Against the EU directive on internet freedom – Yanis Varoufakis | DiEM25

Hello, this is Yanis Varoufakis. I’m speaking to you from Athens with a very pressing message regarding the substance, the essence of our democracy. Two weeks ago more or less, the European Parliament voted for new legislation that I’m sure you’re all familiar with. Legislation that endangers online freedom for all of us. It is the so-called Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. Well this new “directive”, as the European Union in its eurospeak calls it, falls well short of what we need to do to modernize our outdated intellectual property rights. The goal of every meaningful copyright reform legislation should be to strike a fair balance between the rights of creators and the rights of users. There is no such thing as purely private production of anything. Everything we create is socially produced. It is in the end the outcome of collective endeavor, without ever denying the opportunity to those who actually do things, great things, who participate this social creation to make a decent living out of it. So many more people are able to publish books, create music, explore the creative instincts of humanity, more than ever before and that is a fantastic thing. Now this new copyright law is making every online platform older than three years directly liable for every copyright infringement that their users commit. The analogy to the offline world would be to make a highway company directly liable for every speeding driver. The only way for an online platform to deal with this risk, with this liability, is to filter every text, every picture and every video before it’s even uploaded. This upload filter is technology that we so far only know in authoritarian regimes. It’s a wake-up call for all of us and also for many European political parties, politicians, activists. Covering behind the facade of caring about the little people, producers of poetry, of music videos, of texts, the oligarchy is enforcing upon all citizens a form of censorship That really has no place in our democracies. Now many have warned against this, even the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, David Kaye, warned the European Parliament not to proceed with such a draconian piece of legislation every technologist, every user of the internet can see the dangers, the authoritarianism implicit in this legislation. There is still one final opportunity to prevent the adoption of this dangerous censorship instrument in Europe. And this is why I’m now speaking to you. On April 15 the Council of the European Union has to agree this copyright directive. Germany seems to me to be the swing vote. It can single-handedly prevent this law from being adopted. Therefore Chancellor Angela Merkel, I’m calling upon you to listen to the people, to listen to German citizen, to European citizens, and ask your minister – your agricultural minister, it’s very weird isn’t it that the European Union should leave such a gigantically important matter to an agricultural minister – to instruct the agricultural minister or whoever it takes to protect our fundamental right to freedom of speech, expression and using online tools. Balancing the property rights and the capacity to earn a living of creators in the digital universe that we’ve created With the political freedom to express oneself, especially by politically active individuals, is not an easy affair. It will never be easy. This EU legislation is striking the wrong balance. We need a new balance. It won’t be easy, as the Böhmermann trickery of 2015 with a famous middle finger has confirmed, but that is the lesson we have to learn. So, Chancellor Merkel, we’ve had our disagreements, now you’re on your way out of the chancellery. Please do not leave behind another negative legacy. This is a question that is too important to be left to the oligarchs and to the way in which they have usurped the European Parliament’s decision-making process. On behalf of Europe’s citizens, especially younger citizens: Adhere to your own coalition treaty and stop the adoption of this incursion into the rights of people to express themselves on the internet, online, in the digital universe, in the European Union. This is a dangerous incursion of censorship in our daily lives. Stop it, on behalf of all of us!

76 thoughts on “Against the EU directive on internet freedom – Yanis Varoufakis | DiEM25

  • So all this time I have been paying big bucks to patent lawyers and experts in IP and copyright and all this time I should really have consulted my local cow farmer instead ? Good Job Germany ! Hopefully the Agricultural ministry is really plugged into to the future of digital media and freedom of expression for EU citizens ? Weird to frame things where the only answer from Merkle will be "Nein leider nicht Yanis ! " ( "We have TWO middle fingers." ).

  • Too many cuts in this video to comfortably watch it. It also undermines what Yanis is saying, even if it does convey the message he was trying to put across in a more succinct way.

  • Agricultural Minister? That is not correct. I am from Germany and the Minister responsible for the directice in the council is Katharina barley, the Minister of Law.

  • Hope that Merkel doesn't do a David Cameron or Teresa May and not listen to Yanis. We are paying the price of not listening.

  • the EU is killing the freedom of the internet, supporting regime change war by USA, and yet Varoufakis is advocating UK remain in EU, and thinks that EU is democratisable?

  • Seriously, big fan here but what a terrible video! Just a slide at the end saying (vielleicht auf deutsch?) what should be done… nobody needs to be convinced eh? Call Julia Klöckner? E-Mail who? Do what? Write what on a sign and March where? Sheesh

  • Once again Varoufakis seeks to appeal to the bureaucracy that is as he confesses, the mouthpiece of the oligarchs , then not to be the mouthpiece of the oligarchs.

    This is just more idealised gibberish from the man . Just like his " saving capitalism from itself ,"

    A Pied Piper taking us all on a merry dance back to where we are ( objectively speaking) all trying to escape from.

