This week, on September 12, the European Parliament is going to vote on a bill that threatens to irreparably damage the Internet as we know it. Under the guise of copyright reform, there are are a number of “reforms” that are going to cripple fundamental rights online.
One of them is Article 11 of the bill, which it was desired to ban creating links to press articles unless one previously asks and receives permission to do so. Over the course of negotiations, it was watered down slightly from banning linking to banning displaying snippets of the linked content (a.k.a. quoting the article). Even just this would be a terrible change because it would create a disparity between how quoting online references (limited by article 11) and quoting offline/offline references (one of the cornerstone copyright exceptions in copyright laws worldwide without which the current copyright regimes would be unacceptable).
The other is Article 13 of the bill, which, as it is written now, would mandate the implementation of upload filters by all online platform service providers. This would have profound repercussions on fundamental rights such as freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of the press to name just a few. Starting from Article 13, it comes down to absurd consequences such as a de facto ban on memes, a ban on open-source code repositories such as GitHub and so on.
Who better to explain the plight of the Internet than classical art memes?
Heed their call! #SaveYourInternet at https://t.co/lXX0L6M3ik pic.twitter.com/jFT7ei12uN
— Create.Refresh (@CreateRefresh) September 7, 2018
There are other issues too, such as Article 3 which would prevent the data mining of freely available online content.
There are just a couple of days left until the Plenary vote of the European Parliament. The #SaveYourInternet campaign is one of the multiple efforts trying to prevent this disaster from happening.
More details on this can be found here:
- Julia Reda “Showdown on upload filters and the link tax on September 12: These are the options in front of MEPs”, https://juliareda.eu/2018/09/copyright-showdown/
- Creative Commons “It’s now or never: EU copyright must protect access to knowledge and the commons”, https://creativecommons.org/2018/09/07/its-now-or-never-eu-copyright-must-protect-access-to-knowledge-and-the-commons/
- Wikimedia Foundation “Your internet is under threat. Here’s why you should care about European Copyright Reform.”, https://wikimediafoundation.org/2018/09/04/internet-under-threat-european-copyright-reform/
- Electronic Frontier Foundation “Why the Whole World Should Be Up in Arms About the EU’s Looming Internet Catastrophe”, https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2018/09/why-whole-world-should-be-arms-about-eus-looming-internet-catastrophe