On 12 September 2018, all 751 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) got a chance to shape the European copyright reform with a vote on the:
- Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee’s Report on Copyright in the Digital Single Market; and,
- alternative amendments tabled by several MEPs and Political Groups on thorny issues, such as the dreadful Article 13.
The outcome: 366 MEPs blatantly ignored your calls asking them to #SaveYourInternet, as they adopted the copyright #CensorshipMachine.
The results of the vote are available here (see pp. 34-35 for the roll-call vote on MEP Voss' Article 13 Amendments [156-161]).
What’s been adopted by the EP
Common sense has completely failed, as MEPs have the chosen for the nuclear option: the EPP Group’s version of the #CensorshipMachine. In short, the adopted proposal:
- is not balanced with fundamental rights;
- puts an end to the e-Commerce Directive for a vast array of platforms, and this without a proper Impact Assessment; and,
- makes platforms directly liable for user uploaded content, which implies upload filtering to avoid this liability.
Making platforms directly liable for user uploaded content will trigger them to arbitrarily remove content based on their terms and conditions. Moreover, rightholders do not even have to identify the works that platforms need to take down and user safeguards have been reduced to a paper tiger, which will leave users without any recourse to push back against wrongful blockings. See the CopyBuzz.com analysis on an early draft of the adopted proposal, as well as this handy flowchart by COMMUNIA on it.
This was only one battle to #SaveYourInternet, so what’s next?
The JURI Committee Rapporteur, MEP Axel Voss, has been granted a mandate to start informal negations with the representatives of the EU Member States (Council) and the European Commission (EC), so-called ‘trilogue negotiations’. These negotiations are often considered the black box in the EU policymaking process, because they happen with little to no public accountability behind closed doors, and usually until late at night to broker a deal, without the negotiations documents being publicly available. Therefore, this process is subject to un-transparent horse trading. See our provisional timeline for the next key moments and EDRi's explainer for more details on the remainder of this process. There’s only one takeaway that you need to remember, whatever we have lost during the EP vote, is not set in stone yet and can be turned in something better during the trilogue negotiations. The war against the #CensorshipMachine is thus far from over, and this was just one battle bringing us closer to the finish line. Therefore, we need to keep pressure both on MEPs and national governments to ensure that they find a sensible compromise in the end to #SaveYourInternet.