While the proponents of Article 13 (now Article 17) such as the Macron regime are already pushing for the rapid implementation of Internet upload filters and putting pressure on Switzerland to adopt a similar set of rules (so as to avoid the relocation of many EU web servers to the non-EU member states in the heart of Europe), it may turn out soon that those people were simply jumping the gun. There are some dynamics, and this triply illegitimate piece of legislation can still be prevented from being passed into law if we all do what it takes. We'll see in the coming days whether the movement that opposed Article 13 (now Article 17) gets its act together. Most members of that movement apparently haven't understood the opportunities yet, but some have. There clearly are political and procedural ways to turn this around.
One of those who understand that no one is ever beaten unless he gives up the fight is Czech conservative MEP Tomáš Zdechovský. Here's what EURACTIV journalist Samuel Stolton reported on Twitter today, referring to a statement on Mr. Zdechovský's website, which relates to what I explained in my blog post on the accidental vote against allowing votes on amendments:
Czech MEP @TomZdechovsky has requested a new #copyright vote following 'mistakes' by MEPs on the votes for the consideration of amendments #Article11 #Article13: https://t.co/rBhnb6swP2— Samuel Stolton (@SamuelStolton) March 28, 2019
What's even better is the MEP's response to the question of whether such a "revote" has ever been done before by the EP:
Never. But is time to change it #betterEurope #eureform— Tomáš Zdechovský 🇨🇿 (@TomZdechovsky) March 28, 2019
This attitude makes all the difference in the world between winners and losers. While I have the greatest respect for the efforts that some key players made in the build-up to the EP vote, I disagree with those who suggest that MEPs who changed their votes merely wanted to avoid being held responsible for their decision. That's unsupported by the facts. I've looked at the list of MEPs who said they wanted to vote in favor of the introduction of amendments, and it's easy to verify that they include MEPs who have consistently been against Article 13. Also, there definitely was confusion: the President of the European Parliament himself got confused. It's unfair vis-à-vis those MEPs to insinuate that they're lying, and it's politically unwise since the illegitimacy of the bill is a fact we should stress, not something we should deny, much less deny on an implausible basis.
Just to be clear, Mr. Zdechovský correctly voted in favor of admitting amendments, as evidenced by the voting list prior to MEPs submitting changed positions.
As I explained right after the vote, if we merely prevented the German government from approving the bill in the EU Council prior to the late-May elections, the Parliament could ask for a restart of the process. That's what the Parliament requested in connection with software patents (the Commission declined, but then the Parliament threw out the entire bill). The "revote" request is an interesting new variant of the same approach.
What all of us can do in the meantime is to sign a change.org petition calling for a revote. I've already done so and encourage everyone to do the same, for the sake of 21st-century creativity, innovation, consumer choice, and democratic legitimacy.
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