The internet is our go-to resource for news, information and entertainment. The sheer openness of the medium is what makes it useful in our daily lives. It also helps connect families and business. And let’s admit it, we are used to the internet the way it is. We share videos, interesting photos, articles that we come across and memes. Earlier this year, the European Union (EU) passed GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) which gives European citizens the right to control their personal information that is shared with the companies. Now, the EU has voted for the controversial ‘copyright law’ that will completely destroy the internet that we know.
There are two new controversial rules known as Article 11 and Article 13, and they bring a wide-range of changes to the way the internet works. The Article 11 introduces a “link tax” that will require internet companies such as Google and Microsoft to get permission from publishers for using snippets of their work.
Currently, on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google to name a few, the excerpt or a small part of the article is shown before the reader clicks on the link to read the whole story. With the new rule, tech companies will have to get permission from the publisher, or even pay them to use that excerpt.
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In a letter signed by 169 academics, they argued over the fact that the new rule “would likely impede the free flow of information that is of vital importance to democracy,” the Independent reports. Opponents of the new law vowed to fight the legislation before all MEPs give the final vote.
“I will challenge this outcome and request a vote in the European parliament next month. We can still overturn this result and preserve the free internet,” Green MEP Julia Reda told TheGuardian.
Meanwhile, the Article 13 will force the internet companies to “ban memes,” and will require all websites to check posts with database of copyrighted work. The companies will also have to remove the memes that are flagged by users. The move will mean memes, where images are often taken from TV shows or movies, could be removed from websites.
In an open letter, Tim Berners-Lee, and the Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales, argued that article 13 would take “an unprecedented step towards the transformation of the internet from an open platform for sharing and innovation, into a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users. The damage that this may do to the free and open internet as we know it is hard to predict, but in our opinions could be substantial,” the letter said.