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The European Union has passed Articles 11 and 13 of the Copyright Directive. How can this be reversed?

The European Parliament has voted in favour of Article 13, reports Wired:

European politicians have voted to pass Article 13 and Article 11 as part of sweeping changes to regulation around online copyright. The European Parliament passed the legislation by 348 votes to 274.

As Guido put it, “348 MEPs you’ve never heard of overruled 278 MEPs you’ve also probably never heard of. So much for all that democratic accountability Remainers like to go on about…”

Previous relevant posts:

Anyone know how the new EU internet censorship & link tax law will affect the UK? June 13 2018

Two days before the EU (probably) votes to end the free internet. Should we care? June 20 2018

EU votes yes to copyright reform, also June 20 2018

Those MEPs, eh? September 14 2018

And just to show that Samizdata has been warning of this for a long time (hey, at least Cassandra had the satisfaction of being right), here is a post from 2002: The European Copyright Directive.

If I have missed any posts that should be in that list, let me know.

So how does one repeal a bad EU law? As the politicians say, I am glad you asked me that. Let me direct you to yet another past post in which a denizen of Reddit Europe called Ask_Me_Who explains:

MEP’s can not create, amend, or reject proposals. They can act as a method of slowing them, requesting changes or rethinks of proposed policies, but if the other (unelected) parts of the EU want to force through a proposal they can just keep pushing it until it gets through in the knowledge that elected MEP’s will not have the power to propose future updates, changes, or abolition of legislation.

The European Commission only has to win once and it can never be repealed without the European Commission wishing it so.

22 comments to The European Union has passed Articles 11 and 13 of the Copyright Directive. How can this be reversed?

  • Mr Ecks

    The only good thing is that a lot of remainiacs will have their lives and business badly affected by this latest jolt from their freedom loving pals in the EU.

    It can’t be repealed but it can be innovated around and defied. We are going to have to perfect the skill of taking people out of the police’s so-called “custody” regardless of what Plod wants.

  • bobby b

    “So how does one repeal a bad EU law?”

    You identify the law’s driving constituency – the people who profit from the law and who drove its passage – and then you not only make sure they never profit from it, but you exact painful costs from them.

    And then they’ll repeal it for you.

  • Nullius in Verba

    “How can this be reversed?”

    Well, we probably can’t do it. But suppose Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, and all the rest were to simply shut down all services to Europe, saying they can’t afford the development costs for the censorship machines, can’t afford to do it manually, are not willing to take the risk of missing some offending articles, and therefore cannot legally operate in Europe. The block stays in place until the law is removed.

    So none of the pols Tweets will get out. Assuming they’re as addicted to Twitter as everyone else seems to be, that might possibly annoy them enough to get them to rethink their stance?

    The social media companies won’t do it, of course. But it’s fun to imagine.

  • Nullius in Verba (March 26, 2019 at 7:54 pm), if the cost threat seems high enough, some social media platform boycott might happen – but restricting social media in Europe is more of a feature than a bug to its rulers. Either resentment will take yellow-vest forms or it will be schadenfreude for Europe’s rulers. Of course, maybe Google will just offer Europe that dragonfly app they developed for the Chinese.

    It can’t be repealed but it can be innovated around and defied. (Mr Ecks, March 26, 2019 at 6:37 pm)

    The platform that can evade EU shutdowns or “who posted this” demands will certainly gain EU-located customers – but how they acquire advertisers of EU products to help pay for it is less clear.

  • Despite my suspicion of sinister motives above, I also suspect much stupidity. So, can we make them build a reference implementation? Might people stupid enough to think they should pass this law agree – like the pointy-haired boss in Dilbert – that their staff will of course build that, the law to commence being enforced as soon as it is there to invalidate social media platform excuses?

    One can hope. 🙂

  • I don’t understand the responses as they are written in German – though it would seem some Anglo-Saxon words have remained the same in both languages. 🙂

  • Nullius in Verba

    “but restricting social media in Europe is more of a feature than a bug to its rulers”

    It might determine who really does rule in Europe.

    The public mostly don’t care about this stuff. 95% probably don’t even know what the law is, or what effect it has. So what if a bunch of media companies have to pay a bit extra to police copyright? Everyone knows they’re super-rich, anyway!

