Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, has accused the EU Commission of “deeply inappropriate” behavior and “lobbying” in favor of the EU’s proposed copyright reforms. He also claimed the institution is “misleading” the public.
Wales’ comments come after Wikipedia instituted site-wide protests over the proposed directive across the Italian, Polish and Spanish versions of its websites. The protest sees visitors to pages across the online encyclopedia redirected to an official Wikipedia statement on the controversial reforms.
The proposed directive will be put to a vote in the EU Parliament today between 11am and 1pm GMT.
In particular, commentators have been critical over Articles 11 and 13, which some colloquially refer to as its “link tax” and “upload filter” provisions.
According to critics’ interpretations, the reforms demand search engines pay publishers for republishing snippets of online content and online platforms “filter” uploaded content for copyright infringement.
The exchange of words between Wales and the EU Commission occurred on Twitter last night after Wales published a tweet about the online encyclopedia’s protest.
In the tweet, he stated, “Italian Wikipedia has blacked out today to raise awareness about the disastrous EU Copyright Directive. Call your MEPs today. The vote is Thursday.”
After the EU Commission responded to his tweet stating that Wikipedia is exempt from the reforms, Wales responded stating:
“Deeply inappropriate for the European Commission to be lobbying publicly *and* misleading the public in this way.”
Subsequently, Wales also stated, “The Wikipedia community is not so narrow minded as to let the rest of the Internet suffer just because we are big enough that they try to throw us a bone. Justice matters.”
In another tweet, Wales also addressed why the protest only extended to the Italian, Polish and Spanish versions of its encyclopedia.
“We are community driven and so each community makes their own decision. I think we should get more organized in the future so that we could vote more quickly or earlier!”