EU Parliament Votes To Step Back From The Abyss On Copyright For Now
from the even-against-sir-paul's-support dept
The last few days (and weeks) we’ve had plenty of articles about the EU’s attempt to undermine the fundamental aspects of the internet with its Copyright Directive, including a snippet tax and the requirement of upload filters. Supporters of the Directive have resorted to ever-increasing levels of FUD in trying to get the EU Parliament to move the directive forward without changes — and they did this despite quietly making the directive much, much worse and only revealing those changes at the last minute. It became quite obvious that the intent of this legislative effort was to fundamentally change the internet, to make it much more like TV — with a set of gatekeepers only allowing carefully selected and licensed content online.
As the drumbeat got louder from (quite reasonably) concerned people around the world, supporters of the effort kept trying different strategies in support of this nonsense — including a letter claiming to be written by Sir Paul McCartney.
I have some serious doubts as to whether or not McCartney actually understands these issues. The fact that the letter uses the RIAA’s exact talking points — including the made up phrase “value gap” (not to mention the American English spelling of “jeopardizes” over “jeopardises”) — certainly hints at someone else writing this up and asking McCartney to sign. It certainly reflects pretty poorly on someone as beloved as McCartney (who, in the past, has actually embraced the open internet to more directly connect with fans) that he would weigh in on the wrong side of such an issue.
Either way, the good news is that even with McCartney’s silly letter, the EU Parliament voted against moving the current version forward by a narrow tally of 318 to 278.
Great success: Your protests have worked! The European Parliament has sent the copyright law back to the drawing board. All MEPs will get to vote on #uploadfilters and the #linktax September 10?13. Now let's keep up the pressure to make sure we #SaveYourInternet! pic.twitter.com/VwqAgH0Xs5
— Julia Reda (@Senficon) July 5, 2018
As noted in that tweet, this means that these issues will be up for amendments and more specific votes in September — meaning we’ve got at least a few more months of fighting to save the open internet ahead of us. And you can be sure that, despite the weak efforts by those in favor of these changes over the past few weeks, they’ll bulk up their offense as well.
In particular, expect a lot more claims from the recording industry that this is all about “helping artists,” which is the same nonsense they pushed around SOPA/PIPA back in the day. But anyone who’s actually taken the time to understand Article 13 (and Article 11) will understand that this is the opposite of that. It is not designed to help artists. It will seriously harm many of the platforms that those artists rely on. Sites like Bandcamp and Etsy and Redbubble and Kickstarter would be at risk. This effort is little more than a misguided attempt to force Google to give record labels more money — and the proposals’ backers really don’t seem to give a shit if the end result is that smaller internet players are removed from the playing field and Google is put in an even more dominant position. They’re just so focused on the (misguided) idea that Google somehow owes them more money, they’ll take down the rest of the internet in pursuit of that obsession.
Either way, today’s vote is historic. It’s extremely rare for a legislative effort that has left committee to get reopened by the wider EU Parliament. As the good folks at EDRi note, this only happened because so many of you spoke up, contacting Members of the EU Parliament and spreading the news about this online (using many of the platforms that this legislation would harm). But, there’s still a lot to be done:
We’ll continue to report on this and keep people aware, but sites like SaveYourInternet.eu and EDRi will have lots of news, as (I’m sure) will MEP Julia Reda, who has been leading the charge to help preserve the open internet in the EU.