiteers of the reform, who made the changes possible with massive lobbying, will not end up cutting their own throats. But only time will tell.

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel is a lawyer and entrepreneur specializing in copyright law, competition law and IT/IP law, with a focus on games, esports, media and blockchain.


03322 5078053