YouTube CBO, Open Rights Group, and Wikimedia express concerns for internet freedom

4 September 2018

YouTube’s Chief Business Officer, Robert Kyncl, has written a blogpost in support of the #SaveYourInternet and ChangeCopyright campaigns. Kyncl highlights concerns behind article 13, claiming that “it could have severe, negative consequences for the fans, the communities and the revenue you have all worked so hard to create”. The blogpost urges openness of the internet, providing a personal anecdote of Kyncl’s experience growing up in then-soviet Czechoslovakia.

The post comes amidst similar opposition to the proposed reform from the Open Rights Group, again raising concerns regarding internet freedom in the face of article 13. The post, by Mike Morel, claims that article 13 will lead to liability for internet platforms, upload filters, and the introduction of general monitoring. Concluding, Morel notes that “[w]e need a copyright reform which does not sacrifice fundamental human and digital rights”.

Wikimedia Foundation Chair, María Sefidari Huici, has also urged European Parliamentarians to consider “the needs of th[e] silent majority online”. In particular, they highlight how arguments have been reduced to rightsholders vs “internet giants” (such as Google, Facebook etc.), whilst ignoring the plethora of other websites that will potentially be impacted. The post encourages policy-makers to maintain the openness and accessibility of the internet, expressing concern over the introduction of filtering obligations, and the need for the protection of public domain status works.