Saturday, 7 October 2017

You Can Make A Difference: MEPs Will Debate Copyright Law on 10/10/17. Write To Them.

Me on social media - cartoon by Wendy Cockcroft for On t'Internet
On 10th October 2017, the JURI (Legal Affairs) committee in the European Parliament will vote on future copyright law. You have the ability to influence their vote on the five issues they will be debating this Tuesday.

Why this matters

It's a sad fact that German Pirate Julia Reda does a better job of representing me in the European Parliament than my own MEPs do because we share the same outlook where personal freedom and social responsibility are concerned. See her detailed blog post on where we're at with copyright reform in the EU to date.

Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge has also been discussing this on his own blog, Privacy News Online. If it all seems a bit wonk-y to you, this is what's at stake:

Basically, if the copyright lobbyists get what they want you'll have to ask for permission to use the flippin' internet to do the things you usually do every day online. I'd have to ask for permission from newspapers to link to articles I'm arguing about here in On t'Internet. Are you happy with that? If you think the Pirate hype is overblown please educate yourself — and be prepared to answer the questions above. Please note, blithe handwaving doesn't count as an answer.

My message to the MEPs

The best and most effective way to prove you're not a political bot of some kind is to personalise your message to the MEPs. I used my Twitter usage and blogging to make my case:

Dear members of the Legal Affairs Committee,

I understand you're going to hold a vote on reforming copyright on 10th October. I'm a call centre worker living in the UK who runs a blog called "On t'Internet" (linked in the image below) where I write about politics and issues affecting the internet and internet users. I'm also an active user of Twitter. Bearing this in mind I'm concerned about the issues you're planning to debate because it would affect my ability to express myself online.

The mandatory upload filtering would affect my ability to debate my political views online; I'm in favour of liberalising copyright since it affects my blogging and my social media use. Having my uploads checked and held for moderation, which the filtering would entail, would prevent me from illustrating the points I make in real time.

The link tax, where we pay or ask for permission to link, would cause the same problems on social media and would also affect my blogging. As a small operator who makes no money from her blog I'd have to think twice before linking to the articles I'm discussing in my posts. These proposals are basically censorship since I would have to ask for permission to link to or discuss the articles relevant to my interests.

I'd also be affected by the proposals for mandatory freedom of panorama (nobody can own a view) and freedom to remix. Again, as a blogger, I sometimes talk about my holidays. Why should I pay to take a photo of myself standing at the Leaning Tower of Pisa? Why should that be held for moderation to see if it's copyright to someone else or not? Basically, I'd have to ask for permission or get a licence to talk about my holidays, and wouldn't be able to discuss them in real time!

Please consider my points in your debate on Tuesday 10th October.

Yours sincerely,

Wendy Cockcroft

Take Rick's advice: we don't have to address all the points. I left data mining out because I don't use it but the other issues would directly affect me on a personal level and I need them to understand that.

Okay, your turn

Rick Falkvinge says:

Read more over at Christian Engström, who has links in turn about what these different proposals mean, and pick one or two subjects you’re passionate about. Then, write to JURI, the Legal Affairs committee: this mailing (“mailto”) link will create a mail to all 46 delegates of JURI for you, where you can express your points.

I'd add, "Read what Julia Reda has to say about it too." So... what are you waiting for? Please write to the MEPs on the JURI committee today.

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