We have just a week until the European Parliament debates and votes on the new Copyright Directive, including the dreaded censorship machines (every website has to censor anything that appears to be a copyrighted work and link tax (no linking to news articles unless the platform you're using has negotiated a license with the site you're linking to).
This won't just affect Europeans. US sites, uncertain of whether their users are in the EU or are EU citizens, will likely impose these restrictions on many of their users around the world.
But more importantly, there's only one internet, and we all get to use it, and the EU is full of smart, amazing technologists, many of them a lot more sensitive about online harassment, privacy and surveillance than their US counterparts. If the EU sells the US internet giants the right to eliminate all competition (because they can afford to comply with these rules, but no new businesses could do so), then we all lose out on the possibility of a better future internet where the discourse is better, our privacy is protected, and competition is valued.
If you are a European, go to Save Your Internet right now and get a message to your MEP.
But if you're not a European, contact two European friends and get them to get in touch with their lawmakers. With only a week to go, we need everyone pulling to save the internet from the shortsightedness of European politicians looking to score cheap points by extracting a few million from the US tech giants in exchange for permanent internet dominance.
In the same way that California is a global net exporter of lifesaving emissions controls for vehicles, the EU has been a global net exporter of privacy rules, anti-monopoly penalties, and other desperately needed corrections for an Internet that grows more monopolistic, surveillant, and abusive by the day.
Many of the cheerleaders for Articles 11 and 13 talk like these are a black eye for Google and Facebook and other US giants, and it's true that these would result in hundreds of millions in compliance expenditures by Big Tech, but it's money that Big Tech (and only Big Tech) can afford to part with. Europe's much smaller Internet companies need not apply.
It's not just Europeans who lose when the EU sells America's tech giants the right to permanently rule the Internet: it's everyone, because Europe's tech companies, co-operatives, charities, and individual technologists have the potential to make everyone's Internet experience better. The US may have a monopoly on today's Internet, but it doesn't have a monopoly on good ideas about how to improve tomorrow's net.
Why the Whole World Should Be Up in Arms About the EU's Looming Internet Catastrophe [Cory Doctorow/Deeplinks]