- Members of the European Parliament have stated that they voted in favor of article 13 by accident
- According to them, the question was poorly-framed
- Their votes, unfortunately, cannot be recalled
On March 26, 2019, It was reported that the European Parliament had voted on the Copyright Directive, a piece of legislation which would update European Copyright laws for the internet.
The most controversial part of the directive was a portion dubbed ‘Article 13’. Article 13 essentially required that content viewing platforms prevent the uploading of copyrighted material by their users and could be penalized for failing to do so.
The reason it was controversial was that it would strengthen the monopoly that is already held by big platforms such as YouTube because smaller competitors wouldn’t be able to afford the manpower or software to ensure that there was no copyright violation.
Now, it has been reported on March 27, 2019, that the vote to uphold Article 13 might have been by accident.
The vote in question was not passed unanimously but rather went through by five votes. Now, some members of parliament from Sweden have stated that they didn’t mean to vote of the legislation and tapped on the wrong button.
They claim that their intention was only to open a debate on the subject and regret the outcome. While it would seem odd that a member of the European Parliament would vote on legislation by pushing the wrong button, the outdated method of voting has to be taken into account.
First, one must consider the way the question was framed. Members of parliament were asked to vote in favor of voting down in favor of passing the entire Copyright Directive bill without any further debate. The vote was, in essence, to not refrain from voting on articles 13 and 11 and instead pass the entire directive at once. What they thought they were voting on was to not vote on the entire bill being passed without review.
This, on its own, would be confusing to most people, even members of the European Parliament. Unfortunately, it seems that the votes cannot be changed or recalled and that motion will pass.
This does go to show the flawed nature of the political system when a bill that will affect all of Europe is passed due to poor framing of a question and the pushing of the wrong button.