The European Parliament elections are a bit over seven months away and EU
legislators are struggling to squeeze through a few more reforms, before
their time expires. In practice deals need to be wrapped up by February the
latest, otherwise parliament won’t have time to vote on them during their
final plenary session in April. We’ll take you through the open files.
Dimi & Michele
=== EMFA ===
The European Media Freedom Act wants to improve freedom of the press in the
EU through measures such as protections for journalists’ sources and
ensuring public service announcements money is spent in a fair and
The European Parliament officially adopted its position
<https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2023-0336_EN.pdf> the 3rd
of October by adopting in plenary the report of the Culture and Education
Committee (CULT). This is good news for us, as the new recital 35a of the
(AM 48) contains an explicit carveout for online encyclopaedias and
educational and scientific repositories from the scope of Article 17 (see
pages 40-41). Not-for-profit projects are not in the scope of the
obligations in the Commission proposal and the Council position, but the
parliament edited the text in a way that it had inadvertently included
them, hence we asked for a clarification. If Wikipedia and its sister
projects were to fall within the scope of this directive, content
moderation of content provided by media outlets would have become legally
Going to the three-way negotiations between Council, Parliament and
Commission, we believe that this file will see the light of day, i.e. will
be passed during this legislative term. Negotiations started straight after
the vote in Strasbourg and the first meeting took place the 17thof October.
Two are the main points we will focus our attention on: 1) the exclusion
from the scope of Article 17 and 2) Article 4 that deals with the
deployment of spyware against journalists and their sources.
The regulation laying down rules to prevent and combat child sexual abuse
has the intention to set up a system that allows law enforcement, online
services and civil society to detect and remove child sexual abuse material
and online grooming. Wikimedia content is open, so anyone can already scan
or go through our content, which is why this part of the proposal is of
lesser concern to us. However, the pomme de discorde is a provision that
would force online services to scan all interpersonal communication. A
measure we believe is not-proportionate and have voiced this concern,
although our projects don’t offer such functionality.
As of mid-October there was no deal in Council on a common position and to
start negotiations with the Parliament. The staunchest opposing voices are
from Germany, Austria and Poland, however France, the Netherlands,
Portugal, Sweden, the Czech Republic and Belgium apparently also share some
concerns. If the deadlock is not resolved soon, this file might be pushed
to the next parliament’s agenda.
=== Anti-SLAPP Directive ===
The proposal, which was published in April 2022, aims at protecting persons
who engage in public participation from manifestly unfounded or abusive
court proceedings that present a cross-border aspect. The acronym stands
for strategic litigation against public participation.
Currently there are no common EU rules, the Directive, if passed, will
offer some protection “by developing a common EU understanding on what
constitutes a SLAPP and by introducing procedural safeguards”. More
specifically, it will “provide courts with effective means to deal with
SLAPPs and targets with the means to defend themselves.”
Both Council and Parliament adopted their respective positions and trilogue
negotiations are currently taking place, alongside technical meetings.
able to integrate the requests of journalists, activists, human right
defenders and NGOs by widening the protection offered to them, Council’s
was quite conservative. In this sense, national governments deleted some
fundamental Articles: Article 4 (Matters with cross-border implications),
Article 10 (Stay of the main procedure), Article 11 (Accelerated procedure)
and Article 15 (Compensation of damages).
We have engaged within CASE (Coalition against SLAPPs in Europe),
especially after the SLAPP case in Portugal
One of our main goals is to have a wide definition of what constitutes a
cross-border case, as in the Parliament’s position. The latter reconognised
the ubiquitous nature of the Internet and asked for the recognition of the
transnational nature of the acts of public participation taking place
online, offering them full protection.
For the time being one trilogue took place the 9th of October. In addition,
several technical meetings have taken, or are foreseen to take place before
the last open-ended trilogue, which is scheduled for the 29th of November.
It is nevertheless unlikely that this will be the last one.
=== Directive combating gender-based violence ===
The goal of this file is to reach an agreement for the setting of EU
minimums with regard to cybercrime like revenge porn and online harassment.
The new directive would criminalise certain forms of online violence, such
as cyber-stalking, cyber-harassment and “revenge porn”, across the bloc. It
wants to strengthen the victims’ access to justice and rights to
appropriate protection and improve coordination and cooperation between the
national and EU-levels.
Council and Parliament started the inter-institutional negotiations. A
trilogue meeting took place in October and two other meetings are scheduled
for November and December. Some Member States and lawmakers are weary of
criminalising some of these practices, as they believe it would cast too
wide a net. Negotiations are likely to conclude successfully, but the clear
delimitation and definition of practices to be criminalised will be key.
===Cyber Resilience Act===
The CRA wants to up Europe’s game when it comes to the safety of software
and online products. It will impose a set of obligations on producers and
distributors of software products, which might have adverse effects on free
& open source software. Which is why we are following the file and have
taken a position together with EDRi and the FSFE.
The trilogues are ongoing. The European Parliament committees have approved
in September. The Council's negotiating position
is also available. There is a free and open source carve out there in
Recital 10 on page 9.
The topic is very controversial, as it will make some participants in the
chain of development more liable. Currently two sentences are attracting a
lot of discussion: “This Regulation applies to free and open-source
software only where such software is made available on the market in the
course of a commercial activity.” and “The sole act of hosting free and
open-source software on open repositories does not in itself constitute
making available on the market. As such, most package managers, code
hosting and collaboration platforms should not be considered to be
distributors within the meaning of this Regulation.”
The question of liability for software and its code is complicated, messy
and spread across four different files (CRA, Product Liability Directive,
AI Act, AI Liability Directive). The risk is that the EU will end up with
incompatible or even contradictory provisions. A more general approach
would have been desirable. The CRA is likely to be adopted in this term.
Wikimedia Europe ivzw
About a week ago, the annual report "Swedes and the Internet" of 2023 was
It is a comprehensive report by the Swedish Internet Foundation, with a
statistically representative selection of the Swedish population. The
report has included Wikipedia for many years, but this year, for the first
time I believe, it includes a specific chapter on Swedes' use of Wikipedia.
It would be really interesting to know if there are similar surveys and
reports from other countries. I'm thinking that, if there is, it would be
interesting to compile those surveys and see what general trends are
similar across countries. I think that it could eventually be an
interesting way of getting insights into similarities and differences in
readers' use of Wikipedia.
So I suppose my question is if you know of similar national surveys from
your countries and contexts, on how and by whom Wikipedia is used?
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