28 March 2019Copyright

13 MEPs voted incorrectly on EU Copyright Directive

More than 10 members of European parliament (MEPs) accidentally voted the wrong way on a key amendment to the new European Copyright Directive, which passed earlier this week.

On Tuesday, March 26, the  directive was passed with 348 votes in favour and 274 votes against with 24 abstentions.

But official  voting records published by the EU show that 13 MEPS accidentally voted the wrong way in a previous decision on whether to allow an amendment to the proposed law.

The records show that 10 MEPS accidentally rejected the amendment when they meant to approve it, two MEPs accidentally approved the amendment, and one MEP says he intended not to vote at all.

If the 10 MEPs had voted as they intended to, there would have been further votes on whether the directive would include the most controversial aspects of the new law, articles 15 and 17 (formerly articles 11 and 13).

Internet freedom activists and tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple have been particularly critical of article 15, which will only allow search engine results to display “individual words and very short extracts” of content.

Article 17 will make online platforms liable for infringing content hosted on their sites. Critics say this will amount to imposing content filters, sparking concerns that only the largest companies would be able to effectively implement the proposals.

In a statement to  WIPR yesterday, a Google spokesperson said the directive “will lead to legal uncertainty and hurt Europe’s creative and digital economies”.

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