by Aaron Kesel, Activist Post:
After a short delay, European Union lawmakers are continuing their journey to censor the Internet and have agreed on changes to the text of Articles 11,12 and 13, The Independent reported. Meanwhile, Anonymous and Pirates are planning on-the-ground and online actions against the proposed Copyright Directives.
Germany and France agreed on a horrendous “compromise” version of Article 13 following heated debated, which claims to protect small businesses. However, in the fine print of the law, it almost protects no website as Julia Reda points out.
To qualify for protection, the website in question has to meet the following criteria:
- Less than 3 years old
- Have less than €10 million ($11 million USD) in revenue
- Have less than 5 million unique visits per month
The new pieces of legislation will be put before MEPs, who will decide on the controversial copyright rules at a later to-be-announced date.
Activists and corporations alike claim the new rules – particularly Article 11 and Article 13 – will forever change central parts of the Internet.
Google and its subsidiary YouTube, as well as Wikipedia and many others, have argued that the new rules could prevent Web users from being able to search and share content as freely as current laws allow.
Julia Reda, a German MEP of Pirate Parties International and prominent opponent to the reforms, expressed outrage:
Dirty deal between France and Germany prevails, for now: Council ready to continue negotiations on the worst version of Article 13 yet, next stop negotiations with Parliament. Call your MEPs now!
Dirty deal between France and Germany prevails, for now: Council ready to continue negotiations on the worst version of #Article13 yet, next stop negotiations with Parliament. Call your MEPs now! https://t.co/tMqBgPkVz7 #SaveYourInternet #uploadfilters pic.twitter.com/u7n07CDeLC
— Julia Reda (@Senficon) 8 February 2019
As Activist Post previously reported, Article 13 is designed to make website owners responsible for the content that users post on their websites, effectively forcing website owners to move behind an upload filter to protect themselves against huge claims by copyright owners and agencies that work on their behalfs like the MPAA and RIAA. Article 11 is an even worse concept. That has been dubbed the “link tax” article; if passed, linking to any copyrighted material is taxed upon.
Imagine wanting to link to a news article because you want to have a free discussion about it? Under the law, you the user may now need to pay to link the article of copyrighted material — absolute insanity!
This is something that “will destroy our internet, And we cannot accept it. So we are fighting back. Activists, hacktivists and pirates are now uniting under the banner of StopACTA2,” Anonymous Bites Back writes.
Anonymous Bites Back further expresses that the radio show hosted by Anons is in “full support of the (street) protests against these Orwellian moves to censor the internet. We have had several episodes about this subject already, and we plan to join the protesters on the street and broadcast live to our network.”
So what has changed since then? Not much. However, it may be good news that Italy is now on our side and has denounced the Articles, telling the rest of the EU to drop Articles 11 And 13 from the Copyright Directive to protect Internet users.
“The priority for Italy is the elimination of the link tax and direct or indirect filters on the content uploaded by the users of the platforms, together with an extension of the exceptions to copyright allowing the development of the data economy. Under these conditions, Italy is ready to adhere to a proposal that should come from the Romanian Presidency,” Luigi Di Maio, Minister of Economic Development said.
“We are calling for change at the European level – concludes the Minister – of the famous articles 11 and article 13 of the directive. The network must be kept free and neutral because it is a fundamental infrastructure for the free expression of citizens as well as for the Italian system and for the European Union itself “.
This means that unofficially the countries that opposed the directive as it was were: Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Slovakia, Sweden, and Malta. Slovenia chose to abstain, Poland In, reported. That leaves 20 countries, or 19 if Brexit goes through, to decide the fate of the Internet and freedom of information.
Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda notes that users will be responsible and liable for any copyright infringements they make on Internet platforms.