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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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.