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[ENG] Open letter in light of the Portuguese Government position at the copyright directive debate

Lisboa, February the 9th, 2018

Dear Prime Minister, António Costa,
Dear Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva,
Dear Minister of Economy, Manuel Caldeira Cabral,
Dear Minister of Culture, Luís Filipe de Castro Mendes,
Dear Minister of Science, Tecnology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor,

We write to you -as 83 associations of startups and industries did at a European level two months ago- to share our respectful but serious concerns that Portuguese position in the Copyright Directive debate is on the verge of causing irreparable damage to our fundamental rights and freedoms, our economy and foreign investments, our education and research, our innovation and entrepreneurship, our creativity and our culture.

We refer you to the numerous letters and analyses sent previously from a broad spectrum of European stakeholders and experts for more details: the 50 civil organizations, the technological industries, the 56 academic authorities, los 6 european countries and particulary Germany, and even the European Commision Legal Service.

The Copyright Directive proposal, which is supported and aggravated by the Government of Portugal, make Internet platforms -either hosters, e-commerce, social networks or video platforms generated by users- (1) responsible for their users’ content and (2) oblige them to actively monitor and filter all the content shared by users, with strong obligations for the detection and take down of all those that could be protected by copyright. Such measures will be impossible to implement without imposing on citizens an excessive restriction on their fundamental rights.

This responsibility and obligation are specifically prohibited by the E-Commerce Directive, the Internet regulatory framework that has allowed digital innovation during the last two decades, breaking all economic, geographical, and social barriers, globalizing innovation and access to information and services through a myriad of platforms that act as technological intermediaries between users who offer and users who demand all kind of content, products or services.

Therefore, Portuguese startups, associations, and investment funds, demand the Government to change its position to defend the digital ecosystem and entrepreneurship that today, along with tourism, are the main international attraction of the country in the world, which has already become in a global referent and pole of attraction of talent and investments.

The benefits and opportunities that Portugal can offer to the world in the 21st century continue to go through the same entrepreneurial character that 500 years ago achieved the first voyage around the world in history, but a regulation that is committed to innovation and look to the future is required.

On behalf of the signatories,

  • Associação Nacional para o Software Livre (ANSOL)

Associação D3 - Defesa dos Direitos Digitais (D³)

Associação Ensino Livre (AEL)

Creative Commons Portugal (CC PT)

Associação Portuguesa de Bibliotecários, Arquivistas e Documentalistas (BAD)

Beta-i - Innovation Acceleration Hub

Capítulo Português da Internet Society (ISOC PT)

Associação de Empresas de Software Open Source Portuguesas (ESOP)

Associação para a Promoção e Desenvolvimento da Sociedade de Informação (APDSI)