THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT has rejected plans to fast-track Articles 11 and 13, which critics say could have made memes illegal.
A crucial vote on the legislation has seen it thrown out by a majority of 318, against 278 in favour and 31 abstentions.
The Digital Single Market rules have faced scrutiny on both sides, with supporters like struggling skiffle musician Paul McCartney lobbying MEPs for its importance.
Ahead of Thursday's vote, Wikipedia sites across Europe are showed their contempt for the planned copyright reforms in the EU which would if enforced as presented, mean an end for fair use, remixes of songs, supercuts of movies and memes in general.
The not-for-profit site completely blocked access in Italy, whilst other sites carried dire warnings about the future of the site (which it says may have to close) and a call to action to turn back.
Article 11 and 13 would, critics say, have made it impossible to share content legitimately, and could even change the way search engines work. The legislation also includes plans for a 'copyright filter' on all uploaded content, regardless of its source.
With such technology still well in its infancy, it seems likely that anything that was installed would be liable to huge false positives, not to mention an almighty cost for larger users.
Copyright Directive: Our campaign in the European Parliament has succeeded. We won the vote to stop the text going forward for secret negotiations. The Directive will now be debated in September, and amendments may be put. pic.twitter.com/Cf7W9BGNlr— Gerard Batten MEP (@GerardBattenMEP) July 5, 2018
HUGE WIN today for #freespeech, #censorship and #copyright! The disastrous #Article13 is NOT getting fast tracked! This controversial law will now face far wider debate. MASSIVE THANK YOU and CONGRATS to everyone who contacted their MEPs!!! pic.twitter.com/KZv6FY7rUX— Open Rights Group (@OpenRightsGroup) July 5, 2018
Fortunately, it appears that the MEPs have seen sense. The bill will now be torn apart and put back together again (probably without Articles 11 and 13) for another reading in September. As such, this is the beginning of a new fight, not just the end of the old one.
Not everyone is as pleased. David El Sayegh, the SACEM Secretary-General, said: "This vote is a setback but it is not the end. SACEM remains dedicated to ensuring that creators are recognised and remunerated for the value of their work.
"We will not be discouraged by today's decision and will continue to mobilise the support of musicians and music lovers across the world, in the hopes of reaching a fair agreement with these platforms that will safeguard the future of the music industry.
"We are confident that the European Parliament will eventually support a framework that fully acknowledges the rights of creators in the digital landscape of the 21st century."
Whilst speaking for the victorious "no" campaign, Jim Killock, big kahuna at the Open Rights Group said: "Round one of the Robo-Copyright wars is over. The EU Parliament has recognised that machine censorship of copyright material is not an easy and simple fix.
"They've heard the massive opposition, including Internet blackouts and 750,000 people petitioning them against these proposals. "Everyone across Europe who wants this fixed will have to work hard to make sure that Parliament comes up with a sensible way forward by September.
"We congratulate our members for their hard work, and Julia Reda, Catherine Stihler, EDRi and others who have led the fight in Europe to stop these dreadful proposals."
Now let us celebrate by spending the afternoon making some ruddy hilarious gifs, eh? μ
We should be shocked, but...
But the search giant has now squashed the bug
But it's not yet available here in Blighty