Polish Wikipedia blacks out in protest against European Union copyright rules

Judy Cobb
July 6, 2018

The other is mandatory upload filtering, which would require online platforms such as YouTube, GitHub, and Instagram to install filters to prevent users from uploading copyrighted materials or seek licenses to display content.

While the legislation's supporters hoped to give news outlets and copyright holders some protection from platforms like Google and Facebook that have managed to gobble up advertising revenues, it posed the risk of giving those corporations even more power.

It comes despite artists including McCartney and opera signer Placido Domingo signing an open letter calling for politicians to back the change ahead of the vote.

"I wouldn't consider the vote as a surprise since we knew all along that there was a split between MEPs on this sensitive issue", said Maltese MEP Francis Zammit Dimech to Lovin Malta.

Hours before the crucial vote, local Wikipedia pages went dark in multiple markets, including Italy, Spain, and Poland, in protest to the proposed regulation.

If the new EU copyright law passed in its current form, it may have pushed many foreign companies over the edge and completely block EU citizens from uploading content on their platforms as well as stop all references to EU media.

In a statement, Wikipedia worded that, "The directive would threaten online freedom and would impose new filters, barriers and restrictions to access the web".

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Restrictive filters and threats to online freedom will not solve any problems according to Wikipedia.

The European Parliament voted on June 20 to pass the initiative, but there will be another vote on Thursday. There then follow negotiations with member states for a final position, during which the full extent of the law and whether it does apply to Wikipedia will be worked out.

Maltese Nationalist MEP Francis Zammit Dimech, a member of JURI (Legal Affairs) Committee, voted in favour of the directive.

A second vote is likely in September, the report said.

"We are confident that the European Parliament will eventually support a framework that fully acknowledges the rights of creators in the digital landscape of the 21st century".

The European Parliament will take up debate on the directive again in September. "We can not stop the public pressure now".

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