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Poland files complaint against EU copyright reform over fears of censorship

Warsaw, Poland – The Polish government has filed a formal complaint to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the EU’s top court, to challenge the controversial copyright reform adopted by the EU in April over fears of censorship, Reuters reported on Friday.

A “fair compensation” for the EU’s creative industries

According to its proponents, the EU copyright reform is meant to defend the creative, and entertainment industries and “ensure adequate protection for authors and artists” against tech giants like Google, YouTube or Instagram, whom they argue benefit from copyrighted content at the publishers’ expense. It was adopted by the European Union last month and gives EU member states up to two years to implement it at the national level.

Under the scheme, online platforms like Facebook, YouTube or Instagram will have to filter out protected content under copyright rules. Tech giants will be made accountable for copyright breaches and might be required to obtain licenses to distribute protected content, while Google will also have to pay publishers for news snippets. The overhaul is meant to ensure a fair and just compensation for the EU’s $1 trillion creative industries.

Poland slams risk of “preventive censorship”

Tech giants and rights activists have long been lobbying against the EU copyright reform, claiming that the new legislation – especially its most controversial articles 11 and 13 – might stifle freedom of expression on the internet. Two months ago, Wikipedia temporarily shut down in several EU countries to protest the move, including in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

Last month, Poland was one of the six countries, along with the likes of Italy and the Netherlands, to vote against the measure, backed by 19 EU member states, including France, the U.K. and Germany. Chairman of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party Jaroslaw Kaczynski already criticized the new European directive, saying that Poland will only implement the reform “in a way that will preserve freedom”.

Talking this week on state TVP Info channel, Poland’s deputy-Foreign Minister Konrad Szymanski said that the reform presents “a threat to freedom of expression, especially online freedom of expression” and may result in de-facto “preventive censorship”.