Today, it came to our attention that the copyright Directive could be voted as soon as next week, during the first Plenary session of the European Parliament. Such a short time-frame can only be explained as an attempt to avoid further debate and the participation of concerned citizens ahead of the vote. We cannot accept such manoeuvers. For this reason, we have just emailed all political leaders, asking them to not rush the vote on the copyright Directive. Find the text of the email below.
Dear Mr Manfred Weber MEP,
Dear Mr Udo Bullmann MEP,
Dear Mr Guy Verhofstadt MEP,
Dear Ms Franziska Keller MEP,
Dear Ms Gabriele Zimmer MEP,
Dear Mr Syed Kamall MEP,
Dear Ms Isabella Adinolfi MEP,
Dear Mr Nicolas Bay MEP,
Dear Mr Marcel De Graaff MEP,
EDRi is a network of 39 NGOs working to defend human rights online.
It has come to our attention the possibility that the copyright Directive could be voted next week during the first Plenary session. As we have expressed previously, Article 13 of the copyright Directive, as proposed by the European Commission and in the text proposed by the European Parliament and the Council, is not aligned with basic principles of European Union lawmaking. The proposals on the table around Article 13 could create absolute liability for providers, which will undoubtedly affect freedom of expression for individuals. In essence, our speech becomes their speech, with all of the consequences that this brings with it.
In previous open letters of April 26 (here) and July 2 (here), and 19 November (here) 2018, we urged European policy-makers to deliver a reform that upholds fundamental rights of all to freedom of expression as well as core principles such as limitation of internet intermediaries’ liability (which is essential to ensure the balance of rights repeatedly required by CJEU rulings) as well as access to knowledge.
Because of all of the above, we believe that such a short time frame for the vote would damage both the quality of the debate and the image of the European Parliament, which could be perceived by concerned citizens as if it was rushing the proposal in order to avoid a thorough debate.
Thus, we urge you to not vote on the copyright Directive at least until the second Plenary session in March or, better, during the last Plenary session in April. The European Parliament, only two months ahead of the elections, needs to ensure the necessary debate on the copyright Directive and not be pressured to a rushed vote on a controversial proposal that has been criticised by +70 Internet luminaries, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, NGOs, programmers, and academics.
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