The End of All That's Good and Pure About the Internet | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

The End of All That's Good and Pure About the Internet

We regret to inform you that the internet is on red alert once again. On Wednesday, the EU’s Legislative Committee voted to adopt sweeping measures that will upend the web in every way that we know it. Memes, news, Wikipedia, art, privacy, and the creative side of fandom are all at risk of being destroyed or kneecapped.

By the time Americans woke up on Wednesday, the Legislative Committee had voted on the final form of the EU Copyright Directive—the first major update to European copyright law since 2001. Much of what’s in the legislation has been met with approval, but Article 11 and Article 13 are considered disastrous by some of the foremost tech experts in the world.

Explaining what’s wrong with these two points of the legislation in detail is difficult because the articles themselves are so vague. That’s the primary issue for critics. Both articles make unprecedented demands on anyone operating a popular website to monitor copyrighted material and to pay fees to news organizations when linking out to their articles. Defenders of the plan say that critics are exaggerating because of assumptions they’re making about how the legislation will be implemented. Critics, like one of the “fathers of the internet,” Vint Cerf, and the inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, say the risks outweigh the benefits. Who are you going to believe?

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