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26.05.2019
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Poland has filed a complaint against the European Union’s copyright directive

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Poland has officially challenged the European Union’s recently-approved controversial copyright directive, according to Reuters, saying that the legislation would bring unwanted censorship. The country filed its complaint yesterday with the the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Poland’s Deputy Foreign Minister Konrad Szymanski said that the “system may result in adopting regulations that are analogous to preventive censorship, which is forbidden not only in the Polish constitution but also in the EU treaties.” Polish MPs predominantly rejected the measure (Two abstentions, eight for, 33 against, six no-votes, and two missing) when it was voted on.

Tomorrow morning #Poland will bring a case before the #CJEU against the copyright directive, a disproportionate measure that fuels censorship and threatens freedom of expression. #Article13 #Article17 #ACTA2 pic.twitter.com/2VmQV8nFWu

— Chancellery of the Prime Minister of Poland (@PremierRP_en) May 23, 2019

The Council of the European Union officially approved the directive in April, and it goes into force on June 7th, 2019. Following that action, EU member states will have until June 7th, 2021 to produce their own laws to implement it. The legislation is designed to update copyright law, and contains a number of controversial clauses, such as Article 11, the so-called “link tax,” which will allow publishers to charge platforms such as Google to display news stories, and Article 13, which says that platforms would be liable for content that infringes on someone’s copyright.

Users for platforms such as Facebook, Google, YouTube, Wikipedia, and others fear that the directive could be detrimental to how they use the site — content platforms aren’t liable for what they’re hosting, provided they make the effort to remove anything that is infringing on one’s copyright, like music or pirated movies. Sites would now have to proactively ensure that copyrighted content isn’t making it onto the site. As my colleagues James Vincent and Russell Brandom noted last year, sites might have to resort to implementing a filter, which “would be ripe for abuse by copyright trolls and would make millions of mistakes. The technology simply doesn’t exist to scan the internet’s content in this way.”

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