How the EU copyright proposal will hurt the web and Wikipedia

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Photo by M0tty, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Wikimedia is an integral part of a large movement of civil society stakeholders, technologists, creators, and human rights defenders, who all recognize the importance of a free and open web for culture, progress, and democracy. Our movement is working to promote freedom online for the benefit of all. Our efforts in this public policy realm are all the more important in an era of increasing restrictions on free speech and free access to knowledge across the globe, which directly threaten the mission and vision of Wikimedia and its projects, such as Wikipedia.
This is why we strongly oppose the proposed EU Copyright Directives and urge the Members of the European Parliament to reconsider proceeding with the version recently adopted by the Legal Affairs Committee. We are concerned because these flawed proposals hurt everyone’s rights to freedom of expression and Europe’s ability to improve the welfare of its citizens online.
Next week, we expect the European Parliament to vote in plenary on whether to proceed with the version adopted by the Committee. If the Members of the European Parliament reject it, there will be another opportunity to fix much of the current proposal’s broken requirements. Now may be the last opportunity to improve the directive.
We oppose this EU copyright package because of its detrimental effects on internet freedom, access to knowledge, and collaboration online. We believe that:

  • The requirement for platforms to implement upload filters is a serious threat for freedom of expression and privacy. Our foundational vision depends on the free exchange of knowledge across the entirety of the web, and beyond the boundaries of the Wikimedia projects.
  • A new exclusive right allowing press publishers to restrict the use of news snippets will make it more difficult to access and share information about current events in the world, making it harder for Wikipedia contributors to find citations for articles online.
  • The proposal does not support user rights, is missing strong safeguards for the public domain, and does not create exceptions that would truly empower people to participate in research and culture.

We believe that enactment of this copyright package will significantly decrease the amount of content that will be freely accessible to all across the globe. The costs involved in preemptively filtering content that may violate broad conceptions of copyright are likely also to lead to concentration of content determinations in a small number of large platforms.
The Wikimedia movement has opposed the flawed proposal for copyright reform since the first disappointing draft was first presented almost two years ago, after initially encouraging preparatory steps. Early on, we warned about the implications of imposing upload filters and called for urgently needed safeguards for the public domain. More recently, we wrote about the negative effects of mandatory automatic content detection on collaboration and freedom of expression.
Wikimedia communities around the world have been actively opposing the EU copyright package. In May, German and Bulgarian Wikipedia communities ran banners opposing Article 13 of the copyright proposal. Several European Wikimedia user organizations, including Wikimedia chapters in France, Estonia, Germany, Denmark, and Spain, took part in a Day of Action against the the copyright package on June 12, writing blog posts and tweeting under the hashtag #SaveYourInternet. The German chapter has even organized an event in the streets of Berlin and more language communities are currently debating how to engage.
The proposal is a serious threat to our mission as it fails to truly modernize copyright and ensure the law keeps up with reality. Wikimedia can only achieve its mission when everyone is able to share information freely and contribute to the collection of knowledge on Wikipedia and its sister projects, and when we support such freedom and openness. The copyright proposal conflicts with that mission.
Although Wikimedia operates non-commercial websites, which may benefit from exemptions in certain parts of the EU copyright package, our overarching mission is heavily dependent on a free and open internet ecosystem.
We strongly urge the European Parliament to reject this bad copyright package in the vote next week and reconsider the opportunity to create a balanced and forward-looking law. It’s not too late: you can help stop this bad proposal. Take action by contacting your Member of European Parliament at, and spread the word in your circles and on social media!
Eileen B. Hershenov, General Counsel
Wikimedia Foundation

Archive notice: This is an archived post from, which operated under different editorial and content guidelines than Diff.

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The copyright proposal is so bad that I believe it deserves a SOPA-like blackout. A black interstitial page for all EU IPs wouldn’t cause issues for readers or editors, but would actually be noticed by a substantial number of people, unlike current too-subtle messages. And most such messages make it seem as if only one article is bad, and trivialize their impact (suggesting only memes would be hurt, etc). At least articles 11, 13 and 15 need to be stopped. Art 15 for example renders free software licenses worthless — if at any point the author of a program can… Read more »

Horrible !

You can not remove wikipedia because it is everything for citizen. There is no way because of this proposal can pass through.I want remember you education/istruction is the base to make grow a person, and to build on a community. Wikipedia is one of the best encyclopedia because of the crowsourcing and crowsourcing is the manifestation of democraty. Reject wikipedia means reject demcracy.

Salvar Internet.

