EU Parliament votes against starting negotiations on EU copyright directive

Yolanda Curtis
July 7, 2018

The European parliament's rules state that if at least 10% of MEPs object to opening negotiations with the Council based on the text voted in committee, a plenary vote will be held.

It took an uncommon show of political manoeuvering for the copyright file to land on Thursday's voting agenda at all.

The parliament said the U.S. should be given until 1 September to fix the issues. But several dozen MEPs drew on the rarely-used Parliament rule number 69c to challenge the committee decision.

The MEPs also criticised the commission and its U.S. counterparts for failing to take action sooner, pointing out that the EU's data protection watchdogs (formerly known as the Article 29 Working Party or WP29) had raised concerns about the deal's status six months ago.

Italy Wikipedia blacked out its content earlier this week to protest the changes. But a quick agreement between the three institutions after that seems far off.

He went on: "The legal services of the European Union institutions and specialised agencies in the European Union have given evidence to support the compliance and necessity of the rules proposed by the text, yet unfortunately manipulative campaigns orchestrated by tech giants based on scaremongering prevailed on this occasion".

But Wikipedia chief Jimmy Wales and Greens MEP Julia Reda, a leading campaigner on the issue, insist that it will. But even after they vote, they vowed to fight on.

Gesac (the European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers), which represents 31 collection societies, says the defeat marks a "missed opportunity to fix the current unfairness in the digital market once and for all".

At the heart of the intense battle today were Articles 11 and 13.

The bill includes giving publishers direct control over the use of their content by internet platforms including much stricter guidelines requiring sites like YouTube and Facebook to police user-generated content to prevent the unauthorised postings of copyrighted content. "The first, Article 11, was a "link tax" that would force online platforms like Facebook and Google to pay news organizations before linking to their stories; while the second, Article 13, proposed an "upload filter" that would have required all content uploaded online to be checked for copyright infringement", the report said.

Mozilla, which campaigned heavily against the proposal, said the result was great news for Europe's citizens.

Musician Sir Paul McCartney has urged MEPs to vote for the proposals in an open letter, saying that "we need an internet that is fair and sustainable for all".

Precisely. And the Wikipedia community is not so narrow minded as to let the rest of the Internet suffer just because we are big enough that they try to throw us a bone. The upcoming vote will involve a broader group of parliamentary members.

There is significant opposition to the reforms and the vote is expected to be a close-run affair.

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