Wikipedia blacked out in parts of Europe this week to protest against the copyright reforms that the European Parliament was due to vote on as part of the #SaveYourInternet campaign. This can be counted a success as a majority of MEPs voted for further scrutiny and debate of the proposals.
MEP (Member of the European Parliament) Julia Reda tweeted the result:
As we reported last month, see Why Article 13 Must Be Stopped, if the proposed copyright reforms go ahead - and at the moment they are only halted and will be back before another plenary session of the European Parliament (EP) in September - they will have drastic consequences.
The Save Your Internet website, which is led by some MEPs including Julia Reda, which has been urging European citizens to lobby their representatives in the EP uses this infographic to summarize what is at stake from Article 13 - the clause in the legislation which asks for Upload Filters on sites that accept uploads from users that would scan content to block content subject to copyright or levy royalties for it.
On BBC Radio 4 this morning (July 5, 2018), Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said:
"One of my biggest concerns with the mandated upload filters is it would just be entrenching the power of Google and Facebook who already have the technical capacity to do this sort of thing, and smaller players, start-ups, all the other platforms people are using, are gonna be a bit shut out."
One prominent campaigner for the reforms is Sir Paul McCartney who wrote a letter to MEPs yesterday, urging them to support the bill on the grounds that the current situation:
"jeopardizes the music ecosystem".
In the opposing camp Sir Tim Berners-Lee voiced the opinion that while it was only right that copyright holders should receive fair royalties the proposed rules threatened Internet freedoms.
The so called "link-tax" (Article 11) would also prevent online content-sharing platforms and news aggregators sharing links without paying for them. As the current draft stands this would be an inalienable right, i.e. one that cannot be waived by the publishers even when they choose to do so.
The Save Your Internet petition gathered over 700,000 signatures and it is now planning the next stage of its campaign against Article 13.
Today's update on its site says:
We have a 1st win! On 5 July, the European Parliament plenary voted against the mandate to start negotiations with Council. However, the battle to defeat the Article 13 Censorship Machine is far from over: it must now be won in the European Parliament plenary in September. The site will be rethought and rebuilt to support you in facing the next stage of the battle. This is not over and your efforts will continue to lead to a balanced & positive outcome!