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Politicians mistakenly vote the wrong way in controversial internet law

Members of the European Parliament appear to have materially affected the future of the internet by mistakenly voting the wrong way.

In a clear case of “What does this button do?” several members of the European Parliament appear to have materially affected the future of the internet by mistakenly voting the wrong way.

The Guardian reports that 13 MEPs voting on the European Copyright Directive later said that they’d voted the wrong way and asked for their votes to be changed.

The European Copyright Directive is a ground-shaking regulation that could change the way we use the internet in Europe. There are two especially controversial articles in the Directive – 11 and 13 – that have internet rights advocates up in arms. The articles change the way that people share links and upload content online.

Article 11 is known as the link tax. It enables news sites to charge a fee to other sites that reproduce their work, or simply block links from those sites altogether. It means in principle that newspapers can charge sites like Google, which aggregates content for Google News, for reproducing just a few words of their headline or copy.

This sounds like a good idea for those who believe that original content producers should be paid for their work, but there are critics, as Cory Doctorow points out in this article for the EFF.

For example, it could unbalance the content landscape by paving the way for license agreements between large publishers, he warns. They could freely allow each other to aggregate or link to each others’ content while blocking smaller players. It could also blow up non-profit sites like Wikipedia, they worry, or enable information publishers to censor those who criticize their work.

Article 13 forces websites hosting user-generated content to block people from uploading copyrighted material without permission. Politicians have introduced it to stop people pilfering material like films and songs online without paying the original producer.

This seems fair, on the surface, yes?

Not according to some. One concern about the upload restrictions, for example, is that actually enforcing it without using filters is impossible. The worry is that (notoriously inaccurate) content filtering mechanisms would punish legitimate uploaders by detecting them as false positives, and that the websites couldn’t properly handle requests to fix the problem.

Poorly designed filters could also let illegitimate uploads slip through the net, worry critics. The surfacing of bootleg movies on Facebook has been a case in point.

MEP were confused about what they were voting for

The MEPs weren’t voting on the entire Directive. They were voting on whether to allow a set of amendments. Had that vote passed, they could then have had a separate vote on whether to change these two articles.

The MEPs asked for their votes to be changed, which would have altered the vote’s outcome and led to the crucial vote on the articles – but the European Parliament refused their request. So the future of the European internet could come down to a bunch of politicians that couldn’t work their voting buttons properly.

In any case, this program doesn’t seal the deal for the Directive. It must now be approved by the European Council, which will vote this month. Then, member states have two years to implement the Directive in their own laws.


Good thing they found some really smart and qualified people to be responsible for creating rules about technology.


Mehh, so much of the media is (I guess always has been) propaganda for a financial agenda. There is so little journalist integrity “that makes it to the front of mainstream news”, it’s not worth viewing most of the time.
Which is why I like the news feed here, its not as big as CNN, but it’s informative, engaging and accepts input and corrections from its readers. It’s still to promote an agenda – engaging security industry people to promote it’s product, but its a far cry from the manipulative opinion pieces that big news agencies try to pass on as news.


” So the future of the European internet could come down to a bunch of politicians that couldn’t work their voting buttons properly.”
While true, I am a person that misinterprets things consistently on forms; do I sign above or below the dotted line? It’s 50/50 in my case. Although I did and can do mathematics classes with good grades, my wife had to consistently go back and correct my application forms at a certain college :):).
I, of course, blame the people that write the forms; or in this case, proposed laws.


It’s not a directive. It’s a diktat from the European dictatorship. As such, it has zero democratic legitimacy.


“So the future of the European internet could come down to a bunch of politicians that couldn’t work their voting buttons properly. ”
Perhaps the voting machines should be easier to use… Or is it the language of the question that was posed to the polititians?


> mistakenly vote the wrong way

Please don’t deride these poor politicians. I once did the same.
The waiter asked “what would you like for dessert?”
I meant to say ice cream, but I accidentally said “liver and onions.”



Sort of a shining example of the “you had one job” videos all over YouTube.
All the A.I. in the world will never cure humanity’s largest issue, describable in the past six decades or so by the acronym


With every stupid action of the European Parliament, including its “mistakes,” it should become more evident that it doesn’t have anyone’s interests in mind, but their own. It is literally too big to care. The EU will fail. This vote will be remembered as pivotal in that failure.


It’s actually more sinister than that. As I understand it, they vote for a number of motions at once, and had a running order. So they would normally work out vote 1, press green, vote 2 press red, etc etc. as so many are done together. Another vote was inserterd right at the last minute which upset that running order, which was the reason they pressed the wrong button – they thought it was a vote on something else.

I leave it to others to decide if cock up or conspiracy


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