On Friday, the EU Commission published a piece on Medium that suggested that Google has taken over the minds of millions of citizens, rendering them incapable of thinking for themselves in their opposition of Article 13. The piece was later deleted with a note implying that people simply aren't capable of understanding the subtle nuances of the English language.
Last week the European Parliament and European Council agreed on the final text of the EU Copyright Directive. Supporters of Article 13 say this will lead to a better deal for the entertainment industries at the expense of Google’s YouTube, since it will have to obtain proper licenses for content uploaded to platform, while taking responsibility for infringing uploads. Opponents, on the other hand, believe that the Article 13 proposals will be bad news for the Internet as a whole, since they have the potential to stifle free speech and expression, at the very least. It’s important to note that Article 13 opponents come in all shapes and sizes, some more militant than others. However, last Friday the EU Commission took the ‘one size fits all approach’ by labeling every dissenting voice as being part of a “mob”, one groomed, misinformed and misled by Google.
Given that the Commission’s own Code of Conduct mandates that “both Commissioners and Commission staff are bound to act objectively and impartially”, the publication of the piece was a real surprise. That it also appeared to demean and devalue the public protests of millions of its own citizens bordered on the outrageous. Proponents and opponents of any pending legislation should be free to undermine the position of their opponents by any legal, non-violent means, but this intervention by the EU seemed flat-out wrong.