Estonian Wikipedia protests EU plans to curtail Internet freedom ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Estonia's Wikipedia authors blocked access to the encyclopaedia early on Wednesday morning.
Estonia's Wikipedia authors blocked access to the encyclopaedia early on Wednesday morning. Source: Wikipedia

Estonia's Wikipedia authors and editors are protesting against the European Parliament's vote on the next steps towards a changed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market scheduled for tomorrow Thursday. They have shut down the encyclopaedia, and are warning of serious consequences for the freedom of the Internet should the measure be approved.

The virtual protest of Estonia's Wikipedia authors and editors started in the early morning of 4 July, and will last until the result of the vote is announced tomorrow July 5.

"The planned changes would serve most of all the interests of large corporations, and would leave the promise unfulfilled to harmonise intellectual property legislation with the principles of the distribution of information in the digital age," they wrote.

The EU's planned amendments to the new directive, initially welcomed on all sides, have been subject to plenty of amendments in committee that will vastly increase the pressure on all those organisations and websites that depend on the free sharing of certain information, Wikipedia among them.

For instance, linking directly to media sources such as newspaper articles and the like would in many cases become impossible. Google and other search engine providers would in future have to disregard websites and also Wikipedia articles that illegally source such content.

"Instead of a strong defence of the freedom of panorama and public property, we are getting a censorship machine and linking fees. We are expressing our protest in solidarity with the Wikipedia movement, all the issues of Wikipedia that are participating in this blockade, and with all Internet users around the world," chairwoman of Wikipedia Estonia, Eva Lepik wrote.

The blockade, now in effect across various countries, started in Italy on 3 July. Spain, Latvia and Estonia followed early on July 4.

Along with hundreds of organisations, opinion leaders, journalists, and politicians, Wikipedia Estonia as well as Internet Society Estonia are protesting against the measure. Tomorrow 5 July, the European Parliament will vote on the next steps towards the directive, which are to start negotiations with member states about the eventual scope and wording of the changes.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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