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Open letter to the European Parliament regarding the proposed Copyright Directive

March 19, 2019

Open Letter blog post header

Businesses in the EU express their concern for the upcoming EU Copyright Directive.

By the end of this month (March 2019), the EU parliament will have to vote on the Copyright Directive. The proposed directive would gravely limit how copyrighted content can be shared online. Two articles in this directive - Articles 11 and 13 - will seriously jeopardize the success of growing businesses in the EU.

In an open letter to Members of the European Parliament (full text below), Wire and 130 other EU businesses express their concern for the proposal and urge Members of the European Parliament to vote against Article 11 and 13.


Dear Members of the European Parliament,

The companies signing this letter to the European Parliament are urging you to vote against Articles 11 and 13 of the proposed copyright directive. The text of the trilogue agreement would harm the European economy and seriously undermine the ability of European businesses to compete with big Internet giants like Google. We support the goal of the legislation to protect the rights of creators and publishers, but the proposed measures are inadequate to reap these benefits and also fail to strike a fair balance between creators and all other parts of society. The success of our business enterprises will be seriously jeopardized by these heavy-handed EU regulations.

Especially Article 13 is dangerously experimenting with the core foundation of the Internet’s ecosystem. Making companies directly liable for the content of their users forces these businesses to make billions of legal decisions about the legality of content. Most companies are neither equipped nor capable of implementing the automatic content filtering mechanisms this requires, which are expensive and prone to error.

Article 11 is creating a completely new intellectual property right for press publishers. The experience with similar laws in Germany and Spain raises serious doubts about the expected benefits, while the negative impact would be very real. An additional layer of exclusive rights would make it harder to clear the necessary legal hurdles to start new projects. It will make entrepreneurs more hesitant to just launch new projects. Europe would lose any chance to play a significant role on the world stage. Startups that build services based on aggregated online information would go out of business, and every company that publishes press summaries of their appearance in the media would be in violation of this law.

Although the purpose of these regulations is to limit the powers of big US Internet companies like Google or Facebook, the proposed legislation would end up having the opposite effect. Article 13 requires filtering of massive amounts of data, requiring technology only the Internet giants have the resources to build. European companies will be thus forced to hand over their data to them, jeopardizing the independence of the European tech industry as well as the privacy of our users. European companies like ours will be hindered in their ability to compete or will have to abandon certain markets completely.

Given all of these issues it is noteworthy that the final trilogue agreement lacks meaningful safeguards for small and medium enterprises. The broad scope of this law would most likely lead to less new companies being founded in Europe and existing companies moving their headquarters out of Europe. For all those reasons we urge every pro-Startup politician to vote against Article 11 and Article 13.

