'In a stunning rejection of the will of five million online petitioners, and over 100,000 protesters this weekend, the European Parliament has abandoned common-sense and the advice of academics, technologists, and UN human rights experts, and approved the Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive in its entirety.
There’s now little that can stop these provisions from becoming the law of the land across Europe. It’s theoretically possible that the final text will fail to gain a majority of member states’ approval when the European Council meets later this month, but this would require at least one key country to change its mind. Toward that end, German and Polish activists are already re-doubling their efforts to shift their government’s key votes.
If that attempt fails, the results will be drawn-out, and chaotic. Unlike EU Regulations like the GDPR, which become law on passage by the central EU institutions, EU Directives have to be transposed: written into each member country’s national law. Countries have until 2021 to transpose the Copyright Directive, but EU rarely keeps its members to that deadline, so it could take even longer.
Unfortunately, it is likely that the first implementation of the Directive will come from the countries who have most enthusiastically supported its passage. France’s current batch of national politicians have consistently advocated for the worst parts of the Directive, and the Macron administration may seek to grab an early win for the country’s media establishment.
Countries whose polity were more divided will no doubt take longer. In Poland, politicians were besieged by angry voters wanting them to vote down the Directive, while simultaneously facing brazen denunciations from national and local newspaper owners warning that they would “not forget” any politician who voted against Article 11. The passing of the Directive will still leave that division between the Polish people and the media establishment, with politicians struggling to find a domestic solution that won’t damage their prospects with either group.
The rhetoric in Germany in the last few days was not much better. German politicians claimed with straight faces that the tech companies had paid this weekend’s protesters to march on the streets. Meanwhile, the Christian Democratic Union, Angela Merkel’s party, whose own Axel Voss as the ringleader for the Directive, put out a policy proposal that suggested it could implement Article 13 not with filters, but with a blanket licensing regime.
Legal experts have already said that these licenses won’t comply with Article 13’s stringent requirements – but it’s going to be hard for the CDU to walk back from that commitment now.'
Read more: EU’s Parliament Signs Off on Disastrous Internet Law: What Happens Next?