- Several sites including Wikipedia were switched off today in protest at new law
- The controversial EU Copyright Directive will go before a final vote on March 26
- Sites could have to install tech that scans content for copyright infringement
- Reddit, PornHub and Twitch joined protest by posting banners on homepage
Several websites across Europe including Wikipedia were switched off today as part of a mass protest against contentious copyright laws being proposed by the European Union.
A number of popular sites across the web are ‘going dark’ and blocking access in parts of Europe for 24 hours in a last ditch attempt to stop new ‘web censorship’ rules ahead of a final vote on March 26.
The EU Copyright Directive would make the platforms, including Instagram and YouTube, responsible for any copyright infringement by users.
A majority of EU countries backed an overhaul of the bloc’s copyright rules last month which could force Google and Facebook to filter out copyright-protected content on their platforms – including YouTube and Instagram – and pay publishers for news snippets.
Most controversially, article 13 of the law could force sites to install filters that automatically stop users from posting copyright-protected content to avoid falling foul of the new rules.
Article 13 has been dubbed the ‘meme ban’ as these filters could block many images and GIFs even though they have been used as parodies and so are exempt from copyright law.