    But everyone nowadays is addicted to their social media. Shut off everyone’s access to Facebook, and it’ll be like shutting of the supply of oxygen. Hundreds of millions of people who don’t even know what the words “censorship machine” mean will suddenly wake up one morning deprived of their cat gifs, and family photo albums, and their entire sad and vapid social lives. All they will know of the reason why is the message they see on the block page explaining they’re banned because of EU law, and here’s the address and phone number of the guys responsible. Sadly, they won’t be able to Tweet their outrage. They’ll be forced to bottle most of it up unexpressed. But I expect they’ll find ways to let government know what they think about it, even without violent insurrection.

    And then it will be down to the battle between the respective spin machines as to who gets the blame. Who currently has the worst public reputation: the EU or the social media company executives? Who will the public believe is at fault?

    They almost certainly won’t try it. The big companies often consider onerous regulation of their own industry to be an advantage. It keeps the competition out. Only they are big enough to afford the means to comply. But it’s interesting to speculate whether they actually could. Who has the greater power, nowadays?

    I gather Google News did actually do something like this when some countries (Spain?) introduced local laws to this effect. There was something about the local news producers demanding fees, so Google just delinked them all. Their traffic dropped 30%, and they surrendered.

    People have a perfect right to set a price on what they produce, but if it’s above the market rate then nobody will buy it. If the market rate is zero, because the competition outside Europe are providing essentially the same goods for free, then all that will happen is that nobody will buy their services. Simply obtain a list of everyone who charges for links, and never, ever link to them for anything. Find somebody not on the list, and link to them instead.

    And as for the requirement for platform providers to police uploads, that’s a perfect incentive for someone to provide an untraceable version on the P2P dark web. The music copyright people learnt that lesson, fighting all the pirate music sites and applications. If enough people want it, bans just result in the proliferation of organised crime to bypass the barriers to trade. The higher the barrier and the greater the public desire, the more organised crime prospers.

    The free market is always the best solution. If this law destroys the internet, then let it destroy the internet. Don’t even try to keep things working. Block it. Shut it off. And then people will have to decide whether they want the EU or the internet more.

  • William Newman

    Niall Kilmartin: With Saxonish, cognates, and loan words, I expect you can probably understand “der Fuck-up sind die konkreten Politiker, nicht das generelle Konstrukt (denke ich)” well enough to add it to the handy “that sounded better in [the original] German” trigger list.

  • bobby b

    Too funny:

    “Article 13 will wreck the internet because Swedish MEPs accidentally pushed the wrong voting button.

    (Boingboing article. It won by five votes. Three Swedes now say they pushed the wrong button when they voted.)

  • The European Commission only has to win once and it can never be repealed without the European Commission wishing it so.

    Can we leave yet?

  • John B

    Isn’t European Parliament voting merely ‘indicitive’ (le mot du jour) and has no legal standing?

    Only the EC can promulgate législation which must be approved by the Council of Ministers.

  • staghounds

    “Only they are big enough to afford the means to comply.”


  • Mary Contrary

    2002 was a different Copyright Directive. This one has been coming for nearly five years, which is long enough.

    And if you wanted out of this sort of thing, well you should have made sure to win the In/Out referendum…

  • Jack the dog

    Most of the social media hipsters whose lives will be destroyed are remainiac scum, so what’s not to like.

  • Mr Ed

    The EU has the Brezhnev Doctrine in all but name, once something is theirs, it remains in their orbit. The only way a Directive is removed is if it is replaced by a subsequent Directive, which sometimes isn’t so bad as its predecessor, but generally is.

    This Directive will not be repealed until the cannibal hordes eat their way through Brussels.

  • Paul Marks

    It is to be challenged in the European Court of Human Rights – I do not know what the result of that case will be.

    In theory, as the internet counts as “services” not physical “goods”, Mrs May could argue that the new CENSORSHIP campaign (which is what this so called “Copyright Directive” really is) does not apply in the United Kingdom if her “deal” goes ahead. But it is unlikely Mrs May will make a stand for Freedom of Speech – something the lady has never supported.

    The “bottom line” is this – the European Union and the “mainstream media” (i.e. the establishment leftists) are determined to destroy all dissent, both political and cultural dissent.

    Actual independence from the European Union would protect the British people from the creeping totalitarianism of the European Union – the “Brexit” of Mrs May, and now Jacob Rees-Mogg and others, properly will not do anything to prevent the creeping totalitarianism of the European Union applying to the United Kingdom.

