Protests Against Article 13 Being Organized in Germany

The fallout continues with the passage of Article 13. German citizens are preparing to hit the streets to oppose this law.

It has been described as a carpet bombing of the Internet as we know it. Article 13, the infamous proposed laws that would compel platforms to install faulty upload filters was recently passed at the behest of foreign corporate interests.

From the beginning, the laws were widely opposed. This includes civil rights organizations who describe the laws as the censorship machine. They urged citizens to voice their concerns about the rise in online censorship laws.

These concerns about the widening of censorship is shared by a wide spectrum of people. Innovators and Internet founders joined the calls to stop the law by submitting a joint letter opposing the laws. Even the United Nations joined the chorus and said that there are serious ramifications for free speech should these laws pass.

Unfortunately, European lawmakers were not receptive to the will of the European people, expert opinion and civil rights. Instead, they ultimately ignored the calls to put a stop to the censorship in favour of what foreign multinational corporations have been lobbying for.

Of course, the people of Europe aren’t giving up so easily. Protests are being organized in Germany to show lawmakers that people do care about the future of the Internet and free speech. Protests are being planned for Berlin in what is being described as on an emergency basis:

Freedom of speech and free Internet – Stop upload filters, link tax and Internet censorship:
Call for action on Sunday, 24 June

This week the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament voted in favour of a link tax and upload filters. Only the European Parliament which will likely vote in two weeks time can stop the plans.

These measures will break the internet. People will run into trouble doing everyday things like discussing the news and expressing themselves online. Locking down our freedom to participate to serve the special interests of large media companies is unacceptable!

Requiring licenses to spread the news won’t help fund journalism; it will simply shut down the sharing of professional news content and threaten smaller publishers, who most rely on their articles being shared. Automatic filters will not help pay creators, but will mainly end up blocking legitimate and harmless creations like memes and parodies, and kill off European platforms and startups that can’t afford to comply.

We can still overturn this vote, just as mass protests throughout Europe stopped ACTA. Let us take to the streets to preserve a free internet without link taxes and upload filters!

Meeting point: Sunday, 24 June at 11:45 a.m. in front of the European House, Unter den Linden 78, 10117 Berlin. From there we will move on to the Axel-Springer-Haus (Axel Springer being the fiercest lobbyist for upload filters and link taxes).

The urgent demonstration has been notified to the authorities on 20 June by Simon Kowalewski (Chairman of the Pirate Party of Berlin). Any changes to our plans for the protest march will be reported here.

Now, for those who are wondering, the reference to the link tax is in reference to Article 11. Article 11 would compel publishers to charge a fee to link to their content. As everyone knows, linking is a critical piece of Internet infrastructure. The idea that license fees are needed to link would deal a critical blow to journalism, blogging, and free speech in general.

Obviously, if the Internet means something to people, it will only be natural for them to come out and demonstrate. So, it’ll be interesting to see how many will turn out and whether or not the protests will spread further outside of Germany.

(Via EFF)

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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