Tag Archives: copyright

‘Catastrophic’: EU Passes Copyright Directive Including Internet ‘Link Tax’ and ‘Upload Filter’, by Joseph Jankowski

Perhaps the reason Europe doesn’t invent many new technologies anymore is because their bureaucrats and politicians do their best to stifle and kill technologies, home grown or foreign. From Joseph Jankowski at planetfreewill.com:

The European Parliament has passed a controversial copyright directive that contains provisions which force tech giants to install content filters and sets in place a potential tax on hyperlinking.

The bill was passed in a final vote of 438 – 226 and will need to be implemented by individual EU member states.

Critics of the directive have been laser-focused on two key provisions: Articles 11 and 13, which they have dubbed the “link tax” and “upload filter.”

The most important parts of this are Articles 11 and 13. Article 11 is intended to give publishers and papers a way to make money when companies like Google link to their stories, allowing them to demand paid licenses. Article 13 requires certain platforms like YouTube and Facebook stop users sharing unlicensed copyrighted material.

Critics of the Copyright Directive say these provisions are disastrous. In the case of Article 11, they note that attempts to “tax” platforms like Google News for sharing articles have repeatedly failed, and that the system would be ripe to abuse by copyright trolls.

Article 13, they say, is even worse. The legislation requires that platforms proactively work with rightsholders to stop users uploading copyrighted content. The only way to do so would be to scan all data being uploaded to sites like YouTube and Facebook. This would create an incredible burden for small platforms, and could be used as a mechanism for widespread censorship. This is why figures like Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee came out so strongly against the directive. – The Verge

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Your Memes Are Safe (For Now): EU Rejects Internet Censorship Bill, by Carey Wedler

The EU suprisingly rejected a draconian bill that would have put new restrictions on the internet. From Carey Wedler at theantimedia.org:

In an unexpected move, this week the European Parliament rejected a highly controversial bill that critics claimed would stifle free speech and creativity on the internet.

The EU Copyright Directive was heavily criticized over two elements in particular.

Article 11 would have established a “link tax,” which would have required online publishes to pay a fee for the right to link to news organizations. Critics argued the vague language did not adequately define what constitutes a link and said the rule could easily become a tool for political abuse.

According to many opponents, Article 13 would have further stifled free expression in the digital age by tightening copyright rules and requiring platforms to police users’ content. As a letter signed by 70 prominent members of the tech industry asserted:

“By requiring Internet platforms to perform automatic filtering all of the content that their users upload, Article 13 takes an unprecedented step towards the transformation of the Internet from an open platform for sharing and innovation, into a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users.”

“Article 13 is that it makes no exceptions for fair use, a foundation of the internet an essential caveat in the law that allows people to remix copyrighted works,” Gizmodo noted.

Though proponents of the bill rejected the widespread suggestions that the bill could potentially even make many memes illegal because they often include copyrighted content, the outlet forcefully argued that “Memes, news, Wikipedia, art, privacy, and the creative side of fandom are all at risk of being destroyed or kneecapped.”

The legislation, which was backed by media companies, publishers, and members of the music industry, including Paul McCartney, was ultimately accused of attempting to codify censorship.

Further, the open letter from tech leaders also warned that the costs of implementing such a system would burden smaller companies.

To continue reading: Your Memes Are Safe (For Now): EU Rejects Internet Censorship Bill

The EU’s war on what makes the internet great, by Oliver Wiseman

The EU is using copyright law to stifle the Internet, a cherished goal. From Oliver Wiseman at capx.co:

What is it about the European Union and bad tech laws with boring names? Brussels managed to transform four harmless letters into a byword for irritating compliance-induced spam and pop ups as well as a consolidation of power for the internet’s biggest players. Now that the GDPR dust has settled, along comes Article 13 of the Directive for Copyright in the Digital Single Market, which was approved by the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs yesterday.

Article 13 requires websites to take “appropriate and proportionate” measures to make sure copyrighted material doesn’t appear on their pages. It would also require sites to “provide rightsholders with adequate information on the functioning and the deployment of measures”. Then there is the jargon-laden instruction for Member States to “facilitate… cooperating between the information society service providers and rightsholders through stakeholder dialogues to define best practices”.

Those appropriate and proportionate measures mean “content recognition technologies” along the lines of Content ID, the copyright filter that Google uses to stop YouTube users from uploading copyrighted videos. As open internet campaigner and writer Cory Doctorow has explained, everyone hates the filter: “Big rightsholders say that it still lets crucial materials slip through the cracks. Indie rightsholders say that it lets big corporations falsely claim copyright over their works and take them down. Google hates Content ID because they spent $60,000,000 developing a system that makes everyone miserable, and YouTubers and their viewers hate it because it overblocks so much legit content.”

The EU seems to have looked at this way of doing things and decided it should be extended – by law – not just to all online videos, but to everything on the internet.

It is hard to overstate the extent of the threat this piece of legislation is to online culture as we know it. In an open letter to European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, a group of internet pioneers that includes Tim Berners-Lee, Vinton Cerf and Jimmy Wales spell out the danger: “Article 13 takes an unprecedented step towards the transformation of the Internet from an open platform for sharing and innovation, into a tool for the automated surveillance of its users.”

To continue reading: The EU’s war on what makes the internet great

TPP Will Destroy Free Speech, by Stilton Jarlsberg

From Stilton Jarlsberg on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:

The TPP (which allegedly stands for Trans-Pacific Partnership even though we’re more familiar with those first two letters having a different and more accurate association) is the bizarre, mostly-secret trade agreement which our current anti-capitalist president is ramming through. It’s long, complex, and, like Obamacare, deliberately written to be misunderstood – so we just want to focus on one seemingly teeny-tiny element which was recently changed (and which the Obama administration is no doubt hoping will fly under the radar).

You can read all about it here, but in a nutshell the TPP will allegedly extend “copyright protection” for things like online content by allowing the government to bring charges against anyone suspected of copyright infringement even if the “copying” (like a simple link to a news story) does no harm to the copyright owner and, indeed, may even be encouraged by the copyright owner.

In other words, Hope n’ Change could be shut down for linking to the dry story about the TPP above, let alone linking to stories about more sensitive issues like Hillary’s criminal wrongdoing or how “Bathhouse Barry” got his nickname. And if you share one of our cartoons, even though we explicitly encourage you to do so, the government could come and get YOU, too. A very tidy way to curtail bothersome political speech, don’t you think?

Despite vagueness in many other areas, the TPP is quite clear about what the government can do to you if it finds you in potential (or even imaginary) violation of their new copyright standards:

• Sentences of imprisonment as well as deterrent-level monetary fines
• Higher penalties in more serious circumstances
• Seizure of infringing items (ie, computers, phones, printers, office equipment)

• Forfeiture or destruction of those items, materials, and implements (that’s right, they’ll crush them with a steamroller just to further honk you off).
• Forfeiture of any assets (such as money) derived from the infringement
• Assignment to a prison cell which you’ll share with an angry muscular giant named Mohammed Mustafa “Ass Rammer of Death” X. (Okay, the TPP doesn’t specifically say this, but we think it’s implied).

It’s hard to see either Bernie or Hillary not liking this potential tool for reining in free speech, but can anyone really be sure that a president Trump might not also like the power to keep people from seeing “stupid” things like this troubling review of his past (and current) policy positions..?

Without freedom of speech, every other freedom will soon fall by the wayside. Which is what makes the death of a true Constitutionalist like Antonin Scalia such a critical and tragic loss at this crucial time.