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Sad Day for the Internet: The Fight Continues

Brussels/Strasbourg, March 26, 2019 – The European Parliament approved today the Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market, so called Copyright Directive. It was supported by 348 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), against were 274 of them. The amendments were not voted on, as a majority of MEPs (with only five votes to shift the vote) rejected it.

The most controversial articles were 11 and 13, the link tax and upload filters. Julia Reda, Pirate MEP, has been informing about its threats for the past two years on her website and Pirate parties across Europe joined her in her efforts to stop it. As a result, some of the excesses have been mitigated – for example in Article 11 we managed to protect the hyperlink as one of the building blocks of the web.

Yet, this is a major loss for Europe. In an effort to support publishers and limit the power of technology giants, MEPs voted to introduce upload filters. Not only will these be error-prone, they will also be the least problematic precisely for the biggest players that the directive tried to control.

Even though it’s a loss, we are not giving up. The European elections in May can shift the power towards more Pirates and the revision of this directive will be one of our most important requirements in the negotiations after elections.

We are also preparing an overview of who voted – citizens are entitled to know which MEPs have supported the damage to the Internet. Likewise, we are now starting to look at the news that appeared only a few hours before the vote about alleged threats of publishers against some MEPs. If this were to be confirmed, the European Parliament should reflect this as a major problem.

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