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News > Germany

Germany: 'Save the Internet' Rallies Against EU Copyright Bill

  • People at the 'Save The Internet' demonstration in Berlin, Germany, March, 23, 2019.

    People at the 'Save The Internet' demonstration in Berlin, Germany, March, 23, 2019. | Photo: EFE

Published 23 March 2019

If the law is approved, platforms such as Facebook would have implement filters to avoid loading copyrighted content.

Thousands of people marched across Gemany's major cities Saturday against Articles 11 and 13 of the European Union (EU) copyright directives, which their detractors consider  a new form of a censorship or filter on Internet content.

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The demonstrations, which were part of a global mobilization called "Save the Internet," took place in Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, Munich, Potsdam, Hannover and Rostock. 

In Berlin, for instance, several thousand people went into the streets holding signs that read "This protest can't be displayed for copyright reasons," "Upload Calypse Now," "I'm Not A Robot," and "Error 404, Democracy Not Found," as reported by DPA.

The protests are directed against regulations that the European Parliament will likely vote on on March 26. 

Encouraged by the political coalition supporting the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the new European Directives have been officially justified as a means of adapting copyright to the digital era, a change which some EU politicians argue would guarantee fair remuneration for musicians, writers, journalists and others audiovisual content producers.

The proposed legal framework introduces changes to the current regulations and incorporates new rights for the digital use of content on the Internet. Basically, according to the EU Directives, YouTube, Instagram and other sharing platforms would have to install filters to catch copyright violations.

Internet users say this will limit their freedom of expression and content diffusion, since the filters imply a form of prior censorship.

“We know the Internet as a place where we can freely flourish, express our opinions, share content and inform ourselves independently. But that could change drastically very soon!,” the Save-the-Internet campaign states, adding that “upload filters are supposed to block everything we share on platforms when a copyright might be violated. However, error-prone filters that offer the possibility of manipulation are not the solution.”

Nevertheless, given that the EU rules would force Google and other online platforms to sign licensing deals with news publishers and journalists to use their work online, the proposed copyright changes were backed by 18 European news media organizations, which wrote in a letter that "The future of the free press lies in the hands of the EU legislators," as communicated by DPA.​​​​​​​

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