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13 MEPs voted incorrectly on EU Copyright Directive

Written by Laura Cannon- Solent University student on 29 March 2019

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Shockingly more than 10 members of European parliament (MEPs) accidentally voted the wrong way on a key amendment to the new European Copyright Directive which was passed following the Vote on Tuesday 26th March 2019. The directive was passed with 348 votes in favour and 274 votes against with 24 abstentions.

However due to the recent publication of the official voting records by the EU it has been disclosed that 13 MEPs accidentally voted the wrong way in a previous decision on whether to allow an amendment to the proposed law. The records show that 10 MEPs accidentally rejected the amendment when they meant to approve it, two MEPs accidentally approved the amendment and one MEP says he intended not to vote at all. If the 10 MEPs had voted correctly there would have been further votes on whether the new directive should include the most controversial aspects of the new law, articles 15 and 17.

These articles have been highly criticised by ‘internet freedom activists and tech companies’ such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple who have criticised article 15 as it will only allow search engines to display individual words and short extracts of content. Article 17 has also been highly criticised by these companies as it will ensure that online platforms are held liable for infringing content hosted on their sites. It has been argued that this article will result in the need for content filters which will only be possible for large companies to carry out effectively.  A spokesperson for Google has stated that the directive “will lead to legal uncertainty and hurt Europe’s creative and digital economies.”

It will be interesting to see what happens next after this revelation, but it is likely that many will feel that this mistake shows a lack of competence on the behalf of the MEPs whose job it is to vote on a regular basis on many issues, it raises questions as to how this could have occurred.

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