The EU are set to vote on a new copyright directive at Brussels very soon, with critics claiming that this move could silence and destroy the internet entirely. Famous household names have also been drawn into the argument, wanting to throw their two pence into the mix. Placido Domingo, the Vienna Philharmonic and Paul McCartney are just two who have spearheaded the campaign, with internet vigilantes, Tim Berners-Lee and Jimmy Wales on the opposition.
This battle has been fought with not only the words of officials, but with hashtags, open letters, celeb endorsements, Instagram posts and mailshots. These have been one of the main ways in which protesters have voiced their opinion to the governmental officials whilst this debate has taken place. This bill was originally proposed in 2016, but shut down quickly after it was discovered that it would mean any website hosting music would also be liable, putting almost all creators at risk with an uncertain future.
Critics have questioned whether the law will stretch as far as to include the takedown of holiday snaps, memes and funny videos on Facebook and social media. These people have been called out for taking the law to the extreme; however, it could come into fruition. The German Christian Democrat, Alex Voss, has dubbed these remarks as “fake news” and “totally wrong”. But we may soon find out the very real truth if the bill becomes live in a few months.
Twenty free press agencies in the EU have signed a statement to say that “For the sake of Europe’s free press and democratic values, EU lawmakers should press ahead with copyright reform”. These agencies include the Press Association and Agence France-Presse. Blur drummer, Dave Rowntree has also spoke out regarding this issue, saying that; “It is fundamentally unfair. YouTube have rather cleverly found a niche for themselves where they can have their cake and eat it. They can use clever artificial intelligence software to see what the user is doing … yet when it comes to having to pay out a fair share they say ‘no … we just provide a website’.”.
Rowntree continued in his argument to say “It makes little difference to me. I am not here to argue for more royalties for me. I’m doing fine, most of my money is made out of radio play and touring and we are not a huge YouTube band … it is a big impediment to young, up-and-coming bands.”. The copyright law has ruffled a lot of feathers and it will be interesting to see how it turns out.
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