The European Union has given its final rubber stamp to approve the controversial Copyright Directive, with 348 in favour of the law and 274 against.
PN MEPs Roberta Metsola and David Casa voted against the bill, while PL MEPs Miriam Dalli , Alfred Sant, Marlene Mizzi, and PN MEP Francis Zammit Dimech voted in favour.
Malta’s resident youtube celebrity, Grandayy, has already taken to twitter to call the change in law “a sad day for internet freedom in Europe.”
The Copyright Directive including Article 13 has just been approved by EU Parliament. A vote for amending and improving it was rejected by a difference of just 5 votes too. Sad day for internet freedom in Europe.
— Dr Grandayy (@grandayy) March 26, 2019
“I cannot support it because I believe it will fundamentally change how we use the internet, it was a tough decision, but this is what we are here for, to take tough decision,” Metsola said in an instagram story.
Several international media houses have reported how a vote on debating amendments – including an amendment to remove Article 13 and the Article 11 ‘link tax’ from the broader copyright legislation – was rejected by just five votes.
Lovin Malta understands that MEP Miriam Dalli would have voted to remove the two controversial articles. It is believed that she did vote in favour of the wider legislation due to the belief that it had an overall positive effect.
The proposals aim to harmonise all of the member states’ copyright laws which were enacted back in 2001, 17 years ago. Back then, of course, few people could foresee what the internet would become, creating the need for updated laws.
Proponents of the legislation argue that the directive will give copyright holders more power over how big internet platforms distribute their content. However, critics say that the law is vague and may actually end up restricting online content and thusly free speech.
With everything that anyone uploads onto the Internet being potentially scanned for copyright (similar to what already happens on platforms like Soundcloud and YouTube), internet natives are scared that content like memes and edited photos that are deemed to have broken copyright law might require them to pay someone to upload their edit.
Tens of thousands of people across all of Europe have protested the directive, with more than five million signing a petition explicitly calling for Article 13, the ‘Upload Filter’, to be removed from the law.
Julia Reda, an MEP from Germany’s Pirate Party, described the passing of the law marked “a dark day for internet freedom.