European article 13 content upload filters


The current round of reforms covering European copyright law are nearing closure. Of the proposed changes, the internet upload filter provision is probably the most controversial.

Article 2.5 currently provides the following exceptions (Unofficial 2019) (emphasis added):

‘online content sharing service provider’ means a provider of an information society service whose main or one of the main purposes is to store and give the public access to a large amount of copyright protected works or other protected subject-matter uploaded by its users which it organises and promotes for profit-making purposes. Providers of services such as not-for profit online encyclopedias, not-for profit educational and scientific repositories, open source software developing and sharing platforms, electronic communication service providers as defined in Directive 2018/1972 establishing the European Communications Code, online marketplaces and business-to business cloud services and cloud services which allow users to upload content for their own use shall not be considered online content sharing service providers within the meaning of this Directive.

In relation to open data portals. Insofar as these fall under the “not-for profit educational and scientific repositories” they should be okay. But that is a pretty tight definition and does not necessarily extend to Open Knowledge International‑style or OpenStreetMap crowd sourced open data sites. I imagine those portals will therefore either need to maintain a strict non‑profit status or operate from servers outside the EEA.


Reda, Julia (13 February 2019). The text of article 13 and the EU copyright directive has just been finalised. Julia Reda. Website.

Unofficial (13 February 2019). Article 13 and related definition — Unofficial consolidated version: trilogue outcome. Prepared by MEP Julia Reda. PDF file.


Many experts and digital rights activists, e.g. the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Article 13 is irredeemable, and are actively campaigning against it with a shutdown, in a similar vein to what happened at the SOPA / PIPA bill in the US. Even the German Wikipedia is joining in the blackout, which means they do not this that this tailored exception is enough.

According to European companies, articles 11 and 13 will effectively kill any possibility of competition European companies might try against the American internet giants.