EU Copyright Reform Fails to Pass

As of July 5, Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) rejected a proposed copyright reform legislation. The bill was controversial for multiple reasons.  

Julia Reda, MEP and member of the Pirate Party, had this to say about the law being rejected:

As stated by writer Cory Doctorow in an article by the Electronic Freedom Foundation, the main flaw of the EU copyright law was the creation of a link tax. If a site linked to a piece of content, they would have to pay a fee for the copyrighted work. This portion of the copyright reform was contained in Article 13.

Article 13’s passing would have a widespread effect, including the Wikimedia Foundation, which released a statement stating that the copyright amendment would harm them. If the proposal had passed, much of Wikipedia would be flagged as a false positive, meaning large amounts of information would be taken off the site.

According to TechCrunch, Wikipedia went offline in its Spanish and Italian language versions in protest of Article 13.

The founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, was also against the change in regulations and campaigned against the reform.   

Beyond Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation, other groups were grateful that the copyright reform failed to pass.

According to Nasdaq, due to the mandatory upload filtering required by the copyright protection law, many websites that link to articles would be affected by its passage.

Save Your Internet, a site created to protest the possible reforms, details the variety of actions that could be affected by the copyright reform.

According to Save Code Share, the article reform would force code repository platforms such as GitHub, Gitlab and others to filter content software developers upload, including code, to check for copyright violations.

On their blog, GitHub outlined reasons why upload filters would be harmful to software developers. The effects ranged from negatively impacting open source projects, violating free speech protections, to concerns that the content protection tools would be ineffective.

Another proposed victim of the copyright proposal was memes.

According to The Next Web, Article 13 would have had negative ramifications for memes, due to copyrights being protected by robo-filters. The filters would have been unable to understand parodies and proceed to block the picture that the meme contains.

Despite most of the internet’s opposition toward the copyright reform, specifically Article 13, several groups were not happy that the bill failed to pass.

According to Sky News, Sir Paul McCartney of the Beatles called on MEPs to support the copyright change, specifically in regard to music.

Sir McCartney wrote an open letter to the European Parliament about this issue:

Beyond McCartney, other musicians and creative groups threw their weight behind Article 13 as well.

In 2016, artists and musicians signed an open letter in support of Article 13.

People who signed that list include artists such as deadmau5, David Guetta and Swedish House Mafia, making up around a thousand signers and 1,300 names.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) also called for MEPs to pass the bill. On June 27, 2018, the IFPI’s members, from artists to record labels and newspapers, called for the MEPs to pass the bill to protect creative industries from tech giants.

Despite the bill not passing, the copyright law is still not quite rejected law. European lawmakers have until September to revise the bill and attempt to satisfy both artists and the media, as well as the tech giants that this bill threatened.  

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