Article from Reason by Scott Shackford.

Despite many, many warnings from technology companies and scholars that they were going to wreck the internet, European Union lawmakers have passed a host of new regulations greatly expanding online copyright enforcement demands.

Last week the European Parliament approved a heavily amendedversion of the European Copyright Directive by a vote of 438 to 226. Tech companies and digital activists have been warning all summer that this will demolish online sharing in order to serve the financial interests of entertainment and media companies.

Two parts of the bill, Articles 11 and 13, have drawn the most fire. Article 11 has been derisively described as a “link tax.” It would give media outlets the power to demand licenses (and therefore charge fees) for sharing even small snippets of content from news stories, even just preview images or a couple of sentences. Scholars have warned that this could have a devastating effect on information sharing in education and science, and on sites like Wikipedia. This section has been amended to allow for hyperlinks to other pages, but Cory Doctorow notes that the law is still vague about what constitutes a link. In Germany and Spain, which passed similar laws, simply linking to news stories was forbidden without paying the licensing fee. (The laws also completely failed to help media outlets make money. Indeed, they lost even more readers)

But most of the attention is on Article 13, which forces online platforms to create an automated database-centered system of content filtering to try to block copyrighted content from being uploaded to the internet. Many countries (including the United States) have laws that can be used to compel online platforms to take down copyrighted content. This is different. Article 13 demands that platforms must implement technology that prevents copyrighted material from being uploaded in the first place.

Read the entire article at Reason.

Image Credit: By Edi Wibowo [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons