By Nikos Tsinakis
The European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs just voted ‘yes’ on highly controversial segments of the EU’s new Copyright Reform laws, a topic that’s been hotly debated in the past week. The controversial articles — 11 and 13 — effectively establish web link tax, censorship machines, and a ban on memes. This is a brazen assault on the freedom of speech for continental Europeans, masked in a format of protecting “copyrighted content” a direct attack against the right-wing opposition voice on the internet that has been successfully implementing the use of memes for the past several years.
There was an incredible amount of resistance to the contested articles from internet activists, technocrats, and members of European Parliament (MEPs), but all the appeals were rendered to no avail and the articles passed with a 13:12 and 15:10 majority.
Article 11 forces all usage with portions of online journalistic content be required to obtain a license from the original publisher first. Possibly even affecting the act of hyperlinking articles, causing significant drops in audience reach of news posts.
A quick summary of the article 13 include demands made to “internet society service providers” such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Google to utilize content recognition tools to “prevent the availability” of copyrighted content from appearing online in the form of plagiarism and other forms of copyright violations. After a planned debate between the EU politicians today, both articles had its legitimacy acknowledged and endorsed by the European Union, much to the displeasure of all free thinkers around the world. If these laws come to affect, it would render all internet meme remixers out of their existence, the meme is a very powerful medium often directed at communicating complex political concepts at younger people.
The Creative Commons official twitter page fired back at EU’s decision to adopt article 11 and article 13, calling it:
“ – a dark day for the open web, but the fight will continue in the upcoming plenary vote in the European Parliament. #SaveYourInternet #SaveTheLink #FixCopyright”
Contact European Parliment members to voice your protest via this petition here
Don’t lose hope just yet.
The European Parliament Committees’ decision today does not immediately put this copyright reform into action in the legal form, however. The controversial article laws would be effective in further solidifying the EU’s stance on the distribution of copyrighted content around the globe, holding massive sway in potential future actions addressing this issue.
“Article 13 has been adopted by European Parliament legal committee with a 15:10 majority. Again: We will take this fight to plenary and still hope to #SaveYourInternet” – Julia Reda, MEP for the European Pirate Party called for continuous resistance after the articles were passed.
The people of Europe won’t give up their freedom to expressive themselves on the internet without a fight. The gun is on the table.