Nathan Guzé


The European Union’s Copyright Directive for the Digital Single Market should cause concern for net neutrality advocates. This article casts a critical gaze at Article 17 (previously Article 13) of this new Directive. It chronicles the Directive’s life: starting as a reaction to the perceived inadequate copyright protections provided by the previous Information Society Copyright Directive through to its then-present status circa May 2019. Next, net neutrality is defined, and its benefits and detriments are weighed to ultimately determine the policy is desirable. Article 17’s call for eliminating safe-harbor provisions for content hosts and its call for content filters signal opposition to net neutrality, despite the European Union’s supposed support for this policy. This new Copyright Directive seeks to support all creators, but it will only further entrench support for remunerative efforts towards those who can finance enforcement efforts: the most-famous creators and performers. The Directive’s enactment sets up a potentially bleak future for creativity on the internet – a cornerstone of the web that users have come to expect – and set in place an internet for the haves, not the have-nots. Ultimately, the Digital Single Market Directive is not net neutral and not in the general consumer’s best interest.