The European JURI committee has approved new rules that could stifle creativity online and make European businesses less competitive, stakeholders have warned.
Under the new rules, websites must check all content against a database of copyrighted work, and remove any flagged pieces.
The legislation has already been widely criticised - including by those it is supposed to benefit - for making it more difficult to reach the intended audience, stifling creativity and being incompatible with existing EU laws, like the E-Commerce Directive.
Smaller websites are also likely to find it difficult to maintain such a complicated infrastructure for scanning all new content, which could curtail or prevent them from operating all together.
Article 13 takes an unprecedented step towards the transformation of the Internet from an open platform...into a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users
Internet experts have roundly slammed the proposal. An open letter from the Civil Liberties Union for Europe states, "Article 13 of the proposal on Copyright in the Digital Single Market include obligations on internet companies that would be impossible to respect without the imposition of excessive restrictions on citizens' fundamental rights…
"Article 13 appears to provoke such legal uncertainty that online services will have no other option than to monitor, filter and block EU citizens' communications if they are to have any chance of staying in business."
The EU's proposed Article 13 could put an end to memes. Is this the Internet we want? Learn more: https://t.co/8dVUzwDDBT— OpenMedia (@OpenMediaOrg) June 15, 2018
And CONTACT YOUR MEPs NOW to #SaveYourInternet: https://t.co/LOgemo8Bh4 #fixcopyright pic.twitter.com/FlrJ1qmWyM
Another letter, co-signed by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, among others, says:
"By requiring Internet platforms to perform automatic filtering all of the content that their users upload, Article 13 takes an unprecedented step towards the transformation of the Internet from an open platform for sharing and innovation, into a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users."
Article 11, meanwhile, applies to text - including short snippets like those that Google shows in search results. Under the new rules, companies like Twitter, Facebook and Google would need to get permission and possibly pay to use these previews.
Campaigners are urging the European Parliament to reject the proposal, which will not go into effect if MEPs vote against it.
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