Copyright vote a victory for ‘freedom of expression’

The European Parliament today voted to reject controversial measures that would tighten copyright laws across the EU and restrict how everyone in Scotland uses the internet.

The Parliament’s refusal to endorse the proposals as they stand will allow further discussion on plans to reform copyright laws, raising the prospect of vital amendments.

Labour MEP for Scotland, Catherine Stihler, has been leading the campaign against the crackdown.

The proposal would place a strict ‘monitoring obligation’ on sites such as Facebook, Google, Twitter and YouTube to sift through uploads by users.

There are fears it will decimate local journalism in Scotland and put more journalists’ jobs at risk through the automatic removal of online links to news articles on copyright grounds, while uploads such as memes, GIFs and music remixes may also be taken down because the copyright does not belong to the uploader.

Concerns about the effect on freedom of expression have been raised by experts ranging from the UN special rapporteur David Kaye to the inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Nearly 1million people have signed a petition against the proposals.

Brexit does not offer a get-out clause as online platforms which operate in any EU member state will comply, and UK MEPs will lose their ability to change the rules.

 

Catherine Stihler said:

“I welcome the decision of the Parliament, which is a significant victory for freedom of expression and everyone in Scotland who uses the internet.

“Further discussion is badly needed on this complicated proposal and now we will have time to do so. We need the chance to amend the proposal to ensure it does not place an additional burden on users or consumers, or create an additional barrier to entry for businesses.

“But UK MEPs will lose their influence next March following Brexit, so the clock is ticking.”

 

WATCH Catherine’s speech:

EU copyright debate

The European Parliament today voted to reject controversial measures that would tighten copyright laws across the EU and restrict how everyone in Scotland uses the internet.The Parliament’s refusal to endorse the proposals as they stand will allow further discussion on plans to reform copyright laws, raising the prospect of vital amendments.Catherine has been leading the campaign against the crackdown. Watch her speech in parliament:

Posted by Catherine Stihler MEP on Thursday, July 5, 2018

 

Petition: https://www.change.org/p/european-parliament-stop-the-censorship-machinery-save-the-internet

 

Text of Catherine’s speech in the European Parliament today:

 

Dear colleagues,

 

I want to thank everyone for the work done on this important file.

 

We are all united in our shared mission to protect artists and cultural diversity in Europe.

 

I speak as the rapporteur in the IMCO committee, which is the only committee to share joint competency on one of the controversial articles, Article 13.

 

In our committee we were able to reach a broad compromise that makes meaningful progress on the “value gap”, while at the same time safeguarding the rights of European internet users, SMEs and start-ups.

 

I deeply regret that the IMCO position has not been taken into account and the JURI text does not achieve the needed balance.

 

There are real concerns about the effect of Article 13 on freedom of expression raised by experts ranging from the UN special rapporteur David Kaye to the inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

 

And there are real concerns voiced by our citizens.

 

Just yesterday I received a petition signed by almost a million people against the JURI mandate.

 

Although there is consensus about the goals behind this law,  huge controversy still exists about the methods proposed.

 

Something’s not right here.

 

We owe it to the experts, stakeholders and citizens to give this directive the full debate necessary to achieve broad support.

 

Dear colleagues, I ask you to refuse to fast-track this law, to allow for a broad, fact-based debate in September.

 

Please reject this mandate and vote against the JURI proposal.