Next Wednesday, the EU will vote on a potentially internet-destroying regulation that will ban linking to the news unless you're using a service that has paid for a "linking license" from the news site you're linking to; and that will force all user-submitted content (text, audio, video, code, stills) through copyright filters that will censor anything that matches a database of works that anyone can put anything in, whether or not it is in copyright.
These proposals were firmly rejected years ago, but were slipped back into the regulation just before a key vote at the start of the summer, and only the calls and messages of millions of Europeans saved them from being enacted without any debate at all.
Now we're getting that debate, and the proponents of these proposals have offered amendments that are supposed to fix their defects, but which, in actual fact, make them much worse.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Danny O'Brien has published an excellent analysis of the "compromises" and comes to the only sensible conclusion: we should preserve 20 years of settled practice and reject these rules completely.
The new Voss amendment on Article 13 no longer includes an explicit mention of copyright filters – it just makes it impossible for any community content-sharing website to survive without them. In fact, most sites would struggle to stay legal even with their user filters turned up to the max.
Voss's new Article 13, now simply declares that:
Without prejudice to Article 3(1) and (2) of Directive 2001/29/EC, online content sharing service providers perform an act of communication to the public.
By defining the sharing websites themselves as "performing an act of communication" (rather than their users), this language strips away existing liability protections websites have if their users are accused of copyright infringement. From remixes to memes, sharing sites would suddenly be liable en masse for all the errors in rights management committed by their users.
Fake Compromises, Real Threats in Next Week's EU Copyright Vote
[Danny O'Brien/EFF Deeplinks]