Article 13: UKIP Joins Pro-Free Speech #SaveTheInternet Fight, Forces EU Parliament Vote

Save The Internet

The UK Independence Party (UKIP) is backing the ‘Save Your Internet’ campaign, revealing Tuesday how they are fighting the European Union’s (EU) latest attempt to “destroy the capacity for free speech” online, known as Article 13 and the ‘link tax’ Article 11.

The unelected European Commission has been quietly pushing the laws – called the Proposal for Copyright Directive in the Single Digital Market – that could force online platforms to monitor and control all uploads with “content recognition technologies”.

Alternative news providers and blogs may also be hit by plans for a “link tax” which could compel them to pay just to reference content and therefore hand the well-resourced mainstream media an advantage.

Meme culture, including satirical videos and edited images, currently protected under “fair usage” rules, could also be effectively outlawed if the audio or photos contained are owned by wealthy producers or big firms, and are detected when being uploaded.

The EU, meanwhile, argues the plans are about tightening copyright protections and making online giants like Google pay their way. However, proposals are vaguely worded and come as the EU moves to censor speech across the net and social media.

UKIP MEP and party leader Gerard Batten promised Monday to make it “the Party of Freedom, Free Speech, [and] Pride in Britain” and said of the proposed EU laws in a statement on Tuesday:

“The world of online publication is changing faster than existing law can catch up. There is a case for protecting the legitimate rights of authors but the proposed Directive is not it.

“The great danger is that it will destroy the capacity for free speech on the internet and social media, which has exploded in recent years and is an invaluable alternative to the so-called mainstream media.

“What is needed is not an EU Directive but an international agreement that protects the legitimate rights of creators, authors, and innovators, but which does not stifle free speech and information dissemination.”

Other critics backing the fight include the British inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, co-founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, and the founder of the Internet Archive, Brewster Kahle, all of who signed an open letter to the president of the European Parliament last month.

UKIP is the UK’s largest party in the European Parliament, and Mr Batten explained how the party’s MEPs are pushing for a vote to stop the new law being secretly negotiated by the Parliament’s representative the unelected Commission.

“If successful the vote will mean the Directive will have to be debated in the Parliament, where MEPs can propose amendments, and where it could be rejected in total,” he explained.

Adding: “UKIP urges people across Europe to email their MEPs support our call for a vote this week on the Proposal for Copyright Directive in the Single Digital Market.

“A similar call for a vote is being backed by the Green group in the Parliament – the issue cuts across political divides.”


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