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European Parliament votes to reject controversial Copyright Directive proposal

In a dramatic turn of events, the European Parliament has today voted to reject the compromise position on the controversial draft DSM Copyright Directive, which was adopted by the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) of the European Parliament on 20 June 2018. A debate on the draft Directive by the whole European Parliament is now set to take place on 10-13 September 2018.

The background to today’s vote is that, as announced immediately after the JURI Committee vote on 20 June, the Committee’s decision was challenged by a group of 84 MEPs led by Greens vice-Chair Julia Reda and three parliamentary political groups. To do this, they triggered the Rule 69c (2) paragraph 1 of the Rules of Procedure of the European Parliament. As a result, the Committee decision to proceed with negotiations with the Council and the Commission on the basis of the adopted report was put to the vote.

The negotiation mandate was ultimately revoked by the Parliament, with 318 votes out of 627 MEPs against the opening of the interinstitutional negotiations, 278 in favor and 31 abstentions. It is now for the whole Parliament to examine the controversial provisions, and eventually decide to open the interinstitutional negotiations.

The vote was preceded by a short speech held by rapporteur Voss in support of the Committee’s decision to adopt the report and open the interinstitutional negotiations. He stressed the need to better support European artists, and blamed the large internet platforms, which he deems should be made liable for the content uploaded by their users, instead of the users themselves.

The rapporteur of the associated Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) Catherine Stihler then used the couple minutes of speech time she was granted to criticize the suggested compromise agreement, noting that the text adopted by the JURI Committee does not take into account the remarks and suggestions made by the IMCO Committee, and specifically the concerns raised with regard to Article 13 and the harm that the provision could cause to internet users. She also evoked some of the numerous criticisms against the report (here and here for example), which she deems “does not achieve the needed balance”. She further relayed the concerns of almost a million people who signed a petition against the report, and then called on the Parliament to reject the negotiation mandate granted by the JURI Committee on 20 June in order to have a “broad, fact-based debate in September” with all the 751 MEPs.

We are following the progress of the draft Copyright Directive closely on LimeGreen IP. Read our earlier blog on the JURI’s compromise position that was rejected today here. We will keep you informed when the next vote happens in September.