EU politicians reject controversial copyright reforms, ‘link tax’

The European Parliament has voted against the controversial Copyright Directive.


European Parliament/Flickr

The EU Parliament voted to reject an overhaul of EU copyright rules Thursday morning, sending the reforms back to planning.

Of the lawmakers who voted on the Copyright Directive, 318 voted against the changes in their current form and 278 voted in favor, with 31 choosing to abstain.

The reforms included two aspects that critics didn’t appreciate. Article 11 — slammed as a “link tax” — could have made internet content aggregators pay publishers for sharing links, while Article 13 would have made platforms liable for users’ copyright infringements by users. This may have limited your use of memes and GIFs.

The reforms will be debated again in September, after the changes are refined by policy makers.

“Great success: Your protests have worked! The European Parliament has sent the copyright law back to the drawing board,” European Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda tweeted after the vote.

“All MEPs will get to vote on #uploadfilters and the #linktax September 10–13. Now let’s keep up the pressure to make sure we #SaveYourInternet!”

On Wednesday, Wikipedia shut down in Spain, Italy and Poland to protest the reforms, but access was restored Thursday. The company’s founder, Jimmy Wales, is among those criticizing the changes.

Those in favor of the directive include European broadcasters, publishers and artists like Paul McCartney, who say it would level the playing field for content holders, Reuters notes.

Neither Wikipedia nor McCartney immediately responded to a request for comment.

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