  • not being in Europe, I was not aware that this legislation is about to be adopted, thank you Yanis but does not surprise me , because the EU has morphed into a political organisation , for which censorship is used to shape and control public opinion , the EU has become the EUSSR ,


  • EU must and will implode. I hope the people are not going to switch it for an authoritarian scapegoating fascist who will be doing the bidding of the same oligarchs and big corporations.I hope people have learned from history not to give their power and freedom away to the first jackass that comes along. It is time to invent something new from the bottom up. No more so called representatives. It is time for people to take responsibility for their community.

  • Since the large majority of the european public (natives and immigrants) were never much consulted nor asked about this new law (one full of loopholes and abled by institutional hoodwink) Why should we follow or even obey such bogus a ideas? DieEM does not answer, just like the EU parliament and local states. 'We' are not liable nor answerable to any authority about our content and right to speech. Rather lets dismantle this mandate.

  • This is how the EU can start to be hated by everyone. We must appeal, we must rise against dictatorship and censorship, if people lose their voices they will have nothing. Act people !

  • If YouTube has to be careful or be found responsible, half of the videos will be taken down. As it is, music teachers are being penalised for teaching riffs from copyrighted songs, despite the 'fair use' provision for educational purposes.

  • The further they get from people the more corrupt and tyrannical our rulers become. Need to go back to nation states or smaller unions. EU gone over the top like the Roman Empire, Catholic Church, British Empire and USA / West liberal elitists. Need to get back respect for individual and community values. Need to stop people who think they know the final solution.

  • But so many creators want this directive because they know it would mean more money in their pockets. So, other than bots and people on Google's payroll, who exactly is this majority that opposes this? I respect Yanis a lot but this was interesting in that it showed me how he's obviously not always concerned with understanding an issue inside out before he speaks on it. That's worrying. You're on the wrong side of this debate, comrade.

  • Just to summarise: the EU believes that the internet experts that spoke out about this legislation are the wrong type of experts. Dont listen to experts

  • I'm a creative in the advertising world and originally thought it a good idea to protect copyright. I've changed my mind. Even though I've lost money due to copyright infringement, I can see the danger here. A balance is what's needed.

  • As the EU loses control and the people turn against them, they become increasingly authoritarian. Asking Merkel to help is like a lamb reasoning with a butcher.

  • I work with music copyright. You are way off on this one. Never did I expect you to eat out off Facebook/Google/Youtubes hand without questioning them.
    I really find Diem25 truly promising, but if this is your view on an area I know professionally it makes me doubt your judgement on all the areas I don't know first hand.
    You are right about having to strike the right balance though. Private, fair use etc is a completly different thing today than when every single book, photo or music recording was a big (almost always) semi-professional and economical endeavour. That is no longer the case. European copyright is about works off art. We must not turn it nto protection of products = companies only. Although the main players invloved here are big American non taxpayers (which apperantly everyone seems to find better than normal local companies following local law and paying taxes) .

  • Mr. Varoufakis I really admire your work, enthusiasm and your strive for a better European Union, but is it really possible to have a 500 million union which has its foundations in a true democracy, freedom of speech, human rights?

    In my opinion the EU has morphed into a authoritarian superstate and to be honest I don't see it in the near future. In my opinion the traditional nation state democracies will become independent of this paper tiger, and will find its place in this new epoch of a brave new world. It just grew way too fast, and as you see it probably it is disintegrating even faster. That solely because of the powers that be NEVER listened to the ordinary people. Now the people are striking back and wont be long before the globalist self made beauty queen Macron is going to be toppled. Mr Varoufakis the people are fed up, sick and tired of the elite striping us of our birth HUMAN rights.

    Greets from Mavrovunio. GREECE <3

  • A tipping point for technology to "balance" the future of humanity is happening – A choice of 2
    A future human species that” Matrix” view is shown

    Or one that’s more like “Star Trek” on a vision known
    That world is there for all of us with new “Technology”

    A people power vision with true “Democracy”

  • this needs to get way more likes and views in order to spark a genuine conversation within the right circles. And the thing is, this thing will just be viewed as another clue that "government is the problem", and conservatives can again turn this into a "left ideas are totalitarianism"…

  • You're a complete contradiction. Nations need to be sovereign and democratic. This parlance of fixing the EU from within is complete and utter drivel. The way to stop the monster is to kill it outright because it knows no reasoning. You think you have a handle on this through experience, but my man, you have absolutely no idea. The Soviet Union and worse has moved just a little further West. You can shove it.

  • Theres something powerful about a video call made in front of a bookshelf, just watch the opposition co-opt this idea and spend millions on the largest bookshelf to kill off genuine reading done as displayed on bookshelves

  • See how nice EU is! And You want to stay in? Nothing can be changed in the EU! And they are going toward totalitarian regime as fast as possible before We can reverse the direction.

