Remedies preventing illegal content on online platforms must play a key role in the Danish implementation of the Directive on Copyright

The amount of illegal content on social media and other platforms is so excessive that manual takedowns, as they are operated today, cannot keep up. Therefore, RettighedsAlliancen calls for increased platform responsibility and updated enforcement remedies.

The illegal market is constantly evolving and currently the market is evolving from being centralized websites to more decentralized platforms like social media. This means that online platforms, which are inherently legal, are increasingly being misused to share illegal content: from designer furniture to textbooks and movies.

Today, removal of illegal content from social media is a manual process that is reactive and only happens once the illegal content is already on the platform. This process requires a lot of resources, but still cannot keep up with the pace and volume of uploads of infringing content. That is why CEO at RettighedsAlliancen, Maria Fredenslund, points out that updated remedies of enforcement are needed:

“It is crucial that we ensure that illegal content is not uploaded to the platforms in the first place. Today we see, among other things, how Facebook’s introduction of live streaming has enabled users to misuse the feature for screening movies that are currently showing in cinemas, which are then viewed more than 75,000 times before being taken down,” she says.

Platforms must take responsibility

The Directive on Copyright specifically states that social media must take responsibility for the content posted on their platforms, to which Facebooks says:

“We want to be better, and I think the directive can help us with that,” says Martin Ruby, Facebook’s head of public policy in Benelux and the Nordics.

Google also see the positives in giving rightsholders more control over their content on online platforms, which according to Christine Sørensen, Communications and Public Affairs Manager at Google in Denmark, enables an ecosystem where quality content for users goes hand in hand with healthy business relations.

“It makes good sense for rightsholders to have increased control. They need to be able to build a business model on their own content – maybe an even better model – than they are able to today,” she explains.

While there seems to be a common understanding that platforms must take on their share of the responsibility for safeguarding against illegal content, goodwill must result in regulatory requirements for specific and effective enforcement tools, states CEO at RettighedsAlliancen Maria Fredenslund:

“The online platforms need to get involved in developing effective tools that can protect against uploading and sharing illegal content, and they need to share these with rightsholders and the public authorities. It is not the rightsholders’ job alone to ensure that the platforms are not used for criminal activities and distribution of illegal content,” she says.

National implementation should not be shelved with reference to the EU

Both at EU level and in the previous government’s ‘growth plan for the creative industries’ a scheme of so-called “trusted notifiers”, who are given access to remove illegal content from the online platforms, has been proposed. This measure can help to make enforcement more effective on platforms such as social media, where it is the content, not the service, that is illegal.

But in the discussion of how international platforms must implement effective remedies and regulations specifically in relation to Danish law, RettighedsAlliancens emphasizes that it is important to put one’s own house in order first.

“There is an important responsibility on the shoulders of the Danish government in finding out how we implement the Directive in a way that considers all of the Danish practices that have already been established. Denmark is a role model for the European countries in self-regulation and copyright enforcement, and we should continue to be so. The platforms operate in Denmark, where Danish regulation apply. Therefore, it is important that decisions on effective enforcement is not just left up to the EU because these are international tech giants,” explains Director Maria Fredenslund.

Listen to Facebook, Google and RettighedsAlliancen talk about their expectations for the implementation of the Directive on Copyright here: