Digital Rights Advocates Slam Latest Version of Article 11 and Article 13

After the passage of Europe’s article 11 and article 13, digital rights advocates have slammed the directive, saying it is the worst version yet.

For most European’s, the copyright directive is a looming copyright disaster. Earlier this week, it was speculated that the legislation would be finalized after Germany caved to France. Those speculations became reality when yesterday, the copyright nightmare passed the “Trilogue” stage.

With citizens looking on in horror and European businesses seeing their business lives flashing before their eyes, the reaction from digital rights advocates is quite predictable.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) slammed the legislation, not only denouncing it, but saying that it is “the worst one yet”. The organization points out that the laws kill protections afforded to artists and scientists. Those protections have been gutted and, according to the organization, hands unchecked power to the multinational corporate interests.

They also discussed how it could kill small businesses in Europe who hope to be the next YouTube or Facebook with requirements to institute ineffective and excessively expensive censorship machines. As a result, only the largest platforms can survive in the environment. On top of that, it curbs free speech by killing satire, commentary, and educational exceptions because the censorship machines have no capability of distinguishing legal use from infringement.

The addition of the link tax also means European’s won’t be able to take advantage of news aggregators. This key component in a modern internet would ultimately be off limits, causing European news organizations to operate at a severe disadvantage to their international counterparts. What’s more is that citizens would lose access to those aggregators which would otherwise help them find the news that they are interested in.

The organization offered further commentary on the matter:

Now that the Directive has emerged from the Trilogue, it will head to the European Parliament for a vote for the whole body, either during the March 25-28 session or the April 15-18 session—with elections scheduled in May.

These elections are critical: the Members of the European Parliament are going to be fighting an election right after voting on this Directive, which is already the most unpopular legislative effort in European history, and that’s before the public gets wind of these latest changes.

Let’s get real: no EU political party will be able to campaign for votes on the strength of passing the Copyright Directive—but plenty of parties will be able to drum up support to throw out the parties that defied the will of voters and risked the destruction of the Internet as we know it to pour a few million Euros into the coffers of media companies and newspaper proprietors—after those companies told them not to.

After that, the organization encouraged European’s to participate in the political process to try and put a stop to this law before it destroys the European Internet. Among the things is to sign the petition. As of this writing, more than 4.7 million European’s have signed that petition. They also encouraged European’s to utilize the tools available to them to put pressure on lawmakers to stop this law dead in its tracks.

With the future of a free and open Internet at stake, activists are going to leave nothing to chance. It’s likely more campaigns are going to take place in the lead up to the March vote. If lobbyists are still able to see the passage of the law, then those efforts will likely continue into April as well. Anything to save free speech on the Internet, really. Things only stand to heat up from here.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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