Anti-Article 13 Petition Reaches Over 5 Million Signatures

The Copyright Directive and its two controversial measures – Article 11 (the link tax) and Article 13 (copyright filters) – continue to draw rebuke.

Several weeks ago, the Copyright Directive – and the controversial Article 13 measure – cleared a major hurdle in the European Union.

The European Parliament’s Justice Committee voted in favor of France and Germany’s new compromise.  The latest version includes statutes the music industry has long pushed for, including safe harbor reforms and new rights for European songwriters and artists.

The decision means that the European Parliament will now have its final say on the Copyright Directive – and Article 13 – by the end of this month.

Then, over a week ago, in an unprecedented show of support, over 200 copyright groups banded together.

Organizations from across the cultural and creative sectors representing authors, composers, writers, journalists, photographers as well as news agencies, audiovisual producers, book, press, and music publishers in Europe united under one hashtag – #Yes2Copyright.

Publishing an open letter, the coalition called on the European Parliament to adopt the controversial bill.

Yet, not everyone remains as supportive.

Now, critics have also banded together to derail the Copyright Directive its two controversial measures – Article 11 and Article 13.

#SaveTheInternet.

According to the bill’s opponents, the copyright law reform would silence critics and limit self-expression on the internet.

A petition, aptly dubbed Stop the Censorship-Machinery! Save the Internet!, has reached nearly 5.1 million signatures.  This remains just shy of the goal of 6 million.

At first, that may seem like a very impressive number.  Yet, the online petition first launched over 9 months ago.

Supporting staunch critic Julia Reed, MEP of the Pirate Party – a well-known pro-piracy group – Copyright Directive opponents have strict demands for the EU.

First, they want lawmakers to revise EU-wide ancillary copyright law and content recognition technologies.  This includes the much-maligned ‘upload filters,’ which remain in the draft stages.  Supporters of the petition have called for proper revision of these technologies to better deal with “the content and consequences of the digital aspect.”

Second, the petition calls on lawmakers to preserve the internet as well as freedom of information.  What this means exactly remains unknown, both for Copyright Directive opponents as well as those who sign the petition.

Instead, the petition directs users to SavetheInternet.info, an anti-Copyright Directive website.  Here, the site outlines two immediate consequences of passing the controversial law.

  • Dictatorship of error-prone algorithms (i.e., upload filters).
  • Paid links (Article 11).

According to the website, the Copyright Directive – a ‘form of censorship’ – will destroy the cultural norms of the internet.

The blocking of uploads, in combination with faulty algorithms, will result in so-called overblocking lead by the platforms, so that they can avoid legal violations.

“Even the sharing of links can become a massive problem on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and others.

So, to defeat the bill, the site and the online petition have called on users to mobilize.

Contact your representatives!  You can contact them directly to show them your discontent.  E-mails often have a very good effect.  That’s because directly contacted people are often more willing to be convinced.

They’ve also urged people to remain both objective and polite.

Insults and threats only result in rejection.  Stay pragmatic and explain how unpleased you are with the matter, not with the MEP him/herself.