Today, the European Partliament voted in favor of a sweeping and controversial new copyright directive that critics say could threaten the internet’s most basic practices around linking and sharing images. But while the broad strokes of the directive are alarming, many of the details are still unclear, and big tech companies seem to be holding their fire for fear of antagonizing regulators.
The strongest initial opposition has come from Reddit. “Today’s vote dealt a significant blow to the open Internet, and to smaller companies like Reddit,” a representative told The Verge. “It is disappointing to see the Parliament disregard the concerns of those constituents and experts who know the Internet best-- including its very architects. We’re evaluating what this means for Reddit, and we will continue to keep our community informed.”
Wikimedia, the parent organization for Wikipedia and a family of similar information sources, also voiced strong objections to the new directive. Efforts were made to exempt Wikipedia from Article 13’s filtering provisions, but the broader organization has consistently opposed the directive, writing in June that the measure would have “detrimental effects on internet freedom.”
Reached by The Verge, Wikimedia reiterated that opposition:
Today, the European Parliament voted to adopt new rules that entrench outdated copyright policies and impose even greater barriers to access to knowledge online. Despite an outpouring of support from European citizens, including the Wikimedia community of volunteers, Parliament passed amendments that would require pre-filtering of uploads to internet platforms and failed to institute freedom of panorama protections across the European Union. We are disappointed by this outcome and the missed opportunity to modernize copyright for the digital age. Wikimedia remains firmly committed and will continue to advocate for an open, balanced vision for copyright which enables everyone to learn and create online.
Other companies have been more measured in their concerns. In a statement to The Verge, Google declined to directly criticize the new order.
“People want access to quality news and creative content online,” a Google representative said. “We’ve always said that more innovation and collaboration are the best way to achieve a sustainable future for the European news and creative sectors, and we’re committed to continued close partnership with these industries.”
Twitter referred queries to the European advocacy organization EDiMA, which has called the proposal a bad outcome for European citizens in prior statements. Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
4:24PM ET: Updated with Reddit statement.