The European Union (EU) shelves back its draft of internet copyright reforms after backlash from numerous companies, critics, and consumers alike. It’s back to the drawing board for the EU. Amidst the impact of its recent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) policies, will the EU pull it off when it comes to copyright protection?
The European Union has just sent its controversial reforms to internet copyright back to the drafting board – but despite the strong rejection of the public towards the current form of the legislation, it appears it’s not exactly the end of the battle for the EU.
The EU has just rejected controversial legislation that’s intention is to start reforming online copyright policies. In fact, 318 MEPs have voted against the drafted legislation, versus the 278 who voted in favor for it. With this, the legislation has just returned to the drafting board and should be on its way for another vote in September 2018.
The draft legislation has been formally referred to as the Copyright Directive. Its intention is to be a simple update to copyright regulations in today’s digital and online age. However, it’s attracted a lot of criticisms because of its two new provisions, which can prove disadvantageous to a lot of consumers.
- The first is called Article 11, which establishes a “link tax.” This forces online platforms such as Google and Facebook to pay organizations before being able to link to their stories.
- The second is called Article 13, which proposes something called an “upload filter” that would need all content to be checked for forms of copyright infringement before being uploaded online.
A lot of campaigners have denounced these provisions as things that are “unrealistic.” MEPs like Julia Reda of the European Pirate Party has encouraged people to sign a petition named “Save Your Internet” that attracted a lot of signatures – ranging to as much as 700,000 signatures. Now, Reda has hailed the vote as a tremendous success to copyright reforms, but she added campaigners will need to sustain the pressure they’ve built in order to have a permanent victory.
Tech giants in the United States will also have a victory for the rejection of the Copyright Directive. Having this successfully pass would have them pay a lot of costs before being able to fully adapt to the ruling. Individual internet users as well would find themselves affected by the law as well, thanks to the “upload filter” that would most likely put an end to be able to share memes – which also use a lot of copyrighted material.
Mozilla also released a statement that lauded the vote, which it said was “great news” for both startups and citizens living in Europe. It said the European Parliament has hopefully heard the voice of citizens and voted against such laws and legislation that would’ve dealt a huge blow against open internet in the European region.
However, campaigners who did push for the legislation to be approved said this recent rejection just improves upon the abilities of big United States tech companies to hurt individual creators and artists. They said tools such as the link tax and upload filter will be able to let copyright owners to win back profit from firms that profit from their content.
Meanwhile, the Society of Authors, Composers, and Publishers of Music (SACEM) in Europe said the vote was not the end, but rather a set-back. David El Sayegh, secretary general of SACEM, said the group still wants to have a “fair agreement” with internet firms that would hopefully be able to keep the music industry safe. A lot of notable figures have favored the legislation, such as Jean-Michel Jarre, and Paul McCartner, former member of the Beatles.
However, the current rejection of the Directive at its draft will be able to benefit both parties. When the legislation had passed its first voting last June, a lot of campaigners did say the law might only be discussed in closed doors between member states and EU lawmaker in “trilogues.” This might severely dampen the ability of EU citizens and MEPs to give their voice on the legislation.
Now, with the recent vote, there will at least be open debate. Now changes can be made to be able to satisfy both parties, and could give owners of copyright more leverage on what could be done with their content without fully opening fire to the principles the internet has been known to uphold.
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