Despite following this stuff for decades, sometimes even I’m surprised at the levels of intellectual dishonesty coming from those supporting bad copyright policy. The latest is that, despite widespread controversy and criticism over Article 13, some in the EU Parliament thought the appropriate strategy was to speed up the timeline to the vote on the Directive — specifically holding the vote before a massive EU-wide protest that is planned for March 23. Rather than recognize that millions of people across the EU are so up in arms over the problems in Articles 11 and 13, German Member of the EU Parliament, Manfred Weber, the leader of the powerful European People’s Party (EPP) simply proposed voting before the protests could even happen.
It’s been really quite incredible to see MEP Axel Voss — the main EU Parliament cheerleader for Articles 11 and 13 — making the rounds over the past few weeks to insist that all the complaints about the EU Copyright Directive are wrong. Just last week we saw him make incredibly misleading statements about which platforms were impacted by the law, leaving out that the minor exemption only applied to companies less than three years old. And now, his political group in the Parliament, EPP, has put out an astoundingly misleading interview with Voss, which makes claims that make me wonder if he even knows what’s in Article 13.
Volker Rieck runs a German anti-piracy operation, and over the last year or so has been an increasingly vocal — if somewhat unhinged — supporter of Article 13 and the EU Copyright Directive. I won’t link, but a few quick Google searches will find some examples of Rieck trying to build out conspiracy theories of big giant American internet companies secretly running the entirety of the anti-Article 13 push in Europe. You could say that some of them dip into red yarn on a corkboard territory. Of course, as we’ve discussed before, the idea that any attacks on Article 13 are all really because of Google has been a key part of the pro-Article 13 lobbying strategy from the beginning. Of course, as we’ve highlighted, if you look at the actual lobbying, it’s been almost entirely from legacy copyright organizations, with very little coming from the internet industry.