On 20-21 June, the lead Committee in the European Parliament (EP), the Legal Affairs Committee, will vote on its Report on Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive. This vote is crucial to ensure that in the near future we will be able to enjoy the Internet, as we know and use it today. In order to save your Internet we need to convince the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) before 20 June to delete the Article 13 censorship machine in this copyright Directive. That’s why you need to act now: email, call or tweet using our tools to your national MEPs, to convince them to push back against Article 13 and to call on them to encourage their colleagues to join the fight.
We’ll briefly set out below what’s at stake if we fail to stop Article 13, what the state of play is in terms of the procedure, and why we believe that your voice can have a real impact.
What’s at stake if we fail to stop Article 13
In short: Article 13 will impose widespread censorship of all the content you share online, be it a parody video, a remix, a meme, a blog post, comments on Reddit, a piece of code, livestreaming your gaming experience, or even a link in a tweet. As Techdirt put it: Forget The GDPR, The EU's New Copyright Proposal Will Be A Complete And Utter Disaster For The Internet
Background: In September 2016, the European Commission (EC) introduced in this Directive a proposal, Article 13, which would require all Internet platforms to filter all user-uploaded content in order to detect possible copyright infringements. In doing so, the EC has tried to please some major rightholders, especially from the music industry. However, this requirement would not be limited to music or videos being uploaded, but would cover all types of content that you can imagine and impact all the services that you use to share content. This filtering will prevent your content from ever being available, which will effectively create a censorship machine allowing big companies to control what we see and do online. Your digital rights and freedom of expression online are thus under threat.
What’s the state-of-play
In short: The EU countries, with some exceptions (not that many, but it’s still important as that means they can still put up a fight later), agreed to support a version of Article 13 that is far worse than the EC’s original proposal. In parallel, the discussions taking place in the European Parliament ahead of the 20-21 June vote are also heading in the wrong direction. That’s why we need you to urgently reach out to MEPs to ensure that we stop this censorship madness before it’s too late. Basically: the European Parliament is the only place at this stage where common sense can still be made to prevail.
Background – EU Countries: On 25 May, the Ambassadors of the EU countries agreed to support a version of Article 13 that is far worse than the EC’s original proposal. Some EU countries did not fully support the approach taken, namely Belgium, Finland, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands and Slovenia. Now, the EU countries are waiting for the EP to take a position in order to start negotiations between both institutions on a final comprise during trilogues, which should take place in the 2nd half of 2018.
Background – EP: The EP has been debating this file for a long time, and each new compromise proposal of Article 13 that is being put forward by the lead MEP, or Rapporteur, in the JURI Committee, MEP Axel Voss, is creating more and more issues instead of improving it. Although, deleting Article 13 remains the best option, the EP’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) and Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) Committees have adopted Opinions that severely improve the language of Article 13 and ensure that filtering requirement is removed.
How your voice can have an impact
In short: Not all MEPs are supportive of the EP’s direction on Article 13, many others are not even aware of what’s going on because they are not sitting in the key Committees. Therefore, not all is lost yet, and your voice can have a real impact. Reaching out to your national MEPs in your own language, by phone, email or tweet through our tools, can help to get their attention on this issue, and encourage them to push back and delete Article 13 before it’s too late. It is also important that they reach out to their colleagues and convince them to join this fight! With your support we can impact the JURI Committee to improve the EP’s negotiation position ahead of the trilogue discussions with the EU Countries (that’s when the 3 EU institutions sit around the table to get a final deal).
Background: Nearly all MEPs belong to a political groups in the European Parliament, and whilst some of these groups are clearly in favour of the Article 13 censorship machine, namely the EPP and ENF groups, most other political parties are split on this issue, as you can see in the table below. Even if some leading MEPs are resisting the push from the EPP Rapporteur and his group for this censorship machine, unfortunately, they do not always have the full support of the other MEPs from their group. Therefore, your voice can have a real impact. Reaching out to your national MEPs in your own language, by phone, email or tweet using our tools, can help to get their attention on this issue, and encourage them to push back and delete Article 13 before it’s too late. It is also important that they reach out to their colleagues and convince them to join this fight! With your support we can impact the JURI Committee to improve the EP’s negotiation position ahead of the trilogue discussions with the EU Countries (that’s when the 3 EU institutions sit around the table to get a final deal).