In a major triumph for free speech over digital censorship, MEPs voted today to REJECT fast tracking the EU Copyright Directive, which contains the controversial Article 13.
The odds were steep, but thanks to campaigners, MEPs got the message that automated “upload filters” would be a catastrophe for free expression online.
It could have resulted in text, music and videos posted to blogs, social networks and comment sections being yanked from the net at point of upload – somewhat like YouTube’s controversial Content ID system on steroids.
In the final days, support for Article 13 collapsed, as pressure from internet users convinced MEPs that they needed a rethink.
Today’s victory is a rude awakening to industry lobbyists who expected Article 13 to pass quietly under the radar. We can expect a fierce battle in the coming months as the Copyright Directive returns to the EU Parliament for further debate.
Today’s vote preserves our ability to speak, create, and express ourselves freely on the Internet platforms we use everyday. Instead of rolling over and putting computers in charge of policing what we say and do, we’ve bought ourselves some time to foster public debate about the wisdom, or lack thereof, behind automated censorship.
Julia Reda, a Pirate Party MEP who had campaigned against the legislation tweeted : “Great success: Your protests have worked! The European Parliament has sent the copyright law back to the drawing board.”
Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales told the BBC he hoped that the music industry could find a way to compromise before the September debate.
“Don’t think about filtering everything everyone uploads to the internet. That’s a pipe dream but you are never going to get that,” he said.
Instead, he added, they should look to renegotiating deals with platforms such as YouTube to get “fairer remuneration”.
Today’s battle is won but the filter wars against free speech continue. We need to be on guard, because the proposal is not dead yet. We will be fighting it again in September.
Disclaimer: The content of this post reflects the views of the author, and not necessarily those of MBGA News.
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