This week the draft EU Copyright directive reaches a crucial stage with the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament voting on its content; we should be alarmed, because as it stands this law will break the internet as we know it, and will remain our law, when we leave the EU. Two articles are especially bad:
Article 11 will require anyone using snippets of journalistic online content to first get a (usually paid for) license from the publisher. While this law is aimed at new media organisations, such as Google and Facebook, it will hit media monitoring groups, fact checkers and crucially ordinary bloggers. Effectively, it will act as a tax on links, which are, of course, the very essence of the internet.
Article 13 will require internet platforms to take measures, such as the use of ‘effective content recognition technologies’, to prevent copyright infringement. This will hit freedom of expression, undermining legal use, such as parodies and memes. It will also hit community projects, such as Wikipedia and code hosting sites which carry open source software. The necessary surveillance software is likely to overreact blocking perfectly legal new content.
The freedom of the internet matters to us all; we must defend it.