Sincerely,

Frank Karlitschek, Founder & CEO, Nextcloud GmbH, Germany
Jutta Steiner, CEO & Founder, Parity, United Kingdom
Alan Duric, CTO/COO and Co-Founder, Wire, Switzerland
Jon Karlung, CEO Bahnhof AB, Sweden
Stefan Lingler, CTO, finderly Gmbh, Austria Philippe Kalaf, CEO, Collabora Limited, United Kingdom
Till Faida, CEO, eyeo GmbH, Germany
Cătălin Frâncu, Founder, dexonline.ro, Romania
Ruth Schöllhammer, Chairwoman of the Managing Board, Deutscher Gründerverband, Germany
Sam Tuke, CEO, phpList, United Kingdom
Peter Ganten, Founder and CEO, Univention & Chairman, Open Source Business Alliance, Germany
p≡p Security SA, Luxembourg
Lenard Koschwitz, Senior Director Global Policy, Allied for Startups, EU/Global
Erik Muttersbach, CTO, FreightHub, Germany
Nitrokey UG, Germany
Dom Hallas, Executive Director, The Coalition for a Digital Economy (COADEC), United Kingdom
Tobias Gerlinger, CEO, Owncloud, Germany
Adela Zábražná, Executive Manager, SAPIE – The Slovak Alliance for Innovation Economy, Slovakia
Travis Todd, Co-founder, Silicon Allee, Germany
Harald Kapper, CEO, Kapper Network-Communications GmbH, Austria
Tim Pritlove, Owner, Metaebene Personal Media, Germany
Bernd Hilmar, CEO, VIRTEXXA Cloud Services SRL, Romania
Frank J. Dürring, Dipl.-Inf. (FH), CEO, condero Aktiengesellschaft, Germany
Markus Raunig, Managing Director, AustrianStartups, Austria
Mirko Lorenz, Co-founder and Co-CEO, Datawrapper, Germany
Brian Joseph, CEO, Kopano BV, Netherlands
Dr. Detlef Oertel and Erol Ülükmen, Managing Directors, uib gmbh, Germany
Julia Szopa, President of the Board, Startup Poland, Poland
Paolo Vecchi,CEO, Omnis Cloud, Luxembourg
Timo Hetzel, Managing Director, Undsoversum GmbH, Germany
Maddalena Falzoni, CEO, MaadiX, Spain
Ralf Becker, CEO, Birgit Becker, CEO, Egroupware GmbH, Germany
Gianmarco Carnovale, Chairman, Roma Startup, Italy
Ulrich Brandner, CEO, CIB software GmbH, Germany
Steffen Weber, CEO, ComputerBase GmbH, Germany
evenly GmbH, Germany
Pierre Beyssac, CEO & Founder, Eriomem.net, France
Stefan Scholz, CEO, Zellwerk GmbH & Co. KG, Germany
Schallert.com e.U., Austria
Factory, Germany
Nicolas Chauvat, CEO, Logilab, France
Maik Aussendorf, Managing Director, Bareos GmbH & Co. KG, Germany
Richard Marx, COO, Assanti Insurance Technologies, Netherlands
Philippe Hemmel, President, Arawa, France
Fabio Natali, Director, Reckon Digital, United Kingdom
Sebastian Jabbusch, Founder and CEO, Public Impact UG, Germany
Labarama, Austria
Mario Behling, CEO, OpnTec GmbH, Germany
Daniel Hansson, Founder and Owner, T&M Hansson IT AB, Sweden
Lars Fassmann, Founder and CEO, chemmedia AG, Germany
Alexander Todorov, CEO, Open Technologies Bulgaria, Ltd, Bulgaria
Dr. Detlef Hühnlein, CEO, ecsec GmbH, Germany
Tom Knienieder, CEO, peaknetworks e.U., Austria
Karsten Klein, CEO, metaeffekt GmbH, Germany
Thierry Leblond, CEO, Scille, France
Dirk Ahrnke, Managing Director, it:25, Germany
Gerhard Sternath, CEO/CFO, LINBIT HA-Solutions GmbH, Austria
Bernhard Reiter, Managing Director, Intevation GmbH, Germany
Alexey Volkov, Founder and CEO, On My Disk, Slovenia
Marcel van Duijvendijk, CEO, Wind Engineering Solutions, Netherlands
Bozena Jarosz, CEO, SecN UG, Germany
Dr.ir Rick van Rein, CTO, OpenFortress B.V., Netherlands
Dirk Kutsche, CEO, pro-ite GmbH, Germany
Anne Dillard, Pierre Fumet & Cyril Lacoux, Managing Directors, EASTER-EGGS, France
Felix Arndt, CEO, fnordserver, Germany
Oscar Ortega, CEO, BTACTIC, Spain
Clemens Toennies, CEO, Blue Systems GmbH, Germany
Ajdin Gazija, CEO and Christian Machalitzky, CTO, NOBUGS IT GmbH, Austria
