JURI supports link tax but plenary can still fix copyright

Am 21. Juni 2018 - 17:21 Uhr von Tom Hirche

Last Wednesday on June 20, the European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) voted on the Commission's proposal for a new copyright directive. Unfortunately, the ancillary copyright for press publishers as stipulated in article 11 was adopted with only little suggested changes. But it looks like this has not been the final vote yet.

Slim majority for article 11

JURI rapporteur Axel Voss (EPP, Germany) has always been a strong supporter of a publishers' right. With his initial compromise amendment, he had taken the Commission's proposal to the extreme by heavily extending its scope. However, he must have failed to receive enough support for this position. This would at least explain why he presented a second and eventually a final third version of his compromise amendment to the other JURI members just a few weeks later. The extreme aspects were erased and the scope of the new right was even narrowed, so that he felt safe to put it to vote.

With a slim majority of 13:12, Voss's compromise amendment was adopted. As a consequence, all other amendments that aimed at deleting article 11 altogether or turning it into a presumption rule were automatically rejected. It comes as no surprise that most of Voss's EPP buddies joined his position. But who really is to blame are the two members of the right-wing nationalist group ENF whose only goal from the beginning was to cause as much harm to the EU as possible. Voss relied on their support to win the vote.

Discussions might be reopened in the plenum

The JURI committee also agreed to grant Voss the mandate to go to negotiations with the EU Commission and the EU Council. Fortunately, MEP Julia Reda (Greens/EFA, Germany) who is one of the harshest critics of article 11 within the European Parliament has already declared to challenge this mandate. All she needs is the support of 75 other MEPs. Together, they can trigger a plenary vote which means that each of the 750 members of the European Parliament will have to decide if they reject Voss's mandate for trilogue negotiations.

If the majority does, the discussions on the Parliament's position on the copyright directive will be reopened in the plenary. MEPs will then have the chance to table new amendments and call for the deletion of article 11. For more information on the procedure see this article from the #SaveYourInternet campaign website.

This protest vote could already take place within the next two weeks. This means that all MEPs need to be encouraged to oppose the mandate and to oppose the publishers' right. Make them aware of how dangerous, misguided and useless it is.

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