The European Parliament has passed some extremely controversial laws on Internet copyright. The new European Union Copyright Directive has passed on Tuesday with a 348 to 274 vote. The laws are supposedly intended to ensure some sort of “fair” copyright on the Internet; however, they have been criticized and labeled as overreaching, and overpowered.
Tech companies, consumers, and academics alike have vocalized that these new laws are prohibitive to the benefit of the Internet. The laws were passed as a “softened version” of their original state, which had gone too far.
Companies will now be required to hold licenses for linking to publishers. For example, Google would need a license for each link it has to any external third party’s content. This will quite literally bankrupt Google, one of the wealthiest companies in history. If that is the potential outcome, then absolutely nobody can compete with those laws. This is now labeled as a “link tax.”
Meanwhile, other forms of these laws require Internet companies to police their own platforms for copyright infringements and filter out offending content. Not only is filtering out all copyright content impossible, but how do we identify it?
This is quite literally impossible to fulfill. To make matters worse, the parliament voted by a majority of five votes to completely block the ability to amend these controversial laws. That is, Europe is now stuck with them.
Tens of thousands of protesters marches through the streets of Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, and Portugal to vocalize their dismay toward the changes.
Some fear that these new laws will negate online speech freedoms.