Dirk Breunich, CEO, Donner & Doria Werbeagentur GmbH, Germany
Dennis Pennings, CTO, Good Cloud BV, Netherlands
Silvina Furnadzhieva, CEO, Double Click Systems Ltd., Bulgaria
Samuel John, CEO, OtoJig GmbH, Germany
Marius Quabeck, CEO, NerdZoom Media, Germany
Martin Wiederkehr, CEO & Partner, Ops One AG, Switzerland
Mario Peshev, CEO, DevriX Ltd., Bulgaria
Steffen Lindner, CEO, Portknox.net, Germany
Tada.city, Netherlands
Omnis Systems Ltd, United Kingdom
Alexander Nimmervoll, Managing Director, Generalize-IT Solutions OG, Austria
Nadine Nüsse, CCO, Innovo Cloud GmbH, Germany
Christopher Neal, Director, Twist Development Limited, United Kingdom
Werner Klinger, CEO, Neodiffusion, France
Liane Hampe, Managing Director, xmera e.K., Germany
Markus Frei, Managing Director, Linuxfabrik, Switzerland
Dr. Richard Heigl, Co-Founder and CEO, Hallo Welt! GmbH, Germany
Sander Venema, Owner, Asteroid Interactive, Netherlands
Harald Dittmar, CEO, sys-pro GmbH, Germany
Daniel Huhardeaux, CEO, TOOTAi, France
Johan Poortvliet, Owner, Adjoadvies bv, Netherlands
Philipp Süß, Managing Owner, Ingenieurbüro Süß & friends, Germany
Patricia Moncorgé, CEO, Editions D-BookeR, France
Ralf Guttmann, CEO, Hyperspace GmbH, Germany
Patrick Babonneau, CTO, Eralog, France
Thomas Michalak, Owner, Nimmerland Nextcloud Service, Germany
Huib Verweij, Owner, X-Scale, Netherlands
Nicolas Lantz, Founder and CEO, UBICORE, France
Oliver Breidenbach, Director (CEO), Boinx Software Ltd., Germany
360ict, Netherlands
Just Software AG, Germany
Frédéric Da Vitoria, Owner, FDV Informatique, France
Stefan Vartolomeev, CEO & Founder, Pisateli BG, Bulgaria
Claudia Behr, Owner, computer & communication, Austria
Johan Bernhardsson, CEO, Kafit AB, Sweden
Clara Guinea Jaime, CEO, WIKIVITAS SL, Spain
Holger Schlichting, Managing Director, PRAXISFELD GmbH, Germany
Romain Hurdequint, Founder, The Daily Board Co., France
Jörg Günther, Main shareholder, AFI Solutions GmbH, Germany
Oslandia, France
Ingo Wichmann, CEO, Linuxhotel GmbH, Germany
Inventia Plus S.L., Spain
Jérémie Lesage, Company Manager, JECI SARL, France
Philip Bräunlich, Managing Director, Gerrit van Aaken, Managing Director, whitespace GmbH, Germany
Reinhold Baudisch, CEO, Michael Doberer, CEO, durchblicker.at, Austria
Robert Gavin, Managing Partner, Sören Tschiersch, Managing Partner, Flens IT Solutions GmbH, Germany
Hal Hughes, Director, TeeBase UK Ltd., United Kingdom
Sebastian Software GmbH, Germany
Florent Manens, CEO, BeeZim, France
Linnart Unger, Founder and Managing Director, Studio GOOD digital GmbH, Germany
Ing. Mag. Dr. Vincenz Leichtfried, CEO, LV7 Media Services, Austria
Mark Heckes, Managing Director, complingua GmbH, Germany
Andrej Stojanovič, CEO, A-com spletne storitve, Slovenia
Ingomar Otter, Director Technology & Innovation, Valtech Mobility GmbH, Germany
Josef Mayerhofer, Executive Director, WVNET, Austria
Bär Tiger Wolf GmbH, Germany
Julien Fastré, Administrator, Champs Libres Cooperative SCRLFS, Belgium
fullstax GmbH & CO. KG, Germany
Bauspenglerei Sukup-Groetzer OG, Austria
Biker-Boarder, Germany
Autonom Health GesundheitsbildungsGmbH, Austria
Nerdlichter AG, Germany
Tripple Internet Content Services, Austria
Yaltik, France
Konrad Koch, CTO, pantaBio AG, Germany
Nicolas Ducoulombier, Founder and CEO, Sébastien Ducoulombier, Founder and CEO, Julien Steinhauser, CEO, Les Développements Durables, France
Ansgar H. Licher, Co-Founder & CEO, Martin Werthmöller, Co-Founder & CTO, Lwsystems GmbH & Co. KG, Germany


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