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

jimmy wales
Wikipedia founder campaigned against the EU proposals.

The European Parliament has voted to reject sweeping reforms to copyright laws 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 European Parliament plenary session on Thursday morning, 318 MEPs voted against the changes, while 278 voted in favour. German MEP Julia Reda, who campaigned against the changes, tweeted:

The vote basically means that 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, in case it breaches copyright.


Article 11, another controversial element of the 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.

Scottish MEP Catherine Stihler made a short speech against the reforms prior to 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:

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 reforms. “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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