WEBSITES ACROSS Europe have fallen silent for the day as part of a protest against forthcoming digital copyright legislation from the European Union.
Wikipedia's feeds in European languages have gone dark (the English version is still up for practical reasons), whilst Reddit is showing a splash screen inviting people to contact their MEP.
Pornhub, the world's biggest user-generated porn site, is showing a protest banner on its home page, as is Twitch.
The backbone of the protests involves Article 13, which clamps down on copyright avoidance in such a way that it would make user-generated content almost impossible, and memes a thing of the past.
Article 11 would affect sites like INQ hugely as it will require us to pay a charge if we link to another site, which would effectively charge us a tax for every news story that someone else got to first.
Most now believe that the only way that Article 13 could work is if content filters actually block uploads that are detected as possibly violating the new laws. Aside from the practicalities and false positives, this would effectively create the infrastructure for a "great firewall" like that in China, across a whole continent.
The EU isn't looking at that application, but once it's in place, there's very little to stop it being instigated down the line if the wrong people held the balance of power.
Protests are also taking place across the parts of Europe that aren't already preoccupied with a constitutional crisis. These will continue on Monday and Tuesday, right up to the final EU vote.
At a time when our attention in the UK is firmly focused on other Europe related matters, it is vitally important that we don't let this slip through. Although there are doubts that it will pass, it still could, and it would change the way that Europeans interact with the internet, and that's a very bad thing.
Get involved at saveyourinternet.eu/act. μ
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