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
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Mar 2019 @ 9:33pm

    Re: The end of the Internet as we know it...or not.

    passed by a huge margin - 348 for, 274

    No, the overall directive passed by that much. The vote to amend and strike A11 and A13, only passed by 5 votes. But then again, we all know all you have are ignorant, misleading statements and outright lies.

    Also, apparently in your world a huge margin is (checks math) 74 votes, roughly equalling 10 percent of the overall votes cast. So one tenth. Plus the votes in favor were only 55% of the total votes cast. Yeah, really huge margin there.

    Techdirt promptly declares the vote kills the "open" Internet.

    In the EU, yes. Do you have proof otherwise? Thought not.

    This is a predictable consequence of the lobbying that Silicon Valley firms did for net neutrality laws in Europe in 2015 and 2016.

    I'm sorry what? How does lobbying for NN laws somehow equal laws that are in no way neutral and literally go against the very building blocks of how the internet works?

    If you repeatedly go the government seeking favors for one economic sector and it grants your wish, you can't really be surprised when another economic sector seeks to rebalance the scales.

    Oh so you are in favor of no regulation and complete anarchy then. Got it.

    Consumers got their redress with GDPR, and now artists have won a victory.

    Except they haven't. All those platforms that artists are using today to make money, will now either shutdown in the EU altogether (except for maybe the big players like Youtube) or they will not allow any more user uploads because it's impossible to get licenses for all the content from the millions of creators out there to cover what their users upload. This will kill any and all sites that allow any kind of user uploads or comments/forums.

    The "open" Internet has always been a bit of a scam; open means operators of web services are free to do whatever they want without meaningful restrictions.

    No, it means that nobody owns the protocols the internet runs off of, therefore anyone is allowed to run their own site/corner of the internet and it's generally freely accessible to anyone and everyone, in addition to operators being free to do what they want. But keep on with those lies Dicky.

    This is the system we have in the US for Big Tech, but not for telecom or for artists.

    I'm sorry but those are some nice apples and oranges you have there. But for the sake of argument, "Big Tech" is generally referring to the likes of Google, Facebook, and Amazon who (checks notes) allow content creators to freely upload their content to their platforms and pay them based on views and other revenue streams. That seems like a pretty open internet for artists to me.

    And I have no idea what the hell you're talking about in reference to telecom. ISPs refuse to compete in the same market areas so that's their own damn fault. Aside from that, are you aware of the plethora of VoIP services available to anyone with an internet connection??????

    And even in the US, the data brokering practices of Big Tech firms are under the microscope.

    At last, something we can agree on. And long overdue, but that really has nothing to do with anything else in your post.

    Just like the last minute horse-trading that helped secure the 74 vote margin of victory

    WAIT WAIT WAIT! Didn't you just deride TD for running a story on that calling it a "conspiracy theory"???? Now you're admitting it's true? Dude, you just can't help but lie at every turn. You need help.

    over the long term lawmakers tend to balance favors for intersecting business sectors

    That's called bribery and is a well known problem that nobody, other than the ones engaging in it, are particularly fond of.

    Silicon Valley now has a losing streak going in Europe so who knows, maybe it will win the next fight.

    Oh? Spain would like to say hello.

    But I suspect we're going to see some US action against Big Tech before we see the EP doing it any favors.

    SOPA and PIPA say hi.

    The sociopathy of the "open" Internet has become annoying.

    Ah so you prefer a closed internet then where no one is allowed to communicate at all, thus returning us to the early 1900s, maybe even 1800s. Yes, that sounds like a great idea. Not.

    Try again Richard.


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