We’re constantly in awe of what redditors can accomplish when they join forces, from raising money for children’s hospitals to shutting down the “inevitable” SOPA/PIPA. Today, European redditors, along with other concerned EU netizens, helped do the impossible once more. Thanks to the ruckus they raised with their Members of the European Parliament, the flawed EU Copyright Directive has been sent back to the drawing board, ending (for now) the threats to subject all user uploads to automated content filtering, and require licensing fees for all links.
There is no mistake that it was people power that made this happen. Before the vote, MEP Catherine Stihler of Scotland noted that she had received a petition signed by a million people against the changes. Other MEPs noted the deluge of calls and letters that they had received leading up to the vote.
This outpouring of activism about what most people would have considered a dull procedural vote would not have been possible without the awareness and urgency (and, yes, super-dank memes) that members of the Reddit community raised, and we’d like to particularly congratulate r/Europe for leading the way. They hosted informative AMAs with MEP Julia Reda and Europe’s leading independent experts on copyright reform, they kept everyone up to date on vote progress and outcomes (check out their tally of the July 5th vote to see how your MEP voted), and they used megathreads to keep us all in the loop about what was happening and how to help.
This isn’t over yet. The really important thing about this vote is that it takes what would have been pushed through into law behind closed doors and opens it up to a more public debate process, where citizens have the ability to weigh in, share their views, and build a compromise that protects rightsholders without imperiling free expression.
The next vote will likely be on 10 September, and the coming weeks are critical to ensuring that the MEPs charged with hammering out amendments and drafting that compromise hear from their constituents. To keep informed about the process and learn what you can personally do during this time, be sure to check out the Save Your Internet Campaign.