Germany: Help Save the Internet from the Copyright Directive

The EU is about to finalize the Copyright in the Single Digital Market Directive—including Articles 11 and 13, also known as the “censorship machines” rule and the “link tax” rule, which have the power to crush small European tech startups and expose half a billion Europeans to mass, unaccountable algorithmic censorship.

Please write to the ministers responsible for Germany's position, and urge them to vote against Article 13 and Article 11.

Remember: supporters of the Directive claim that anyone who opposes it are "bots" -- please customize your letter to say who you are, and why you care about Article 13 and 11.

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To: ministerbuero@bmwi.bund.de, info@bruessel-eu.diplo.de Subject: Bitte teilen Sie unseren Verhandlungsführenden mit, die Artikel 11 und 13 der Richtlinie über das Urheberrecht im digitalen Binnenmarkt abzuweisen. Peter Altmaier, Federal Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy Her Excellency Ms Susanne Szech-Koundouros, Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany, EU Die EU-Ratspräsidentschaft hat uns um ein Verhandlungsmandat für die Vertretenden unseres Landes bei den Trilogen zu der neuen Richtlinie über das Urheberrecht im digitalen Binnenmarkt gebeten. Unserem Land zuliebe, den Menschen und Internetnutzenden weltweit, die durch diese Verordnung betroffen sein werden, bitte ich Sie folgendes zu bedenken. Artikel 11 und 13 haben in der Richtlinie nichts zu suchen. Nicht nur bürgen sie ein ernsthaftes Risiko für die freie Meinungsäußerung – durch das einschränken wie Nachrichten diskutiert und debattiert werden und dadurch, dass die öffentliche Kommunikation der Zustimmung unzurechenbarer KI-Algorithmen unterliegt – sie geben ebenfalls die Kontrolle über Europas Internet an Amerikanische Tech-Giganten ab, da diese Unternehmen die einzigen sind, die die Hunderte Millionen Euro haben, um die Richtlinie umzusetzen. Das Internet ist aufs Engste und untrennbar mit all unseren täglichen Aktivitäten verbunden, von Bildung und Beschäftigung bis hin zum Familienleben und dem Gesundheitswesen. Falls das Internet auf Grundlage der Interessen weniger engstirniger Industrieriesen aus der Unterhaltungsbranche reguliert werden sollte, gerät alles in Gefahr. Bitte teilen Sie unseren Verhandlunsführenden mit, dass unsere Nation die Artikel 11 und 13 in der endgültigen Richtlinie nicht akzeptieren wird.

After months of negotiations, and despite over four million Europeans writing in opposition, the EU is set to vote on disastrous new copyright rules. Article 13 would require online platforms to use algorithmic filters to unilaterally determine whether content anyone uploads, from social media posts to videos, infringes copyright, and would penalise companies that allow a user to infringe copyright, but not companies that overblock and censor their users. The outcome will be censorship of massive proportions.

We’ve seen these types of filters before: in Youtube’s long-despised “Content ID” system, and more recently in Tumblr’s disastrous attempt to block adult material. Article 13’s filters will have to process vastly more materials, and will likely cost hundreds of millions of euros—a price that only the biggest U.S. firms can afford.

Article 11 is also bad news for small businesses. While giant newspapers will be able to afford to link to one another after Article 11 is law, smaller news entities will have to find cash they don’t have to pay for these licenses. To make things worse, Article 11 has no opt-out: every news company must charge for links, and so the burgeoning world of Creative Commons, nonprofit, public interest news sites is snuffed out at the stroke of a pen.

The official national German position has been to oppose Articles 11 and 13, and another German MEP, Julia Reda, has led the charge against the worst aspects of the Directive. But Article 11 is the brainchild of Germany’s old newspaper families, and the Directive’s staunchest supporter is German MEP Axel Voss.

With German MEPs and newspaper giants driving so much of the agenda, your voice is vital to protecting the global Internet. Tell your officials to vote against the Directive and end this attempt to censor and tax regular Internet users and small businesses.

Remember: supporters of the Directive claim that anyone who opposes it are "bots" -- please customize your letter to say who you are, and why you care about Article 13 and 11.