Mozilla Lobbying Against EU’s ‘Absurd’ Copyright Law Proposal

September 11, 2017 - Written By Dominik Bosnjak

Mozilla is publicly lobbying against the upcoming vote that the European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) is set to take on October 10, deciding whether to approve the proposal to change the copyright law of the European Union which Mozilla deems “a step backward” and a move that could negatively affect and limit Internet freedom and the general openness of the World Wide Web. The Mountain View, California-based company is now calling for the general public to resist the change and pressure the lawmakers on the Old Continent to vote against the controversial proposal which is seeking to reform the EU’s outdated copyright system but in a manner that Mozilla believes will make things worse for nearly everyone involved, including the tech industry and consumers.

Mozilla criticized many components of the Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications, including its amendment pass which envisions absolute content filtering spanning everything from commercial articles to pictures of pets on social media. The legislation would also mandate community-centric platforms like eBay and Github to actively and aggressively monitor all content users upload to their servers or face litigation, consequently requiring them to make significant financial commitments that many won’t be able to survive, Mozilla suggests. To oppose the initiative, the company created ChangeCopyright.org where it’s calling users to pressure their member states into voting down the controversial proposal and prevent the enactment of various amendments and provisions that Mozilla’s Senior EU Policy Manager Raegan MacDonald called “dysfunctional and borderline absurd.”

The Firefox creator isn’t the only major name in the tech industry that publicly criticized the EU’s potential copyright reform and pointed to many potential issues such a legislation could create if voted into force; advocacy group Allied for Startups claimed that the move could put an end to artificial intelligence (AI) and big data startups in its open letter publicized in late July, whereas a number of media organizations previously highlighted its provisions pertaining to the cost of accessing online platforms which should generally be considered as “free,” essentially forcing news outlets to not deny consumers access to their content even if they’re using ad-blocking tools. The latter point has the potential to put a portion of the media industry operating from the EU out of business, some industry watchers said earlier this year.

ChangeCopyright.org