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
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 1 Apr 2019 @ 8:05am

    Re: Re: Question...

    " A comments section would have an implied license within itself. Implied license may also reduce the impact of Article 13."

    Wrong on both counts.

    Article 13 does not mention anything directly about implied licensing but in practice implied licensing has ceased to exist for 3rd parties. No platform will be dumb enough to run a legal exposure which has to rely on "maybe no one will care enough to sue us".

    And that's also why implied licensing can't "mitigate" article 13/11. Platform self-censorship will not allow implied licensing to exist except in the few cases where the platform can be absolutely sure that no one will mention anything which could be covered under copyright.

    Article 11 isn't just going after google. It's going after everyone any of a thousand copyright trolls can find online.


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