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New EU Copyright Regulations Threaten the Internet
The European Union’s legislative affairs committee has voted to include two potentially disastrous proposals in upcoming copyright reforms. Article 11 would prohibit linking to news stories without permission and a paid license, and Article 13 would mandate that all material posted by Europeans must first be evaluated by a copyright filter and blocked if it appeared to match a copyrighted work. Although these proposals aren’t yet law, Boing Boing’s Cory Doctorow worries they will pass with the upcoming copyright legislation unless Internet users in Europe can sway their lawmakers. Both articles would radically change how the Internet is used, and although they would technically apply only to Europeans, much like the GDPR, the end result could affect users worldwide (see “Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation Makes Privacy Global,” 2 May 2018).
Surely that’s the point of the proposals which are there to tackle very real problems - not that you would know from the article.
As a content creator it can be a game of whack-a-mole issuing take down requests, for almost identical copyright breaches. But where the host hides behind the User Generated Content defence. So you fill in another infringement form, to find it popping back up under another userID.
At last someone is standing up for creativity, rather than arguing the right of the internet to rip off anyone else’s work.
It doesn’t ‘threaten the Internet’, its focus clearly is on social media.
The tax merits consideration, reportage is being starved, other viewpoints being drowned out. The filter seems unworkable to me, a clumsy attempt to give it some teeth.
I think I must be misunderstanding something here. From the story:
How does linking to a story violate copyright? If anything, it will drive readers to their site. I participate on a local message board. Naturally, the local newspaper doesn’t like it when someone posts the entire text from an article, and the editor pays attention and contacts the admin to have it removed. I understand that. He has asked that people post the first paragraph or so, just enough so that readers know what the article is about, and then a link. This drives viewers to the local paper’s site, which is monetized. Win-win.
As an academic, I often post links to articles for my students to read. How does that violate someone’s copyright? If the US were to adopt a similar policy, does this mean I would have to pay to point my students to a story on someones site?
Or am I reading this wrong?
I agree that there are very real problems, but it sounds to me that these proposed regulations will create a great big new world of hurt. And I don’t see how regulations could be enforceable across the board as well as within the many EU countries.
The intent might be good, but I suspect that while Google, Facebook and a few of the giants might be able to afford to pony up the cash necessary to implement solutions, very few of the billions and billions of websites out there will be able to do so.
I don’t know if it’s in the text but I think the intended target of Article 11 is social media platforms and news aggregator sites. In practice, web forums and course sites have little to fear.
I think the idea is social media and other aggregators replace an individual news publisher’s curation of stories. By skipping the home page, “deep linking” in the parlance of the earliest days of grousing about search engine indexing, users miss the other stories the publisher wants them to see; sure, there are sidebars and space after the story but so much of traffic is on smaller screens so that space is dominated by the ads. Another idea is these other platforms commodify news; the user’s relationship with and loyalty is to Twitter, Facebook, Google and what news provider hosts any particular story is irrelevant, further reducing the chances the user will become a paying subscriber.
I don’t think any of this is going to achieve the desired goals, it’s just a question of how much harm will be done in the attempt.
Yeah, we looked at a variety of articles when trying to figure out what to link to, but this one seemed to be a good jumping-off point for more research if you’re interested in the topic. Cory lives and breathes copyright, so if he’s concerned, I pay attention, but as others have said, there’s a big difference between what gets written into law (however badly) and what the actual effect is. Still, it’s better to avoid bad legislation to start, if possible.
The target might be social media and large scale aggregators, but most of them can afford the staff and software developers to address any issues. The vast majority of smaller sites can’t. A theoretical example…someone posts a big quote, or something plagiarized or a link to something plagiarized to the comments area on a TidBITS article that appeared months before.
The news media has been up in arms since Facebook discontinued Instant Articles and Live Videos. Now Facebook is pushing its Watch video news platform, and I wonder if video could potentially make it easier for a plagiarist to circumvent the law? Not all the videos are transcribed into text:
Having worked in the periodical publishing industry for over 40 years and seen all the print magazines I worked for die slow and very painful deaths, I can safely state that online publishers are much more than ecstatic to serve any page to anyone. Whether the revenue is coming from ads, subscriptions, pay re article, newsrooms, art, production, back office, etc. costs a lot of money. They need any click they can get.
If it wasn’t for the ads, they couldn’t be in business.
Not true either in the EU or the US. Paid subscriptions to news media grew unexpectedly and significantly after the last US presidential election and the Brexit vote in Britain, and viewership for dedicated news channels:
News sites need as many incoming links as they can get. Their costs of doing business continue to rise, and even with a revenue bump due to an unexpected bump in the news cycle, they continue to struggle. And very few publications could stay in business with circulation revenue alone. Though there are different rates for different types of ads, news publications need every cent they earn from the pages with ads that they serve.
How does this threaten the Internet? It might reduce the number of gratuitous posts of memes hijacking copyrighted material.
I am not sure how effectively they will be able to implement and enforce this, but anything that might force companies such as Facebook and Google to pay for material they exploit should be welcomed.
Look on the bright side. Perhaps the EU in its endless wisdom will declare this protection to apply to every company in the world who has done any business in the EU. Since that includes Tidbits, anytime anyone in the world links to one of your articles they will owe you money.
After all, businesses like Tidbits deserve to be protected from those taking advantage of the lack of legal protection available under current law.
More information has emerged about the actual text of these proposals.
It strikes me as a distinct possibility that the amendments mentioned in the article you linked to were added specifically to submarine the legislation.
Well, the original proposal was voted down and MEPs now have a chance to make ammendments.
Will they be able to draft ammendments that offer sensible solutions to websites like Google and Bing from exploiting content without paying, or YouTube et all from profiting from stolen content. (We have seen numerous examples of the latter here in England over the last few days, following England’s success in the World Cup.)
Some form of restriction is justified, the trick will be do strike a reasonable balance. Google/Facebook etc., could afford to pay from their advertsing revenues, but others may not, so it should not just focus on licensing. It would also need to avoid potential censorship issues. Requiring some form of consent to post links would be a good idea, but need not be too restrictive. Can they come up with a workable solution? Don’t hold your breath.
An update: an updated version of the directive was approved:
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