Copyright Directive – EU safeguards Free Software at the last minute [Updated]
The European Parliament adopted the controversial Copyright Directive by 348 votes in favour, 274 votes against and 36 abstentions. Today's vote marks the end of years of debate in the European Union. Heated discussions about the introduction of upload filters ended up in protests of hundreds of thousands of people in the streets all across Europe. In a last minute action back in September 2018, the European Parliament adopted an amendment and pushed it through the trilogue to at least protect Free Software developing platforms.
“We are glad we were able to raise awareness and understanding of what drives software development in Europe nowadays among many policy makers. The exclusion of Free Software code hosting and sharing providers from this directive is a sign showing that the EU wants to keep Free Software development in Europe healthy, solid and alive. Yet, we are dismayed that the EU missed the opportunity to reform copyright to a reasonable extent.” says Alexander Sander, Policy Manager of the Free Software Foundation Europe.
The Free Software Foundation Europe and Open Forum Europe started a campaign to “Save Code Share” in 2017. More than 14.000 people supported our call with an open letter which requests EU legislators to preserve the ability to collaboratively build software online in the current EU Copyright Directive proposal.
Edit of 28 March 2019: The original version of this press release urged the European Commission to act to avoid filtering-monopolies, but our description of our position on filters was unclear and incomplete. The FSFE is not, and has never been, in favour of developing "fundamentally flawed filtering technologies". The FSFE has been fighting against upload filters since the beginning, e.g., as a signatory of Copyright for Creativity or Create Refresh, and joined more than 80 organisations asking the EU member states to reject the harmful Article 13 (now, Art. 17). The FSFE will support solutions to preserve users' right to be in control of technology and ethical standards for service operators.