I completely agree and thank Wikipedia and its collaborators for their enterprise in opposing the legislation as it is. It is important for everyone to understand that this set of precepts affect not only those under the EU, but rather the whole world. There is a domino effect in things such as these, many countries follow the lead of nations who have, and are still (by historical reasons, and whether they wish to accept it or not) leading the path we walk together as one humanity. As a costa rican citizen, I am, and will be under, the influence of… Read more »

I am supporting this objection

I support the opinion of the wikipedians and the opposition to the planned changes in the law

Nie zabierajcie nam wolności

Estoy completamente de acuerdo con impedir que se aprueben esas leyes contra la accesibilidad a Wikipedia y otros sitios de la web tan importantes para nosotros

Fredom of Internet is the freedom of us all. Leave it! Hands off!

I completely agree and support Wikipedia and it’s collaborators on the matter by formally opposing to this new legislation in EU.
There is a spill over effect in things such as these, many countries might follow these set of precepts affecting the whole world.
Internet has become the Grial of knowledge accessible for almost everyone in the world, by restricting it’s use, you are limiting the right to the information.

If this passes, we make another not-so-small step towards a dystopia, which is bad, so we should really get together now and fight as hard as we can.

Gracias a Wikipedia por haber facilitado sacar adelante mis estudios, mi apoyo total para impedir esas absurdas leyes.

Estoy de acuerdo con wikipedia

Es absolutamente improcedente un acuerdo, dictado o ley que coarte la libertad de expresión, opinión, divulgación que, de manera voluntaria y libre, se hace a través de wikimedia. Rechazo absolutamente una censura disfrazada de cualquier supuesta forma legal…….

De ninguna manera debemos regresar a los tiempos de la KGB, las Falanges o la Gestapo, somos libres de pensar, ¡NO RESTRINJAN LA LIBERTAD DE SABER!

Creo que Wikipedia es muy útil,sus datos siempre se pueden cotejar. Libertad.

Fredom of Internet is the freedom of us all. Leave it!

Please, don’t turn the internet into a mess! I have been learning so much surfing on the internet! Who are from poor countries (poor about education), many times only has oppotunity to learn on the Internet. We really rely on you.

Sharing of knowledge must be an universal human right. Any attempt to limit this faculty of us is a slavery act, because slavery is the oposite of freedom.

Liberty of expression is a characteristic of a civilized society, it’s not right to ban ANY information from the public, and it is people’s right to have access to ALL the information.

Leave as Freedom we require!

La humanidad tiene derecho al conocimiento…no pretendan quedar marcados en la historia,como aquellos que se opusieron a que sus hijos,nietos y generaciones futuras ,tuvieran acceso al conocimiento y desarrollo.en este momento del hubiese gustado ser joven y aprovechar al maximo todo lo que wikipedia ofrece al mundo…pero aun con mis años…disfruto cada dia del alimento intelectual que me da Wiki.

Estoy completamente de acuerdo con impedir que se aprueben esas leyes contra la accesibilidad a Wikipedia y otros sitios de la web tan importantes. :@علاء

El mundo nunca tuvo tanto conocimiento disponible gracias a Wikipedia, ahora es de todos y para todos, no a la regulaciòn para que ganen unos cuantos, el mundo pierde mucho con esto , no lo vale

I support FREE Internet and FREE Wikipedia.

I am an American theologian working in Germany. Not having access to my home library, I often depend on Wikipedia and it’s well-annotated articles to reconnect to information I need in my everyday work. Wikipedia is responsible for giving me access to a number of books that I have purchased in order to get the “whole picture” of the author’s work. Without Wiki I would not have made these purchases. If I were not able to access Wikipedia, my work as a progressive theologian would be hindered. The scholars whose work I am likely to become familiar with today and… Read more »

We need Wikipedia! It is the most important online tool for knowledge distribution and development!

Hands off from Internet

such changes are not acceptable at all!!!

I agree. We should all protest.

Fredom of Internet is the freedom of us all.

I support Wikipedia’s work and I am against legislation that will limit access to information that provides a great service for everyone.

Don`t kill civil freedom of coming up common world over splits, no for exclusivity of egoism of money. Nie zabijajcie swobody obywatelskiej rodzącej się wspólnoty świata ponad granicami, nie dla wyłączności egoizmu pieniądza.

am a strong opponent of any changes restricting the freedom of the Internet by the European Union and any other organization. The European Union has no rights in relation to the internet. Internet is not the property of the European Union, it is not its product. Intern is not a legal person, nor is it a private entity subject to the legal jurisdiction of the bodies and institutions of the European Union. The Internet is a free space of freedom and human rights used to exercise human and civil rights. Charging this space with fees and obligations of third parties… Read more »

Freedom of Internet is the freedom of us all. Anything that limits the freedom, will damage everybody and the future generation. The beauty of internet, the beauty of Wikipedia, the beauty of the possibility of shearing is the advantage of the free internet, if we limit this we will lose our rights that we conquered in many years.
I thank Wikipedia and its collaborators for their enterprise in opposing the legislation as it is.

Is there no place we can *vote* against the flawed proposal?

This is the 21st century and freedom of information and sharing of knowledge should be a given right. We value organisations such as Wikipedia so hands off !