Good news in the latest chapter of the fight over whether the EU should mandate the installation of “censorship machines” on internet platforms as part of the upcoming copyright reform:

The Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament today threw its weight behind a more sensible way forward than the one demanded by media conglomerates and proposed by the European Commission.

The Committee voted to remove the obligation for internet platforms to employ technologies like automated content recognition to surveil all user uploads and try to pre-empt copyright infringement. It also proposes strengthening people’s ability to contest the takedown of works they’ve uploaded. This is the same balanced approach previously taken by the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee.

It also called for a clarification that purely linking to content that is already publicly available can not be a copyright infringement.

A threat to civil liberties

The Civil Liberties Committee decided to make this issue the only point of the copyright reform plans to comment on, determining it the greatest threat to civil liberties in the proposal, and with good reason:

Last month, 56 professors and scholars of copyright and internet law had warned that automated filtering systems “would deprive users of the room for freedom of expression”, and an alliance of 50 human rights organisations concluded that they would “limit the freedom to impart information on the one hand, and the freedom to receive information on the other.”

Up next: The most important vote

Now only the most important committee has yet to vote: The Legal Affairs Committee. Here’s the overview of the other committees’ opinions on the 3 most contentious issues:

Committee Extra © for news sites Censorship machines Text and data mining
IMCO no consensus found no automation required restricted to research and cultural heritage institutions
LIBE no automation required
CULT in favour in favour restricted to research institutions & ‘acquired’ access
ITRE extend to academic publishing in favour restricted to research institutions, non-profits, startups & ‘acquired’ access
JURI Negotiations in progress, vote scheduled for January 24/25

The vote on January 24/25 is our best chance to stop these harmful proposals that threaten your right to participate online – to share news, upload media and do research.

Next, on December 7th, the committee holds a hearing on the extra copyright for news sites, where a damning study will be presented.

If you are a creator, you could get paid to help stop these plans: The Create • Refresh project is offering grants to create media that helps raise awareness.

For everyone else, the ChangeCopyright, SaveTheLink and SaveTheMeme campaigns make it easy to make your voice heard.

To the extent possible under law, the creator has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this work.

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