In the years during which the new EU Copyright Directive was being drafted, a variety of proposals were considered and rejected by the EU's own experts, and purged from the draft text, but two of these proposals were reintroduced, slipped back into the Directive on the day the GDPR came into effect, while everyone's attention was elsewhere.
These two proposals were the "link tax" (no linking to news sites without paying for permission) and "censorship machines" (mandatory copyright filters that will block anything appearing in a copyright database from appearing online, and anyone can add anything to the blocklists, with no penalties for abuse.
The man who reintroduced them was German MEP Axel Voss, who succeeded in getting them voted through this week, in a disaster for free expression and the open internet.
But Voss isn't the only unscrupulous lawmaker who knows how to use legislative tricks to slip his corporate friends' wishlists into legislation while attention is elsewhere.
In a shocking interview with the Swedish news site Breakit, Voss revealed that he hadn't realised that the text he voted in favour of contained Article 12a, which bans taking pictures or videos at sports matches even selfies or short clips of fans in the stands or antics on the field.
This is a longstanding priority of corrupt sports leagues like FIFA, one that tens of millions of European sports fans will be outraged by.
Voss says he doesn't know how Article 12a got back into the Directive, but says he'll "fix it."
Emanuel Karlsten, a reporter for Sweden’s Breakit news site, spoke with Voss, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and the EU’s copyright rapporteur, after the vote. Karlsten asked about a last-minute amendment that will bar the filming of sports events. The MEP replied in a recorded conversation, “This was kind of mistake I think by the JURI committee. Someone amended this. No one had been aware of this.”
...But the MEP Voss admitted, “I didn’t know that this was in the proposal so far, so of course I have to deal with it now. I do not consider that the commission and council will have this inside the proposal.” Voss added that “because of the time pressure” and general focus on other, more notable aspects of the law, it’s possible that the measure was insufficiently scrutinized. But he reassured Karlsten that MEPs will be meeting again to go over the law in its entirety. “Of course we have to discuss this,” he said of the provision in question.
The man behind the EU’s copyright law is “surprised” by what’s in the proposal [Ephrat Livni/Quartz]