NEWS FROM OPEN KNOWLEDGE FOUNDATION
EU COUNCIL BACKS CONTROVERSIAL COPYRIGHT CRACKDOWN
The Council of the European Union today backed a controversial copyright crackdown in a ‘deeply disappointing’ vote that could impact on all internet users. Six countries voted against the proposal which has been opposed by 5million people through a Europe-wide petition – Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Finland and Sweden. Three more nations abstained, but the UK voted for the crackdown and there were not enough votes for a blocking minority. The proposal is expected to lead to the introduction of ‘filters’ on sites such as YouTube, which will automatically remove content that could be copyrighted. While entertainment footage is most likely to be affected, academics fear it could also restrict the sharing of knowledge, and critics argue it will have a negative impact on freedom of speech and expression online. EU member states will have two years to implement the law, and the regulations are still expected to affect the UK despite Brexit. The Open Knowledge Foundation said the battle is not over, with the European elections providing an opportunity to elect ‘open champions’.
Catherine Stihler, chief executive of the Open Knowledge Foundation, said: “This is a deeply disappointing result which will have a far-reaching and negative impact on freedom of speech and expression online. “The controversial crackdown was not universally supported, and I applaud those national governments which took a stand and voted against it. “We now risk the creation of a more closed society at the very time we should be using digital advances to build a more open world where knowledge creates power for the many, not the few. “But the battle is not over. Next month’s European elections are an opportunity to elect a strong cohort of open champions at the European Parliament who will work to build a more open world.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
Today, April 15, the Council (EU Member States) approved the copyright Directive at the Ministerial level at an Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting in Luxembourg.
• 6 Member States voted AGAINST: Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden • 3 Member States abstained: Belgium, Estonia and Slovenia • 19 Member States voted FOR.
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The Open Knowledge Foundation helps governments, universities, and civil society organisations reach their full potential by providing them with skills and tools to publish, use, and understand data. We are the experts in opening up knowledge: we created the Open Definition in 2005, the gold standard for open data, and have over ten years of experience in addressing technological, legal and social challenges around open data. We believe in a world where knowledge creates power for the many, not the few.
We deliver technology solutions, enhance data literacy, provide cutting-edge research and mobilise communities to provide value for a wide range of international clients. Our track record includes the development of pioneering databases for fiscal and medical transparency, world leading open data benchmarks such as the Global Open Data Index, and data training programs with key non-profit organisations such as Global Witness. We work with a range of international NGOs, such as Transparency International, as well as governments around the world, including the United Kingdom, United States, Panama, and Sweden.
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