A tough day for Europe: European Parliament approves controversial copyright reform

Today, the highly criticised Copyright Directive has been voted by the European Parliament, with 348 MEs in favour and 274 against the reform. The reform includes the controversial articles 11 and 13 which introduce the so called “link tax” and an obligation for online platforms to filter uploaded content.

European citizens’ efforts to persuade the MEPs to vote against the reform and re-consider the negative consequences of the controversial articles have been unsuccessful. The European DIGITAL SME Alliance deeply regrets that the voices of million Europeans and SMEs have not been heard.

DIGITAL SME President, Dr. Oliver Grün commented the decision by the EU Parliament: ‘Today’s vote is a blow to the free Internet and the European idea. In recent weeks, many initiatives supported by business, civil society and individuals have come together to warn against censorship of the Internet through upload filters. After several public letters, expert interviews and most recently Europe-wide demonstrations, where almost 200,000 people took to the streets in Germany alone, the EU parliamentarians still decided against the voice of Europeans. Instead, they agreed on the Reform that will severely affect SMEs and start-ups.  The narrow SME exception will force most platforms, including small ones, to comply with the same rules as tech giants.’

The last step following this European Parliament vote is in the hands of the Member States that will have a final vote at the EU Council meeting on the 9th of April, although at this stage a U-turn is highly unlikely.

 

Read our previous analysis on the topic: