The controversial copyright directive which critics say could change the internet as we know it has been given the final go-ahead by the European Parliament after 349 MEPs voted in favour of the directive, defeating the 278 MEPs who opposed it.
The directive has attracted a lot of debate, with musicians and creators saying that the new rules will compensate artists fairly – but with others saying that they will destroy user-generated content once and for all.
The two clauses which caused the most controversy are known as Article 11 and Article 13; wherein the former states that search engines and news aggregate platforms should pay to use links from news websites – something of a “link-tax” as it’s been called by some – and where the latter article holds larger technology companies responsible for material posted without a copyright licence, meaning that the companies would have to apply filters to content before it is uploaded.
Article 13 does not include cloud storage services and there are already existing exemptions, including content made as a parody. Furthermore, the European Parliament said that memes would be “specifically excluded” from the Directive, although it is unclear how tech firms would be able to enforce the exemption of memes and parody content if a blanket filter is to be implemented.
349 MEPs voted in favour of the directive while 278 voted against. Amendments to the directives which sought to alleviate the effects of the two controversial articles failed by a margin of just five votes.
Malta’s most famous Youtuber, who goes by the handle Dr. Grandayy, lamented that it was a “sad day for internet freedom in Europe”; a conclusion which has attracted over 15,000 likes on Twitter.
PN MEPs Roberta Metsola and David Casa both voted against the directive, with Metsola stating; “I cannot support it because I believe it will fundamentally change will use the internet, it was a tough decision, but this is what we are here for, to take tough decisions.”
PN MEP Francis Zammit Dimech and PL MEP Miriam Dalli meanwhile both voted in favour of the directive.
Julia Reda, an MEP from Germany’s Pirate Party who has been a prominent speaker against this directive, also tweeted in reaction to the vote, describing its passing as “a dark day for internet freedom”.
Original article found on The Malta Independent