EU Copyright Directive just passed through Parliament

Disappointed to report that the EU’s Digital Copyright Directive has just passed through their parliament, largely unamended from the last vote where it was rejected.

Make the most of oneboxes, free image uploads and text quotes … while you still can.


Certainly a concerning addition to the statute.

Elements can be less alarming if you look into the detail, eg:

“Hyperlinks Are Not at Risk
It has been alleged that the Publisher’s Right may threaten the freedom of hyperlinking.28
However, Recital 33 of the Proposed Directive sufficiently clarifies that the ‘protection does not extend to acts of hyperlinking which do not constitute communication to the public’. In several decisions, the Court of Justice has outlined that in principle a hyperlink does not constitute a ‘communication to the public’ within the meaning of Directive 2001/29/EC. In addition, the court laid out in which (rare) scenarios a hyperlink may constitute such communication. Further clarifications on this point are expected.
Moreover, from a legal point of view, it is difficult to find hyperlinks that could ever fall under the proposed right. Sharing news posts in social media, for example, would not be hindered. Firstly, this is because any type of hyperlinking, including framing, is explicitly precluded from the Publisher’s Right (Recital 33 of the Proposed Directive). Secondly, it is typically the press publisher that enables the ‘sharing’, namely through the corresponding sharing buttons on its website (e.g. from Facebook, Twitter and Google+). By doing so, press publishers provide at least implied consent to the use of their works by consumers via ‘sharing’. Thus, even if ‘sharing’ was considered as a communication to the public, it would be legal due to the publisher’s consent.”

Suggesting ‘one-boxing’ and framed links will be allowed?

Also I’ve heard commentators discuss materiality? Sites with less that 10,000 users won’t be affected? (that would put presumably a lot of Discourse sites out of scope, if not meta). I haven’t so far found a technical reference for that to establish its validity.


Thanks for the information. However, I got a different interpretation of this when reading the PDF:

Just above the paragraph you quoted are several paragraphs justifying why snippets must be included in the scope of the law.

The part of the law that concerns me most is the “upload filters” bit.

A system that performs real-time fuzzy analysis on the cross product of all copyright material in Europe with all social media content in Europe is not a system that a) exists or b) is workable for non-profits or small business.

1 Like

Sure. So it seems you will not be able to use excerpts outside of a hyperlink frame is the way I interpret it.

Perhaps making a quote entirely hyperlinked meets the requirement and circumvents the prohibition?

1 Like

…is the problem.

I run a company with a balance sheet I’d prefer not to lose. I can’t afford for the forums owned by my company to “perhaps” break the law.

Unfortunately the EU will not define technical laws in precise terms because then they are not future proof.

1 Like

Laws are a fact of life … we’ll have to see how they are interpreted and applied … and they can be overturned or amended … we’ll have to see how this plays out.

1 Like

Whats the best way to just geo block the EU?

1 Like

Why on Earth would you want to do that? Please don’t succumb to the same hysteria that happened after GDPR. :frowning:


Blocking is completely reasonable if your forum has a (local) geographic focus.


Not really. Among others, you’re creating unnecessarry problems for users abroad.


I don’t understand your response Daniel.

I publish a web site about live jazz. It is, by far, of specific interest to people who live here who can actually hear the music. I am considering setting up discourse for discussions about our shared meatspace experience. As Europeans won’t be at these events, there’s no value in them having access.

(This is not entirely true as a very few will come here as tourists and on business. Also I’m in a capital city, so there are embassies here.)

If Europeans think I’m subject to their GDPR they’re wrong. I don’t. I live in Canada.

I’m just as able to ignore their latest idiocy too.

For all the hassle, I am increasingly tempted to block them. I already block .ru, .kr and .cn netblocks in return for the tens of thousands of attempts in a week to crack my servers.

I do think ip firewall netblocks are great for ignoring all this nonsense. They are readily available and very low resources when used properly.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I like Europeans. They make some great jazz, and various Europeans have moved here and made welcome contributions of various kinds. They are welcome to set whatever policies they want for themselves. But as I have no vote or say in policies there, I shall continue to (actively) ignore it. And I sincerely wish them luck and hope that something good comes of it that we can all learn from.

1 Like

Sorry, what I meant was your users traveling abroad.


Understood. That’s a problem too.

Local copyright filtering for content seems like such a cumbersome way to solve the issue of unlicensed use of pictures, wouldn’t it be much better for photo publishers to embed copyright information as a part of the file so we could look for those signatures when handling an upload?

I guess if the EU sets up a centralized registry service where you can just send them a hash of the uploaded file, get a response back if it maches any registered content, warn the user with a thumbnail of both files to verify that it’s a valid match and still let the user dispute it if they disagree… Then it could be a net good without too much headache for site admins.

I would welcome such a system if it made it harder for copyright trolls to extract money from people who don’t realize it’s dangerous to copy pictures from google image search onto your own site.


Just letting you all know that yesterday our German and the French lobby driven politican jerks decided to vote for an even worse version of chapter 11 and 13 somewhere in April 2019.

Any real chance to legally run any Discourse-based forums in the EU after this becomes law?


Final vote yet to be held though? But agree this is very bad. Keep changing domain name every 3 years?

1 Like

That’s not a good look to regulators unfortunately.


It’s not something I really want to have to do on my local community forum, but I think every European Discourse instance ought to be reaching out to their membership about this:

Facebook has out-competed most of my open-web forum competitors. So many local forums have shut down to be replaced by Facebook Groups.

It’s only through a lot of hard graft that I’ve been able to keep my online communities alive without all discussion migrating to a very sophisticated and ubiquitous US-based social network.

The EU Copyright Directive will make it legally impossible for me and other open-web forums to continue.


This is also a pretty good summary by Julia Reda

and a call to action at

As it’ll have an effect on the structure and workings of the internet as a whole, I think that it’s of interest to everybody working and/or communicating online


As far as I understand this is the current situation:

  • The final text has been agreed upon - it has not been voted on so it’s not a law. Yet.
  • This is not applicable to services available for less than three years, have an annual turnover of less than €10M, or have less than 5 million unique visitors per month.

I love Discourse, don’t get me wrong. But I doubt that this would apply to many Discourse installations. So I doubt we would need support for the filters by default (and with an annual turnover of >10M/year, I can imagine you would at least have some budget available to build a bespoke solution).