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Communications of the ACM

Legally speaking

Europe's Controversial Digital Copyright Directive Finalized

arrow with EU stars in feathers

Credit: Andrij Borys Associates, Olivier Le Moal

Internet governance rules in the EU are about to change radically. The final version of its Directive on Copyright and Related Rights in the Digital Single Market (DSM), which has been under consideration for the past three years, was promulgated on April 17, 2019. EU member states now have two years to transpose the Directive's rules into their national laws.

In some respects, the DSM Directive is better than previous drafts (of which more anon). There is still reason to worry the new rules will be harmful for freedom of expression and information privacy interests of individual creators and users. How much harm will depend on how member states implement the Directive and how courts interpret it, as many of its terms are ambiguous.


Martin Smith

". . . best efforts to ensure the unavailability of specific works."

Given the (almost) zero marginal cost of making economically usefully information available, this goal seems profoundly ill-conceived in substance and jarringly illiberal in expression.

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