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“directive”, as the European Union in its eurospeak calls it, falls well short of what we need to do to modernize our outdated intellectual property rights.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!