The Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, which operates Wikipedia, the world's largest online repository of free knowledge, believe that the European Union's proposed copyright directive is a threat to essential human freedoms. If passed, it would limit free expression, and cause serious harm to collaboration and diversity online.
Over the last few months, the Wikimedia Foundation has been watching developments around new proposed copyright laws in Europe very closely.
On June 20, the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament voted to support proposed copyright laws that, if enacted, will significantly limit the openness of the internet, diminishing the ability of people around the globe to access knowledge, while stifling innovation and imposing what we believe will be unreasonable costs on new or smaller websites. We expressed our opposition to these proposals at the time, and the Wikimedia Foundation -- along with many in the Wikimedia movement—advocated against them. We now do so again as we approach July 5th, which will be another critical moment in the legislative process as the issue comes up for a vote once again.
The Wikimedia Foundation and its projects exist to harness the power of a free and open web to make knowledge more accessible for everyone. Our mission to create a world where everyone can share in the sum of human knowledge requires a web in which all people can freely collaborate to create and access knowledge.
This flawed EU copyright proposal contradicts that vision.
Instead of truly modernizing copyright for Europe and promoting everyone's participation in information society, the proposal threatens freedom online and creates new obstacles to access by imposing new barriers, filters, and restrictions.
We are committed to remaining a strong advocate and partner for enabling society's ability to share and curate knowledge in free and open spaces.
Now is the time to stand up for the free and open internet.
Today we, as Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, unanimously and strongly, urge the European Parliament and Council to oppose the proposed directive in its current version and stand on the side of the people in Europe. Please read the Wikimedia Foundation's statement on EU copyright reform and take action at ChangeCopyRight.org.
On behalf of the Board, María Sefidari, 29 June 2018