New laws that threatened to tear the internet apart have been sent back to the drawing board in Europe

GettyThe Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales campaigned against the European Union proposals.
  • The European Parliament has rejected sweeping proposed changes to copyright law that threatened to tear the internet apart.
  • The proposals, which could have required the likes of Reddit to filter content and imposed a so-called link tax on firms including Google, have been sent back to the drawing board.
  • The Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales opposed the changes, while artists like Sir Paul McCartney were in favour.

The European Parliament has voted to reject sweeping proposed changes to copyright law that threatened to tear the internet apart.

The proposals, which could have required the likes of Reddit to filter content and imposed a so-called link tax on firms including Google, have been sent back to the drawing board.

At a plenary session on Thursday morning, 318 members of the European Parliament voted against the changes, while 278 voted in favour. The German MEP Julia Reda, who campaigned against the changes, tweeted:

The vote basically means MEPs will have another chance to debate and amend Article 13 of the proposed EU Copyright Directive, which would force platforms such as Reddit and Facebook to examine and then censor user content that breaches copyright.

Article 11, another controversial element of the proposed laws, will also be debated again amid fears that it could impose a “link tax” on companies including Google for linking to publishers. Further debate will take place in September.

MEP Catherine Stihler of Scotland made a short speech against the changes before the European Parliament vote. She said she was in receipt of a petition signed by a million people and said the EU “owes it to citizens” to give the changes “the full debate necessary.” After the vote, she tweeted:

The Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has been a vocal critic of the copyright plans, with Wikipedia blacking out in parts of Europe to encourage users to campaign against the proposals. “We did it. You did it. Thank you,” he tweeted after the vote.

Europe’s broadcasters, publishers, and artists, including Sir Paul McCartney and James Blunt, backed the overhaul, saying it would level the playing field for rightsholders.

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