  • I want global licencing, every country can collect some tax and use it to pay creators who make popular and original content online. The goal should be the global legalization of piracy, not the banning of piracy. Platforms like YouTube already have upload filters, they call it Content ID, but if the EU goes a step further to hold YouTube accountable for any copyright infringement uploaded on its platform, I am afraid YouTube might just make things much harder for users to use its platform in Europe.

  • This proves the EU is evil. They are so scared of public opinion they have to control and pre-censor the content on social media to maintain their grip on power. There is no other logical explanation for this type of censorship.

  • yes, Varoufuckyou was also against staying in the EU, in fact their whole party program was built upon this idea.
    But then they got elected, and they, …. stayed in the EU ( ba dum tsssss )

  • Hello. My english isn't very good, but i would like to make an propsal.
    Mr. Varoufakis, i you want to get rid of the political establishment, confront them with the fact, Jesus Christ deathpenalty was an result of a democratic process (twice democratic choices, Barrabas; Vers 20). Matthew 27:15-26
    It just simply means, Christanity and Democracy don't go together. Democrats with christian values are not competibel with the Bibel, it is a paradoxon.
    So, it doesn' matter what you or i believe, it matters what they predent to be, and this is far away from fake news.
    They just don't know what they do, and the proof is in the Bibel. I've been for 30 years a christian, but now, no more.
    Take the Bibel, and blow them up. Don't worry about the vatican, they reject democracy.

  • He is right the politions are trying again to bring back cencorship by using children as a storking horse. Children can be protected at all times by switching the internet OFF until they are 18 yrs old. As for this legislation censoring politions from been on the internet? This will disappoint north Korea russia and Israel who are current hoping to influence the uk on britexit

  • Dear Yanks, 
    As an admirer of your lectures and as a liable lawyer I am of the opinion that you have overlooked the mischief the Union was trying to deter, especially the fact that internet service providers have to be held accountable for the slander and mischief they allow to be published on their platforms. (Apart from copy right infringments) 
    Very often this material damages a persons right to privacy and their right to their good name. 
    In the hierarchy of rights this fundamental right tops property rights and freedom of speech.
    No European should be exposed to well resourced platforms that don't bother to have artificial intelligence systems in place to prevent corrupt and dishonest and defamatory material from being published to the world at large, how can a poor individual protect themselves from this mischief.. Furthermore, the service providers who benefit form this mischief cannot escape the rule of law and must be held accountable to maintain a civilised society that values all.
    Sean Corrigan Barrister at law

  • The EU is not even a country just an unelected commission of people. I will ensure that no one in the EU can purchase any of my products or watch any of the advertising and l shall ban any EU traffic that tries to come to my products.

  • (He likes going off on miniature tangents then coming back to the point being discussed.)

    Gianni, there's no doubt you are an educated individual but STOP with the camera glances, smirks and winks. You lose credibility the more you do it.

  • Why would anyone want to stop free speech and enlightenment by education?
    The answer is far more scary than anyone wants to admit!

  • Yanis, please speak up in the defence of Julian Assange. In the UK corporate fascism has taken over. Even Jeremy Corbyn who should have been the strongest voice in the UK in the defence of Julian has exercised fairly soft criticism of the British government. We are living in times when leaders must show their true colours.

  • After the #CopyrightDirective was voted by the EU Council, there is a chance to overturn it by voting the MEPs against it between 23 and 26 May 2019 during the new elections in the EU. There is a petition running which asks for a new directive repealing the #article15 and the #article17 [#uploadfilters and #linktax], which will be delivered to the new EU Commission. To be signed and shared for the internet's freedom ::

  • please stop claiming copyright helps artists, when you are not justifying your claim. it is not helping the conververstion.

    perhaps if you look into it, you will even find that the 'right balance' is to abolish copyright. here is a playlist for my case against copyright:

  • Γιαννη αν το δεις ποτε αυτο το μυνημα να ξερεις οτι ολοι οι Ελληνες με λιγο κριτικη σκεψη σε στιριζουν
    Σε ευχαριστουμε για οτι κανεις.
    Γιαννης Βαρουφακης κατα την γνωμη μου …Ο πιο ΑΞΙΟΣ μοντερνος Ελληνας

  • YouTube, Facebook, Twitter… they should all be held to the same standards as the telephone company. If I say something someone does not like over the phone, if I plot murder even, the phone company will not be held liable. We must decide if these online platforms are indeed platforms or if they are publishers. If they are publishers they should be held liable, if they are not though then they themselves must first and foremost protect the rights of content creators and not give in to pressures to silence certain voices for PR benefits.

  • Sorry Guys (Women and men), forget your freedom on the once totally open net. You have become serfs to BIG MONEY with false moralistic views thrown in to it. Humanity has lost their history, their right to express themselves, to view certain 'content' which could upset zealots across the globe. It's 1933 all over again in a converted way… (which led to millions of deaths)

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