Wikimedia says European copyright laws violate basic human freedoms


Wikimedia, which owns a dozen other open-source databases like Wikipedia, issued a statement last week against the new set of copyright laws called the Copyright Directive.
Wikimedia, which owns a dozen other open-source databases like Wikipedia, issued a statement last week against the new set of copyright laws called the Copyright Directive.

On Thursday, the European Parliament rejected a controversial proposal to overhaul the European Union’s copyright laws that critics say would significantly damage internet freedom.

The legislation — dubbed the Copyright Directive — was rejected by a vote of 318-278. That means the proposed rules, which passed the European Parliament’s legal branch last month, will now be debated in September.

The proposal is an attempt to modernize copyright laws for the digital age, and its proponents — which include high-profile musicians like David Guetta and Paul McCartney — say it will protect artists from having their work stolen on the internet. But its opponents fear the bill will open the door for widespread censorship.

The directive would require sites like Facebook and YouTube to have paid licenses before they could link to people’s creative content (articles, videos, etcetera), which would heavily stymie what information gets to people.

And the laws would additionally apply an algorithmic filter on any content uploaded to the internet, which would also put parody and satire (read: our memes and gifs) on the line.

And the way we know and love Wikipedia now — one of the largest open-source forums — would be on the line as well.

Wikimedia, which owns around a dozen other open-source forums like Wikipedia, issued a statement last week against the directive, which highlighted main points of concern against the Copyright Directive.

Its board of trustees, which consists of heavyweight tech execs like Quora chief financial officer Kelly Battles and former Gizmodo Media Group chief executive Raju Narisetti, outlined three main grievances in its statement, which is part of a string of open pushes Wikimedia and its properties have made against the proposed legislation.

Wikimedia’s entire empire is built off open-sourcing — it calls itself “the world’s largest online repository of free knowledge” — and its board claimed that the proposed laws contradict the platform’s goal to make knowledge free and accessible to everyone.

The new restrictions, if passed, would possibly lead to a loss of revenue for the giant as well, since its funding mainly relies on user contributions. With a restricted reach after the proposed laws, the funding would probably also fall.

“If passed, it would limit free expression, and cause serious harm to collaboration and diversity online,” reads the statement. “Instead of truly modernizing copyright for Europe and promoting everyone’s participation in information society, the proposal threatens freedom online and creates new obstacles…

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Peter Bordes

Exec Chairman & Founder at oneQube
Exec Chairman & Founder of oneQube the leading audience development automation platfrom. Entrepreneur, top 100 most influential angel investors in social media who loves digital innovation, social media marketing. Adventure travel and fishing junkie.
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