European Politicians Begin Having Second Thoughts on Article 13 Support

It seems that opponents of the upload filter are beginning to make political inroads. Politicians are reportedly thinking twice about supporting the directive.

Late last week the petition to stop article 13 rose past 5 million signatures. This major milestone was achieved weeks after it became the single most popular petition ever.

Yesterday, we brought you news of how the March 23 day of action protests turned out. It seems people hit the streets in droves as protests all over Europe broke out. Whole highways shut down as protesters streamed through the streets. Entire squares filled with people. Chants are heard everywhere. Everyone with one united goal: to put a stop to the copyright directive.

One question is whether or not such seemingly unprecedented action will have any political impact. After all, it is the political realm where laws are passed in the first place. One report is surfacing that some politicians who previously supported the law are now beginning to have second thoughts. From the EFF:

With only days to go before the final EU debate and vote on the new Copyright Directive (we’re told the debate will be at 0900h CET on Tuesday, 27 March, and the vote will happen at 1200h CET), things could not be more urgent and fraught. That’s why today’s announcement by Poland’s Platformy Obywatelska—the second-largest party in the European People’s Party (EPP) bloc—is so important.

Platformy Obywatelska has said that it will vote to block the entire Copyright Directive unless Article 13—a ground-breakingly terrible Internet law that will lead to widespread filtering of all Europeans’ Internet speech, images, and videos—is stricken from the final draft.

EPP, a coalition of European national political parties, is the key backer of Article 13 and the largest party in the European Parliament. Without its support, Article 13 is very unlikely to make it through the final vote.

The EPP is deeply split on the issue. EPP parties from Luxembourg, Sweden and the Czech Republic all oppose the measure, so Poland is in good company.

At this stage, the outcome of this next vote is uncertain. Still, it seems free speech supporters have the momentum. With the people of Europe already expressing their very vocal opposition towards the directive, things will now focus more and more on the political realm in the final lead up to the vote. At this point in time, there is already a campaign to have MEPs make a pledge to vote down the directive.

For it’s part, Pledge2019 says that they have already received the support of 126 MEPs. Currently, their goal is to reach 150 MEP’s. So, they are already getting close to their current goal. Free speech supporters are no doubt urging fellow citizens to find out if their representative supports free speech through this directive. If not, then they are likely hoping that those people tell their representative to take the pledge or give an indication as to whether or not they support free speech.

With the vote happening on the 27th, time is definitely running out.

One final note is that if the copyright directive still passes in spite of the unprecedented protests, there is still one last vote coming up next month. So, while it is not yet do or die time, we aren’t that far off at this point. The sooner advocates kill this legislation off, the better.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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