European Union is ‘new communism’ says Nigel Farage in 2013
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The member states, which include France, Italy, Spain and Poland, have been asked to explain their actions or face inevitable consequences. The other countries are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Sweden, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic. European Union copyright rules were adopted in 2019 to ensure a level playing field between the bloc’s creative industries and online giants such as Google and Facebook.
The European Commission has confirmed it has sent letters of formal notice to the 23 countries in question to ask for an explanation.
The deadline for implementing the copyright measures expired on June 7.
But this is only the first step in infringement proceedings from Brussels, which could lead to offending countries being hit with massive fines until they eventually follow the rules.
The countries in question have just two months to respond to the letter from the Commission, and failure to do so will see them issued with a formal warning.
After receiving a reasoned opinion, the next step for the EU is to drag nations in from the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
The Commission has also demanded France, Spain and 19 other EU nations to explain why they missed a deadline on the same date to impose other copyright rules for online transmission of radio and TV programmes.
But Britons have launched a furious attack against the legal threat from the EU towards the member states, warning it is just another example of the huge control Brussels has over them.
Reacting to our initial story, one Express.co.uk reader raged: “Why don’t they all just tell the EU to get stuffed?”
A second person asked: “Note to VDL: if 23 out of 27 don’t want this rule – have you considered why they don’t?
“Maybe it is an ill-thought-out or just a plain bad rule?”
Another reader said: “I have always stated the EU are dictators.”
A fourth person added: “Still pulling each other apart then, just like rabid dogs.”
The EU’s copyright laws have been hotly disputed in a number of its member states, with judges from the ECJ already ruling a key clause that complies with the bloc’s regulations.
The so-called Article 17 demands sharing platforms including YouTube and Instagram filter copyrighted content.
Poland claimed the filter could lead to censorship and has asked the EU’s leading court to annul it – an argument rejected by CJEU Advocate General Henrik Saugmandsgaard Øe.
He said: “While Article 17 entails an interference with freedom of expression, that interference satisfies the conditions laid down in the Charter of Fundamental Rights.”
The CJEU Advocate General added regulators had provided safeguards to reduce the risk online platforms may over-block lawful information with their filters.
But Diego Naranjo, campaign group European Digital Rights, warned: “This sets a dangerous precedent for future European legislation and for other governments around the world that would get inspired by legalised copyright censorship in Europe.”
Gregoire Polad, Director-General of the Association of Commercial Television, also criticised the Article 17 provisions.
He warned: “This very last minute non-binding guidance is manifestly contentious and very likely to be challenged.”
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