EU’s Mandatory Copyright Filter Plan Dead?

Axel Voss’s kack-handed attempt to sacrifice free speech, competition, the EU tech sector, and privacy to eke out some marginal gains for special interest groups has been a catastrophe, and it’s all on him.

In the spring, Axel Voss, a German MEP, took over the drafting of the EU Copyright Directive, and revived the no-compromise versions of Article 13 (mandatory copyright filters for online services) and Article 11 (letting news sites decide who can link to them and charging for the privilege), throwing out years of negotiations in order to give the record industry and aristocratic German newspaper families a huge legislative favour.

This kicked off massive public anger, with more than four million Europeans writing to the Parliament to ask for this to be reversed; it also mobilized some of the top technical experts, copyright scholars, investigative journalists, and many others speaking out against it.

Faced with both popular anger and corporate backers who had massively overplayed their hands, the EU Presidency threw in the towel, announced that there was no basis for negotiations, and canceled Monday’s trilogue.

This stands a very high likelihood of killing off Articles 11 and 13 for good. As noted above, without a miraculous last-minute reprieve, the trilogue will almost certainly not reconvene until after the elections, and after Brexit, and that’s going to be a very different world.

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