The European Parliament approved this Tuesday in Strasbourg the controversial Copyright Directive and its articles 11 (now 15) and 13 (now 17). The document was adopted with 348 votes in favor and 274 votes against.
The text approved includes the controversial Article 17 (former Article 13), which gives authors the ability to charge for content made available by online platforms such as YouTube, even though the content has been uploaded by users. It also includes Article 15 (formerly Article 11), which will allow media companies to charge for links in aggregators, such as Google News, and on social networks.
Although the directive has been passed, the voice of those who contest it remains the highest of the tens of thousands who took to the streets on the last day against this new law. Is this the end of freedom of expression on the Internet in the European Union or the necessary regulation for the fair compensation of artists and journalists?
Who is against?
Julia Reda, one of the great voices against article 17 (old 13), lamented the result on social networks: "It's a black day for online freedom," he wrote on Twitter, stressing that the decision not to to amend Article 17 passed by only five votes.
Dark day for internet freedom: The @Europarl_EN has rubber-stamped copyright reform including # Article13 and # Article11. MEPs refused to even consider amendments. The results of the final vote: 348 in favor, 274 against #SaveYourInternet pic.twitter.com/8bHaPEEUk3
– Julia Reda (@Senficon) March 26, 2019
In addition to the YouTubers, technology giants like Facebook, Amazon and Apple and Internet 's father Tim Berners-Lee have already expressed strong displeasure at these proposals, arguing that they will hinder the free flow of information, transform businesses technology in content policing and lead to web censorship.
Google also expressed its dismay. "The copyright directive has been improved but will continue to generate legal uncertainty and still affect European creative and digital economies," the company said in a statement, which "is eager to work with policy-makers, publishers, creators and rights holders "to implement the new rules.
– Google Europe (@googleeurope) March 26, 2019
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales also used the platform to challenge, saying users "lost a huge battle today." "Free and free circulation was delivered to large corporations at the expense of people," he continued. "This is not a question of helping artists, it is one of giving more force to monopolistic practices," he said.
You, the Internet user, have lost a huge battle today in Internet parliament. The free and open internet is being handed over to corporate giants at the expense of ordinary people. This is not about helping artists, it's about empowering monopolistic practices.
– Jimmy Wales (@jimmy_wales) March 26, 2019
The "Observer" cites the reaction of D3, the Association of Portuguese Digital Rights. "It is a sad day for the Internet and for Freedom of Expression, a day when powerful and old lobbies have been able to override the voice of citizens, experts and academics, making the European Union's" motto " in the "(scientific) evidence, a mere marketing slogan," they say.
Who's in favor?
In favor of this new law are most of the artists. In July, an open letter was sent to the European Parliament, signed by singers like Paul McCartney and James Blunt who advocate better copyright protection. In this letter, subscribers emphasize the importance and cultural value of music, credited that Article 13 "would protect the ecosystem of the industry and its creators."
Last month, the Ministry of Culture expressed its position on the reform. "Portugal did not oppose the directive," the minister of Culture said in an interview.
On Twitter, Andrus Ansip, vice-president of the European Commission said the directive "is a big step forward." The Commissioner pointed out that the new law is the regulation needed for the digital future and stated that Member States "have tools to transpose the directive" into national law respecting freedom of expression. "
This #copyright vote is a big step ahead. It cuts fragmentation; a key step to completing the #DigitalSingleMarket. For the first time Europe has clear common rules on cultural heritage & text and data mining, essential for future of #THERE#CopyrightDirective pic.twitter.com/ysIMXk6jaF
– Andrus Ansip (@Ansip_EU) March 26, 2019
"Today's vote ensures the right balance between the interests of all parties, ie users, creators, authors, the press, while creating necessary obligations for 'online' platforms," react in Andrus Ansip and the commissioner for the area of the Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel.
Also in favor of the approval of the document is the Portuguese Society of Authors (SPA), which classifies today as "a historic victory".
"This extraordinary victory in defense of authors and culture, for which the SPA is very proud to have contributed, demonstrates the strength of the authors who, when united in the defense of the superior values that should guide us, are an example that everyone must inspire, "reads the statement released today.
What happens now?
For the law to enter into force in the Union, there will now have to be a final vote in the EU Council, where the Member States are represented. The EU countries then have two years to transpose the directive.
The first proposal on the new copyright directive, which aims to adapt the market to the digital age and protect this material on the Internet, was presented in 2016 by the European Commission and, due to the intense controversy it caused, the text has undergone several changes over years.
The approval comes after the interim agreement reached in mid-February this year by negotiators from the EU Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission, as part of the 'trilogue' between these institutions.