Internet Freedom Takes a Hit in EU Vote

On March 26, the EU Parliament voted 348-274 (with 36 abstaining) to approve the “Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market.”

Article 13 of the Directive require all for-profit web platforms to acquire a license for all user uploaded content, or otherwise install content filters that would effectively censor unlicensed content, under risk of being held liable for infringement.

Creative Commons CEO Ryan Merkley responded:

Despite an incredible show of public opposition to the directive, and an abundance of evidence that the proposals will favour large rights holders, damage online communities, slow or even stop innovation, and entrench established big tech players, the European legislature has decided to approve it. Regardless of this outcome, we’ll continue to work with Member States wherever we can to ensure the implementations of this directive minimize the negative impact we anticipate for the commons, and on users who want to share creativity and knowledge online.

This is a huge step backward for copyright reform, that concentrates control of content in the hands of a few large rights holders and has the potential to significantly impair the information economy in Web 2.0 environments, particularly in terms of content marketing based on single-sourcing and resharing.

Read more:

Chris Fox. “What is Article 13? The EU’s copyright directive explained.” BBC. February 14, 2019

Timothy Vollmer. “A Dark Day for the Web: EU Parliament Approves Damaging Copyright Rules.” Creative Commons. March 26, 2019

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