EU Parliamentary Committee Votes To Put American Internet Giants In Charge Of What Speech Is Allowed Online
from the bad-news dept
As we’ve been writing over the past few weeks, the EU Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) voted earlier today on the EU’s new Copyright Directive. Within that directive were two absolutely horrible ideas that are dangerous to an open internet — a link tax and a mandatory copyright filtering requrement (i.e., the “censorship machines” proposal). While there was a big fight about it, and we heard that some in the EU Parliament were getting nervous about it, this morning they still voted in favor of both proposals and to move the entire Copyright Directive forward. The vote was close, but still went the wrong way:
Somewhat incredibly, no official rollcall tally was kept. MEP Julia Reda, however, has posted an unofficial roll call of who voted against internet freedom, showing (graphically) whether they voted for the link tax and/or censorship machines:
In case you can’t see that here’s who voted according to Reda’s list — most voted for both of the bad proposals, but for the few who didn’t vote for the link tax, I’ve noted that separately. These politicians deserve to (1) be called out for trying to destroy an open internet and give in to legacy industries who want to censor the internet and (2) voted out of office next election:
- Axel Voss, Germany (who was in charge of this entire thing and who has regularly played dumb whenever people point out just how bad these proposals are. He appears completely beholden to legacy industry interests). Voss’s name should become synonymous with the destruction of a free and open internet.
- Pavel Svoboda, Czech Republic (voted for censorship machines, but not the link tax)
- Rosa Estaras Ferragut, Spain
- Tadeusz Zwiefka, Poland,
- Jozsef Szajer, Hungary
- Francis Zammit Dimech, Malta
- Luis de Grandes Pascual, Spain
- Enrico Gasbarra, Italy
- Mary Honeyball, UK
- Jean-Marie Cavada, France
- Marinho e Pinto, Portugal
- Sajjad Karim, UK (voted for censorship machines, but not the link tax)
- Joelle Bergeron, France
- Marie-Christine Boutonnet, France
- Gilles Libreton, France
Note those last two votes from France, as Lebreton and Boutonnet are both members of the French National Front party, the same party whose leader, Marine Le Pen, has been out and about screaming about how unfair it is that the party’s YouTube channel was deleted by automatic copyright filters — the same filters that her own party just voted to make mandatory for all platforms. Incredible.
This is a hugely unfortunate series of events. Having the proposal approved by the JURI Committee makes it much, much harder to stop this Directive from becoming official. But it is not the end of the road. Reda will be forcing a vote from the entire EU Parliament on the issue:
This is an unacceptable outcome that I will challenge in the next plenary session, asking all 750 MEPs to vote on whether to accept the Committee?s result or open it up for debate in that larger forum, which would then give us a final chance to make changes.
The digital freedom group EDRi has also detailed the next steps in this process and created an infographic showing what still needs to happen:
It will be difficult to stop this freight train after this morning’s vote, but not impossible. If you want to see the internet remain viable as a communications platform, rather than seeing it locked down as the new broadcast television, in which giant American companies have the final say in what you’re allowed to say online, you should probably let the EU Parliament know sooner, rather than later.