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. icon
    mephistophocles (profile), 26 Mar 2019 @ 11:09am

    Re:

    The solution to this kind of thing is not to stop voting for the people who championed it, guys. Assuming those votes are counted, it doesn't matter - if voting could change anything, it wouldn't be allowed.

    The internet is dead - long live the internet! Find another way to communicate - a new free way that allows free speech. Yes it can be done. The internet didn't exist 30 years ago. People still communicated just fine. Anyone who had told me, 30 years ago, that the internet as it exists today would be in place in 2019, I probably wouldn't have believed them. What will exist in 30 years that doesn't today, and that you would think is crazy if someone told you?

    I'm not excusing those who made this directive, but this is the natural way of things, or has been for at least 100 years. Innovation occurs, it has a "free" period of use, regulation begins to grow and eventually takes over, then then there's a period of high regulation before the thing dies (and is reinvented as something unregulated).


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