On June 20, an EU committee will vote on mandatory copyright filters -- the idea that everything that gets posted to an EU service should be checked for copyright violations by a machine learning system that will decide what gets published and what gets censored.
These filters don't even exist yet; the closest we come is YouTube's Content ID, which Google created voluntarily, and which is notorious for acts of arbitrary, incorrect censorship. Google spent $60,000,000 building Content ID, so that's the table stakes for any new online service.
That's what makes the far right European parties' support of this proposal so weird. The big online platforms have increasingly been deputized to police their users' speech, and right-wing forums were the first casualties of this drive, prompting the right to start its own versions of Twitter, Reddit, etc. They were able to do this, in part, because they didn't have to pony up $60,000,000 for a copyright filter (if you're not politically aligned with the far right, you should still be worried about this: when the FBI classes #BlackLivesMatter as Black Identity Extremists and the US government uses anti-terrorism tactics against the Dakota Access Pipeline protesters, the ability of people with unpopular ideas to start their own services if they are made unwelcome on the big platforms has never been more urgent).
In a rare and extremely timely incidence of coincidental providence, one of the largest partners in the far-right block in the EU, France's Front National, just had its YouTube channel "TVLibertés" deleted because Content ID claimed it contained copyright infringement, a claim disputed by FN leader Marine Le Pen, who called it “arbitrary, political, and unilateral."
The vote is in THREE DAYS, and if the FN MEPs reverse their positions (they are Marie-Christine Boutonnet @MCBoutonnetFN and Gilles Lebreton @Gilles_Lebreton) then the filters will almost certainly die. If they vote for the radical expansion of the system that just killed their own party's YouTube channel, it will probably pass, to their detriment and the detriment of hundreds of millions of EU internet users.
The broadcast named TVLibertés is gone, described by YouTube as “YouTube has blocked the broadcast of the newscast of Thursday, June 14 for copyright infringement.”
Marine Le Pen was quoted as saying, “This measure is completely false; we can easily assert a right of quotation [to illustrate why the material was well within the law to broadcast]”.
She’s right. Automated upload filters do not take into account when you have a legal right to broadcast copyrighted material for one of the myriad of valid reasons. They will just assume that this such reasons never exist; if nothing else, to make sure that the hosting platform steers clear of any liability. Political messages will be disappeared on mere allegations by a political opponent, just as might have happened here.
Politicians, about to vote in favor of mandatory upload filtering in Europe, get channel deleted by YouTube’s upload filtering [Rick Falkvinge/Private Internet Access]