The European Parliament is debating plans that would force websites to pre-censor everything we upload to the Internet for copyright violations. This will harm everyone's free speech and privacy. On the morning of Thurday 8th June, a critical Committee of the European Parliament will vote on the proposal. Email your MEPs now to have your say!

What’s the proposal?

Under the European Commission's plans, online platforms would be forced to run automated scans on every image, piece of text, video or audio you upload before publication to make sure it doesn’t infringe copyright [1].

Companies like YouTube would check everything you upload against a database of copyright works - a massive violation of privacy in order to create a censorship regime [2]. This is even worse than how YouTube currently runs some (flawed) copyright checks after a video has been published [3].

To make matters worse, MEPs on the IMCO committee in the European Parliament will vote on amendments that would make the proposals apply to very small websites, not just the biggest ones. They would force small sites to install expensive technology to filter every piece of content that users upload.

What's the harm?

This would give rightsholders the right to block people from sharing parodies, campaign videos, TV clips, memes, mashups – even just uploading a profile picture! Even where it’s legal to re-use copyright content, the algorithm will pick it up and could prevent it from being uploaded.

We need to stop this censorious, privacy-invading, anti-innovation proposal. Users of social media, photo, music and video sharing sites would all be hit hard.

What can we do about it?

Now and in the next few weeks, MEPs in various committees are discussing how to adapt the Commission's proposals. Some MEPs have proposed amendments that would improve the proposals for ordinary Internet users [4]. If we all put pressure on other MEPs to support those amendments, we can put a stop to these plans.

What about Brexit?

We have to nip this in the bud now. The UK is likely to put existing European copyright law into British law after Brexit. Even if that doesn't happen, rightsholders will push hard to make sure the UK follows the EU's lead if this passes.

Links

[1] Communia/EDRi – Mandatory upload filters create a censorship machine
[2] EDRi – Deconstructing the Article 13 of the Copyright proposal of the European Commission
[3] EFF – YouTube's Content ID (C)ensorship Problem Illustrated
[4] Copyright for Creativity – IMCO Opinion on Copyright in the Digital Single Market

Image Delete by Cari McGee shared under a CC BY-ND license