People protest against the planned EU copyright reform in Berlin
© REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
People protest against the planned EU copyright reform in Berlin
Tens of thousands of protesters marched all across Europe to vent their anger at the controversial EU copyright bill critics say will curb freedom to upload content on social media platforms like YouTube or Tumblr.

Europe saw massive rallies on Saturday with countless protesters united by a motto 'Save our Internet'. In Germany alone, as many as forty demonstrations took place. Munich and Berlin were the venues for the largest protests, with 40,000 and 30,000 people taking part.

Many were seen holding hand-made banners that read "We are not bots," "Make art not articles" or "Yes to copyright, not to censorship."

The rallies took place as the European Parliament is set to vote for the EU Copyright Directive. The bill brings existing copyright legislation up-to-date with the demands of the digital age but features clauses that courted controversy among users.

One clause, Article 13, in the directive demands that various online platforms be legally responsible for users that upload copyright-infringing content. Critics argue that the only way to do so is to scrutinize content before it is uploaded, leading to installing filters that will likely be prone to errors.

Comment: Or companies could take an alternate route to building extremely complex and expensive filters that result in them being held legally liable if the filters aren't 100% accurate (which is likely effectively impossible): block EU users.

The rallies specifically targeted Article 13 and addressed fears that filtering content will eventually lead to censorship.

Other European cities have also hosted similar rallies with people uploading photos under a #SaveTheInternet hashtag.

Frequently-visited websites and online services followed suit earlier this week protesting the controversial changes. German, Czech, Danish, and Slovak Wikipedias went dark for one day to take a stand on the kind of issue that "may impact Wikipedia and the broader free and open internet."

Meanwhile, any users uploading content on Reddit are shown the following notice.

Adding to the website blackouts and the demonstrations, more than five million netizens have signed a petition calling to withdraw Article 13.