EU Puts An End To The Open Internet: Link Taxes And Filters Approved By Just 5 Votes

from the a-sad-day-for-the-open-internet dept

Well, it was a nice run while it lasted, but the EU Parliament has just put an end to the open internet. By the incredibly thin margin of just five votes, the Parliament voted against any amendments to the proposal -- which was a necessary step to fixing or deleting Articles 11 and 13. After that, they voted to approve the EU Copyright Directive, including the terrible versions of both Article 11 and 13. This is an inauspicious day and one that the EU will almost certainly come to regret. While we now need to see how each of the member states will implement the actual laws put forth in the Directive (meaning the damage in some states may be more mitigatable than in others), on the whole the EU Copyright Directive requires laws that effectively end the open internet as an open communications medium. Sites that previously allowed content creators to freely publish content will now be forced to make impossible choices: license all content (which is literally impossible), filter all content (expensive and failure-prone), or shut down. Sites that used to send traffic to news sources may now need to reconsider, as doing so will inexplicably require payment.

At best, the EU--for all its complaints about Google and Facebook--has just locked both companies into a dominant position. They can afford this. Others cannot. And, the legacy gatekeepers in the media and entertainment business will quickly pivot to seeking to export this model elsewhere.

The MEPs who voted for this are up for election in two months, and hopefully the EU shows them the door, but in the meantime, today is a sad day for the open internet. I am sure that some will be celebrating on the false belief that this will magically "help artists." It will not. You just handed more power to giant companies, and took it away from creators. In time, one hopes, those who mocked the protesters and activists and actual experts will come to realize just how much they destroyed today.

Filed Under: article 11, article 13, censorship, closed internet, copyright, eu, eu copyright directive, eu parliament, filters, free speech, link tax, open internet


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  1. identicon
    zippy, 26 Mar 2019 @ 9:32am

    Anonymous needs to expose all the secrets of everyone who voted for this thing. Or at least find some way to make their digital lives miserable until they rescind it with no possibility of reinstatement. Anonymous has been sitting on their duff for far too long letting things like this go on without doing anything to hamper them. When was the last time we heard of them actually doing anything? And where were they during all this?

    Also, a list of everyone who voted to destroy EU's open internet should be posted on the main page of every single EU-facing website for all to see so those MEPS have nowhere to hide and so all will know exactly who sold them out. Also note their corporate donors next to their names on the list. And make it clear to the MEPs that these lists will not be removed until 11 & 13 are rescinded with no possibility of reinstatement. These MEPs must be punished in every way imaginable and their lives made completely unbearable until they revoke the decision they made today.

    This is why a one-day online protest isn't enough. Such protests have to go on for multiple days or even at least a week to stay in the public eye and be most effective. The blackout should have lasted until after the vote. A single day can be forgotten, but a blackout of a whole week or even more is less easily pushed aside.


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