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A protester in Hamburg, Germany, objects to Article 13 (now 17) of the EU's pending copyright bill. Photo: Daniel Reinhardt/picture alliance via Getty Images

Europe's new copyright bill — the one many of the internet's inventors argue will jeopardize the network's future — is almost certainly destined to become law in each of the EU member countries, after an EU Parliament vote earlier this week. But some procedural hiccups left a sliver of doubt about the outcome, raising a glimmer of hope among the bill's ardent detractors.

Why it matters: The copyright bill has two controversial provisions that could fundamentally change how links and user-created content work online.

Background: The controversy stems from two sections:

  • The first, widely known as Article 11. would charge tech companies like Google to run services like Google News. It's been called a link tax because it would charge sites when they provide links and summaries of stories, and it's controversial because, while Google may be able to front that cost, an average blogger wouldn't be.
  • The second, widely known as Article 13, would require tech companies to pre-scan user uploads for copyrighted material, which could be extremely difficult to do at a YouTube or Facebook scale.

But, but, but: In the final draft of the legislation, well after people started debating Article 11 and Article 13 under those names, the official name of Article 11 became Article 15 and Article 13 became Article 17.

  • If that confuses you, it apparently confused many members of the European Parliament as well.

The catch: Those provisions may have passed by accident.

  • An amendment that would have put these two controversial parts of the bill on hold failed by 5 votes, but 13 voters claim they didn't mean to vote the way they did. If the lawmakers had voted as they say they wanted rather than as their votes were recorded, that amendment would have passed.
  • Even if the amendment had passed, there would have been another vote on the controversial provisions, which could still have OK'd them.
  • The botched votes are official and indelible.
  • MEP Marietje Schaake, who first noticed the glitch, told The Verge that the voting confusion "could make a little bit of a difference" in the next stages of the copyright law process, but was unlikely to change its eventual enactment.

Where it stands: In the EU, after Parliament passes a bill, the Council of the European Union votes on it. This vote is expected on April 9.

  • Observers expect the copyright bill to pass the Council. But all that's needed to alter the outcome is for a single country to flip its vote.
  • Opponents of the bill believe Germany is a good target to make that change. The country's privacy commissioner has come out against the bill.

Meanwhile, the U.K. — which as of this writing is still in the EU — presents a stranger situation.

  • It could be a prospect for changing its vote if Prime Minister Theresa May steps down.
  • Boris Johnson, who could be next in line to form a Tory-led government, has come out against the copyright rules as an example of why the U.K. needs to leave the EU.
  • But right now, it's Johnson's Tory party that has positioned the U.K. behind the bill.

Once the bill passes, each member country of the EU will be required to pass a domestic version of the law. That could take years more.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - World

2 Americans accused of helping Ghosn escape in Japanese custody

Former Nissan chair Carlos Ghosn during a news conference in Jounieh, Lebanon, last September. Photo: Hasan Shaaban/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Two Americans accused of helping former Nissan chair Carlos Ghosn flee Japan in a box in 2019 were taken into Japanese custody after arriving at an airport near Tokyo Tuesday, per the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: The extradition of Michael Taylor, 60, a private security specialist and former Green Beret, and his son Peter Maxwell Taylor, 27, ends a months-long fight to remain in the U.S.

Rep. Rice demands Cuomo resign after 3rd woman accuses him of misconduct

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a February news conference in New York City. Photo: Seth Wenig/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) on Monday evening called for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to resign, after a third woman accused him of inappropriate behavior.

Driving the news: Anna Ruch, a former member of the Obama administration and the 2020 Biden campaign, told the New York Times Monday that Cuomo asked to kiss her at a New York City wedding reception in September 2019.

Scoop: Inside the GOP's plan to retake the House

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Republicans will reclaim their majority in 2022 by offering candidates who are women, minorities or veterans, a memo obtained by Axios says.

Why it matters: The document, drafted by a super PAC blessed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, names top Democrats to target — Jared Golden of Maine, Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania and Ron Kind of Wisconsin — and the type of Republican candidates to beat them.

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