Creative Commons: next week's EU vote could cost us the internet

In just five days, a key EU vote could visit untold harm on the whole world's internet by subjecting all public communications to algorithmic censorship: the proposed Article 13 of the new Copyright Directive will force sites to build vast databases of known copyrighted works, and then block any user submissions (text, audio, video, code, stills) that seems to match a copyrighted work, and anyone can add anything to the blacklist of unpublishable works, without any proof of copyright and without any regard to fair dealing and other vital protections for free expression.

In an urgent call-to-arms, Creative Commons describes what this will mean for the world's internet and for creators: "on the internet, everyone is a creator, and we want to share knowledge, artistic and political expression, photos and home movies, news, and even code with others in the global commons, on platforms from Wikipedia to YouTube to open access journals to online learning websites. We need progressive policies that support this type of sharing and access if we want to achieve our vision of universal access to research and education and full participation in culture to drive a new era of development, growth, and productivity."

Europeans have FIVE DAYS to visit Save Your Internet, where they can contact their MEPs and ask them to vote against these internet-destroying proposals.

No matter where you live, you need to get in touch with two friends in the EU, right away, and convince them to contact their MEPs. There are European elections coming up fast, and MEPs need to hear that voting to destroy the internet is also a vote to destroy their political careers. No one votes for an MEP because they hope they'll vote in favor of mass internet censorship -- but plenty of people will vote against their MEPs if they do so.

MEPs should vote against Article 13 upload filters, which would scan all content uploaded to online platforms for any copyrighted works and prevent those works from going online if a match is discovered. It will limit freedom of expression, as the required upload filters won’t be able to tell the difference between copyright infringement and permitted uses of copyrighted works under limitations and exceptions. It puts into jeopardy the sharing of video remixes, memes, parody, and code, even works that incorporate openly licensed content.

MEPs should vote against Article 11, the unnecessary and counterproductive press publishers right that would require anyone using snippets of journalistic content to first get a license or pay a fee to the publisher for its use online.

It’s now or never: EU copyright must protect access to knowledge and the commons [Timothy Vollmer/Creative Commons]

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