Tech & Rights

​EP Votes Against Copyright Reform With Built-in Censorship Machine

Members of the European Parliament rejected the Copyright Directive proposal in its current form, leaving time until September to find a free speech-friendly solution instead of the proposed upload filtering.

by György Folk

A large majority of parliamentarians refused to rubber-stamp the plans for upload filtering today during the European Parliament's plenary vote in Strasbourg on the Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive. A total of 318 MEPs voted against it, while 278 voted in favor of giving a mandate to start negotiations with the member states in the Council based on the draft directive approved by the Legal Affairs Committee on 20 June.

Why this matters to you, the internet user

As a result, the EP’s position will now be open for amendments and debate until the next plenary session, in September 2018. Liberties warmly welcomes the decision, which now allows Article 13 of the Directive, which works directly against freedom of speech and data protection in order to regulate copyright, to be amended.

We campaigned since autumn of last year against Article 13, first in an open letter, and later in our successful model email campaign, which resulted in over 42.000 concerned citizens sending our email to MEPs.

Thursday’s vote gives the EP a chance to incorporate into its proposal the interests of "regular" users and not only the interests of big copyright holders such record companies and film studios.

"Now we have a window of opportunity to convince European decision makers that human rights and copyright can be protected simultaneously. Europe must find a better solution to protect copyright without scarifying human rights. We need safeguards to protect free speech and privacy while regulating copyright. We are happy that MEPs took the human rights concerns seriously," commented Eva Simon, Liberties free speech advocacy expert, after the plenary vote.

The loudest voice against Article 13 in the EP, Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda, tweeted after the vote: "Great success: Your protests have worked! The European Parliament has sent the copyright law back to the drawing board."

What comes next?

After today’s plenary vote, the EP may vote as early as 10-13 September on a new negotiating mandate. Only after the mandate is approved will negotiations take place between the EP and Council. For the latter, there is no timeframe, but EU institutions are keen to agree on directives ahead of the 2019 European elections.

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