Italy’s Opposition Shows Fight to Stop Article 11 and 13 Not Over

There’s been some movement on the Article 11 and Article 13 file. Italy is now voicing opposition to the directives.

The fight over Europe’s Article 11 and Article 13 continues. The Internet killing laws would create a link tax and demand platforms implement an upload filter requiring technology that doesn’t exist. Some even refer to these laws as a ban on meme’s, though it bans far more than simply edited pictures. As a result, the debate over these laws is largely seen as a European fight to save the Internet.

Back in July, European MEP’s wound up voting to save the Internet by rejecting those laws. This after considerable public backlash and pressure including petitions reaching nearly a million signatures, multiple Wikipedia sites shutting down in protest of the laws, and very public demonstrations by European citizens.

The initial laws rejection infuriated major record labels and their political lobbyists. Those who support the laws wound up seeing their efforts to kill the Internet slip through their fingers. In response, the labels doubled down on their lobbying in an effort to “explain” why killing the Internet is vital for Europe’s future prosperity. Of course, those views are by far not universal because a former executive of Universal music went on the record to say that Article 13 would hold the industry back.

In a subsequent vote, European lawmakers passed Article 11 and Article 13 in September, bringing the Internet killing laws closer to fruition. It seems that big corporate lobbying ultimately paid off in the end. The vote means that the laws would be held in secretive “trialogues” which are closed to the public.

Now, the laws are getting increasing pushback from members of the European Union. Recently, Italy expressed opposition to the laws. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is pointing out that Italy could be yet another turning point for the laws because it is joining several other countries to oppose the laws. From EFF:

When the member states vote together as the European Council, a proposal fails if a “blocking minority” oppose it – that’s either 13 member states by number or any number of states that, combined, hold more than 35% of the EU’s population. In May – or so the EU gossip had it, because these votes aren’t made public – Germany, Finland, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Belgium and Hungary all opposed the directive, largely because of Article 13 and 11. With 25% of the EU population between them, their opposition wasn’t enough to vote it down.

Then, this July, Italy publicly switched sides. After Italians rose up to warn their new government about the directive (thank you, Italian Internet users!), the country’s new Deputy Prime Minister publicly voiced his concern about the proposals.

Since then, Italy has been the strongest proponent at the EU of getting rid of the two articles altogether. Italy also holds 11% of the EU population – tipping the total opposition among the states to over 36%.

The EFF goes on to point out that the opposition to the laws are not exactly united. So, it’s not a slam dunk for those who are trying to save the Internet in Europe. Still, it offers a new hope that these laws could be pushed back once again.

With the constant back and forth, this story has certainly brought significant waves of emotion. One day, the Internet looks like it is on the verge of being shut down, the next, it looks like it is being saved. Then, those hopes the Internet has been saved are dashed only to have the tide turn once again with the possibility that these laws could very well be stopped dead in their tracks. With so much back and forth, it shows that anything can happen with this story and we’ll continue to monitor the situation for any new developments.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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