438 in favor, 226 against, with 39 abstentions.
That is the breakdown of voting results that pass Articles 11 and 13.
This is a move that will be followed up by a final vote in the EU Parliament in January 2019. It is then where, if passed, the “Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market” will then go to each nation within the EU and will be tempered to each nation’s laws. Now what’s left is to tell you exactly how cuffed European internet will become.
The last time I spoke on this issue, it was more specifically about Article 13. In my first article for Think Liberty, I have a simplified breakdown of the consequences of voting in Article 13.
Now as I did back then, I’ll reiterate that it’s not a meme ban per se. It’s actually incredibly invasive copyright law. For a quick refresher, Article 13 is a law designed to prevent what’s being called exploitation of copyrighted materials online. This includes music, video, and pictures. This law is now known in an appropriately opposing tone as “The Upload Filter”. Article 13 may require platforms like Facebook and Twitter to essentially scan their users’ posts in order to identify and remove copyrighted materials.
That meme with SpongeBob? (name one, there’s about a hundred), soon to be illegal in Europe. A video clip you want to use for humor or to spread information? Yup, that too. That’s not even the most concerning part of all this.
As if losing all of your rare memes wasn’t awful enough, there’s also Article 11. This, in my opinion, is more immediately destructive to European internet usage as a whole. Article 11 – dubbed “The Link Tax” by its critics – states that news aggregators like Google would need to pay a tax to news outlets for linking to their product.
The current law states that hyperlinks like the ones you’d click on from a friend sharing a link, do not fall under the link tax law. That’s how close to the line we are in that respect.
The EU Articles have their critics and rightly so. This hampers content creators who simply want to share their expressions, and could potentially block off the EU Nations from international content in a similar manner that I – a Canadian – sees with regional blocking of certain sites like MTV, but on a more massive scale.
The question of the implementation of these laws has been raised and it has been stated by critics that the technology doesn’t exist to enforce them.
YouTube tries to monitor copyrighted content on its website and it can’t even manage such a colossal feat. Doing so for the internet in a few nations is going to be extremely difficult.
I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if we start hearing chatter of a VPN ban soon.
You can read more by Malcolm on Think Liberty here.