The European Parliament today voted to introduce sweeping restrictions on how people can use the internet.
Catherine Stihler, vice-chair of the parliament’s consumer protection committee, described the decision as a ‘massive disappointment’ and an ‘attack on consumer rights’.
The Labour MEP for Scotland has been fighting the European Commission’s proposals for two years, helping to secure a full debate in Strasbourg today.
But the plans to reform the EU’s copyright laws have now been adopted in a vote of all MEPs.
The legislation now returns to be negotiated between MEPs and member states in what is called a ‘trilogue’ process, but UK MEPs are running out of time to force a rethink ahead of March’s Brexit deadline.
The most contentious aspect of the directive – known as Article 13 – shifts the burden of responsibility for any copyright infringement to website platforms such as Google, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
It is expected that automatic filtering software will now be introduced, designed to ‘play it safe’ and remove anything that could pose a risk to the online platform – such as memes, GIFs, newspaper clippings and videos including songs or sporting footage.
This summer, a home video showing a seven-year-old son celebrating a Harry Kane goal in the World Cup was removed from the internet, and examples like that are now expected to be commonplace.
Catherine Stihler MEP, vice-chair of the parliament’s consumer protection committee, said:
“This vote is a massive disappointment and an attack on consumer rights.
“Copyright reform is vital so that original work is protected, but this goes so far in the opposite direction that it will impose huge restrictions on internet users.
“There are many legitimate uses of copyright content that filtering technologies are simply not advanced enough to accommodate, and I fear there will now be widespread automatic removal of content.
“I’m proud to have joined with allies from across Europe to fight this, and will continue to do so while I remain an MEP. Brexit does not offer a way out because internet platforms operate on a Europe-wide basis, but it does mean we lose UK voices on vital issues like this.”
Watch Catherine’s speech in the European Parliament by clicking here
Further background here: http://www.ipprotheinternet.com/ipprotheinternetnews/article.php?article_id=6210
Harry Kane video removed: https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/mums-innocent-home-video-son-12743584