11:15 - 12:15
Stop the Censorship Machines! How can we prevent mandatory upload filters in the EU?

Short thesis

Upload filters are one of the biggest threats to an open and free internet. They choke freedom of expression, hurt creativity, and undermine our privacy. They damage things the EU and its Member States value very much and protect by law. And yet, mandatory upload filters are right now being proposed in the EU copyright reform. But it’s not over yet. Together with you we want to develop plans on how to raise awareness and stop what we call 'censorship machines'.


After more than a decade, the European Commission has finally come forward with a proposal to reform copyright. Unfortunately, the proposal fails to bring copyright into the 21st century. Most concerning is an ACTA-esque proposal that would make platforms hosting User Generated Content liable for the actions of their users and mandate filter systems, designed to scan all of our uploaded content before it even shows up online. Should this be implemented as currently proposed, Europe would introduce nothing less than an automated, distributed censorship infrastructure.

If we don’t act now, the web we know and love will be broken, creativity and expression stifled, all in the name of more copyright protection. The consequences of such a draconian measure would extend far beyond copyright, as uploading, remixing, and sharing content online will be easier to quell, whether you’re posting a meme or a political commentary. Copyright is already being abused in countless cases to achieve things it was never meant for, especially for silencing critical voices online. Forced automation of filtering would worsen the situation tremendously. Together with experts and attendees, Mozilla and Wikimedia Germany will unpack what this proposal means, and how we can stop it.