    David Cullen (Computing Forever) and Carl Benjamin (Sargon) are good on these matters – they appear on YouTube, although the “Copyright Directive” will shut them down.

  • Sam Duncan

    “And if you wanted out of this sort of thing, well you should have made sure to win the In/Out referendum…”

    Yeah, funny thing, that. I could have sworn that we did…

    “In theory, as the internet counts as “services” not physical “goods”, Mrs May could argue that the new CENSORSHIP campaign (which is what this so called “Copyright Directive” really is) does not apply in the United Kingdom if her “deal” goes ahead.”

    Indeed. The directive comes under the “digital single market”. Remember that, folks, next time you see some Remainer wailing about the awful catastrophe of leaving it. But, as you say, she (or her successor) won’t bother. Apart from anything else, as long as the “deal” stands, HMG will be under enormous pressure to maintain “alignment“ even in areas it isn’t obliged to. Ask the Swiss.

    And yes, it absolutely is censorship. A11 is arguably worse than 13; it’s a direct assault on the very concept of hyperlinks. A link isn’t “usage” of copyright material any more than a book review or talking about a movie is. “<a href=”https://bbc.co.uk”>” doesn’t contain any copyright material at all; it just tells you where to find some.

    The irony is that the media giants who’ve pushed it are signing their own death warrants: they may end up with an oligopoly in the EU news market, but nobody will be listening because they can’t link to any of it.

  • Sam Duncan

    John Redwood, on his blog, this evening:

    Given new laws pending from the EU over repeating other media items I will delete [comments] that have long quotes or cross references to other sites as I have no wish to get entangled in any copyright issues.

    Slightly tongue-in-cheek I expect, since he’s had cause to complain before about long comments, and the Directive has yet to pass fully, let alone be “transposed” into domestic law. But when it does, what other choice will European bloggers have?

  • Nicholas (Unlicenced Joker) Gray

    At least Britain DOES have a chance to get out! Then you can repeal all this stuff, although I suspect that ALL governments like controls, so keep an eye on Westminster. I know it is hard to believe, but even British Governments can do bad things, not just Europe!

  • Stuart Noyes

    It was always meant to be democracy proof. The organisations created to control people have been numerous. The best ones are where the common people think they are free. Everyone has the vote but we are still controlled and the desires of powerful elites is still ruling us. There’s always someone who thinks they have the divine right.

  • Paul Marks

    No Nicholas Gray – we can NOT “repeal all this stuff”, but because the “Withdrawal Agreement” is about “Brexit” it is NOT about getting out of the European Union.

    “Brexit” is NOT about independence from the European Union, do people still not understand that? As the Prime Minister is fond of saying “Brexit means Brexit” – i.e. it does NOT mean independence.

    Sam Duncan is correct – even if one could legally interpret this bit of the “Withdrawal Agreement” to mean the SO CALLED “Copyright Directive” (which is really a massive censorship campaign) does not apply in the United Kingdom – the rest of the “Withdrawal Agreement” (an Orwellian named document – as it really keeps us IN the European Union) will mean that it will apply in the United Kingdom – it will be pushed as part of the “Digital Single Market” which is “good for business and jobs” according to the establishment elite, the people who want to utterly crush Freedom of Speech and see the PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA as a role model.

    That is the agenda of the establishment elite (both the politicians and the Civil Service and much of “Big Business” as well) – the censorship state of the People’s Republic of China.

    That is what the European Union (including the United Kingdom – which is NOT leaving the European Union, at least not in any real sense) is aiming at.

    The PRC is their goal – their objective. Accept that they (the establishment elite) want it on a WORLD SCALE.

    And “world” includes the United States – when President Trump goes (after the recession undermines his 2020 campaign) the Democrats will enforce world “governance” totalitarianism on the United States, and the Supreme Court (hello Chief Justice John Roberts) will go along with ripping up what is left of the Constitution of the United States – in favour of international treaties of TOTALITARIAN world “governance”.

  • Nullius in Verba

    In 2018, support in the European Parliament was led by the European People’s Party group and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, the parliament’s two largest groups. Major national parties in support include Germany’s ruling Christian Democratic Union and their coalition partners the Social Democratic Party, the United Kingdom’s ruling Conservative Party and opposition Labour Party, and Poland’s main opposition party, Civic Platform.”

    The UK did it.