EU Parliament Rejects Copyright Law Reform That Could Have Destroyed The Internet

Last month the EU tried to overhaul its old copyright law and step into the modern age. The problem was that the law as crafted and supported by many musicians was very overreaching to most. The copyright rules would have placed the responsibility on websites for checking for copyright infringements and forced those websites to pay to link to news stories. Basic linking is what the internet lives on and it is done on literally every website out there.


The controversial regulation has now been defeated in a European parliament in a vote that came down 318-278. The legislation was known as the Copyright Directive and it had two highly contested sections including Articles 11 and 13. Article 11 was meant specifically to add protections to newspapers and other outlets from the likes of Google and Facebook using their materials without paying for it. Opponents dubbed that article a link tax and believed that it would lead to problems with basic linking capability that the internet is built on.

Article 13 put greater responsibility on websites to enforce copyright laws. The problem is that enforcing copyright is very difficult and very expensive. Reports indicate that the system that YouTube uses to search for copyright infringements cost around $60 million. That fancy and highly expensive system still lets copyright infringement happen daily. Article 13, had it passed, would have forced any online platform where text, images, sounds, or code is posted to assess and filter the content as it was uploaded.

The Copyright Directive was fiercely supported by some high-profile musicians including Paul McCartney, Annie Lennox, Placidio Domingo, and David Guetta but that vocal and famous support failed to sway parliament. Parliament decided that there needed to be more debate on the topic and sent it back to the European Commission for that to take place. It appears that debate will take September 10th through 13th.

Tags:  Copyright, Legal, EU