Protecting the Free and Open Internet: European Edition

Reddit has summarised the European attempt to destroy the internet for everybody. Here it is in its entirety, though click through to the site for the comments.


Hey Reddit,

We care deeply about protecting the free and open internet, and we know Redditors do too. Specifically, we’ve communicated a lot with you in the past year about the Net Neutrality fight in the United States, and ways you can help. One of the most frequent questions that comes up in these conversations is from our European users, asking what they can do to play their part in the fight. Well Europe, now’s your chance. Later this month, the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee will vote on changes to copyright law that would put untenable restrictions on how users share news and information with each other. The new Copyright Directive has two big problems:

  • Article 11 would create a "link tax:” Links that share short snippets of news articles, even just the headline, could become subject to copyright licensing fees— pretty much ending the way users share and discuss news and information in a place like Reddit.
  • Article 13 would force internet platforms to install automatic upload filters to scan (and potentially censor) every single piece of content for potential copyright-infringing material. This law does not anticipate the difficult practical questions of how companies can know what is an infringement of copyright. As a result of this big flaw, the law’s most likely result would be the effective shutdown of user-generated content platforms in Europe, since unless companies know what is infringing, we would need to review and remove all sorts of potentially legitimate content if we believe the company may have liability.

The unmistakable impact of both these measures would be an incredible chilling impact over free expression and the sharing of information online, particularly for users in Europe.

Luckily, there are people and organizations in the EU that are fighting against these scary efforts, and they have organized a day of action today, June 12, to raise the alarm.

Julia Reda, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) who opposes the measure, joined us last week for an AMA on the subject. In it, she offers a number of practical ways that Europeans who care about this issue can get involved. Most importantly, call your MEP and let them know this is important to you!

As a part of their Save the Link campaign, our friends at Open Media have created an easy tool to help you identify and call your MEP.

Here are some things you’ll want to mention on the phone with your MEP’s office:

  • Share your name, location and occupation.
  • Tell them you oppose Article 11 (the proposal to charge a licensing fee for links) and Article 13 (the proposal to make websites build upload filters to censor content).
  • Share why these issues impact you. Has your content ever been taken down because of erroneous copyright complaints? Have you learned something new because of a link that someone shared?
  • Even if you reach an answering machine, leave a message—your concern will still be registered.
  • Be polite and SAY THANKS! Remember the human.

Phone not your thing? Tweet at your MEP! Anything we can do to get the message across that internet users care about this is important. The vote is expected June 20 or 21, so there is still plenty of time to make our voices heard, but we need to raise them!

And be sure to let us know how it went! Share stories about what your MEP told you in the comments below.

PS If you’re an American and don’t want to miss out on the fun, there is still plenty to do on our side of the pond to save the free and open internet. On June 11, the net neutrality rollback officially went into effect, but the effort to reverse it in Congress is still going strong in the House of Representatives. Go here to learn more and contact your Representative.