The fight for internet freedom does not stop here

AD comments on the ‘Copyright Directive’

With the European Parliament vote in favour of the controversial Copyright Directive, the rights and freedoms of all citizens online are at risk. A majority of MEPs, including a majority of Malta’s MEPs, have chosen to vote against the free internet yesterday. 

Daniel Desira, AD Spokesperson on Digital Society and ADŻ Secretary General comments: “The European Parliament’s final vote in favour of the Copyright Directive is a blow for freedom of expression and information, and could change the internet as we know it. The requirement for upload filters will lead to the blocking of legal re-use of content in the form of parodies and memes, firmly restricting our creativity and expression online.”

Mina Tolu, MEP candidate for AD, adds: “This vote gives more power to larger platforms, like Facebook, Google and YouTube, while individual users, artists, authors or small publishers will suffer the most. As Greens, we will continue to fight for internet freedom and against this directive. We call on the Maltese Government to vote against the agreement in Council.” 

The Greens/EFA group and other political groups in the European Parliament led the fight against the so-called “upload filters” and “link tax” articles. They presented alternatives to these articles and pushed for a modern copyright law that protects both artists and users.  

On the one hand the “link tax” will make online companies pay to have a preview of linked pages from another website on their platform. Showing links without a preview would be easier for these platforms than paying publishers. This means that freedom of information will be limited online, every time you try to share a link to an article this might be blocked. As a result, and especially because the internet is dominated by social media platforms, we will see less diversity of content on our newsfeeds. On the other hand, “upload filters” will also limit freedom of expression. Upload filters rely on algorithms to understand whether user content is being legally uploaded or not. But algorithms cannot always correctly interpret context that allows for legal re-use of content, like in parody, humour, satire, or quotations. This means that more legal uploads would be blocked.