Negotiators and representatives of Europe’s national governments have returned from months of closed door meetings without removing, or even improving, the notorious “link tax” and “censorship machine” rules, Articles 11 and 13, and we’ve now arrived at the moment of truth—if the Directive receives enough votes on the 18th, it may be impossible to stop. But if people in member states speak out right now, they can protect the global Internet by convincing their Council representatives to vote no.
The Directive has the same problems it’s had from the start:
Article 11 would create a “link tax” by making platforms pay for linking to news sites where those links include more than a word or two from the story or its headline, essentially allowing newspapers to decide who can link to them—and at costs they decide. Small, independent press outlets could be blocked altogether from linking to established news sources -- even for the purposes of criticism and commentary — or they could be charged much more than their counterparts in the mainstream.
Article 13 may be even worse. It would require online platforms to use algorithmic filters to unilaterally determine whether content anyone uploads, from social media posts to videos, infringes copyright, and would penalise companies that allow the content to stand. There would be no penalty for overblocking and censoring users—and as we’ve seen from previous attempts at online filtering, this would inevitably leading to censorship of massive proportions.
But it’s not too late: the European Council — made up of representatives from EU member states like Sweden — will vote on the Directive on January 18. Their decision will shape the future of the Internet, possibly for generations to come. Tell your government to strike a blow for fairness and against market concentration and censorship. Don’t let the EU sell Big Tech a very cheap ticket to a guarantee of continued Internet dominance.
Remember: supporters of the Directive claim that anyone who opposes it are "bots" -- please customize your letter with who you are, and why you care about Article 13 and 11.