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European Parliament approves unpopular Link Tax and mandatory content filtering in its final vote on the Copyright Directive

Despite massive public outcry and opposition from dozens of experts and academics the European Parliament failed to even allow a vote on amendments

March 26, 2019 — Today the European Parliament held the final vote on the controversial EU Copyright Directive, which has been one of the most unpopular pieces of legislation in European history. The final vote approved Articles 11 (Link Tax) and 13 (mandatory content filtering) of the Copyright Directive, in a vote of 348 to 274.

Article 11, also known as the Link Tax, will copyright the snippets of text that usually accompany links – often used as previews to help Internet users find content online. Article 13 introduces mandatory content filtering requirements, which will require platforms to proactively filter content before it is posted online – effectively turning online platforms into the copyright police. These proposals have seen widespread opposition due to their vast potential to meddle with the open nature of the Internet and entrench some of the largest online players, while failing to help compensate smaller and independent creators.

“Today’s vote is a major blow to the open Internet. This Directive positions the Internet as a tool for corporations and profits – not for people,” said OpenMedia Executive Director Laura Tribe. “By approving Articles 11 and 13, the EU Parliament not only rubber stamped bad legislation, but also ignored the voices of millions of its own concerned constituents. The EU Parliament has sided with lobbyists, and ignored the needs of creators and Internet users. This Directive only further entrenches the largest platforms – the only ones with the resources to actually comply to these dramatic regulations. The ramifications of this decision will be felt for years to come.”

Unless member states vote against the Directive at the European Council, the rollout of the Directive is now in the hands of the individual member states. Each country now has until 2021 to adopt the Directive.

Over 5 million Europeans signed a petition against Article 13, resulting in the largest petition in European history at: https://www.change.org/p/european-parliament-stop-the-censorship-machinery-save-the-internet.

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