The Final Version of the EU's Copyright Directive Is the Worst One Yet

Despite ringing denunciations from small EU tech businesses, giant EU entertainment companies, artists' groups, technical experts, and human rights experts, and the largest body of concerned citizens in EU history, the EU has concluded its "trilogues" on the new Copyright Directive, striking a deal that -- amazingly -- is worse than any in the Directive's sordid history. Read the rest

That German-French Deal to "Rescue" the EU Copyright Directive? Everyone Hates It. EVERYONE.

This week started with a terrifying bang, when German and French negotiators announced a deal to revive the worst parts of the new EU Copyright Directive though a compromise on "Article 13," which requires copyright filters for any online service that allows the public to communicate.

The Franco-German "compromise" was truly awful: German politicians, worried about a backlash at home, had insisted on some cosmetic, useless exemptions for small businesses; French negotiators were unwilling to consider even these symbolic nods towards fairness and consideration for free speech, competition, and privacy.

The deal they brokered narrowed the proposed German exemptions to such a degree that they'd be virtually impossible to use, meaning that every EU-based forum for online communications would have to find millions and millions to pay for filters — and subject their users to arbitrary algorithmic censorship as well as censorship through deliberate abuse of the system — or go out of business.

Now that a few days have passed, European individuals, businesses, lobby groups and governments have weighed in on the proposal and everyone hates it.

That German uprising that German politicians feared? It's arrived, in force.

Bitkom, representing more than 2600 German businesses, from startups to small and medium enterprises, has completely rejected the proposal, calling it "an attack on the freedom of expression";Eco, lobbying for more than 1,100 businesses across Europe, said that Germany had "become weak" in its negotiating position, putting "the smallest, small, and medium-sized companies" at risk;Deutschestartups tweeted their condemnation of the proposal, saying it put "stones in the way" of any European tech company hoping to grow;The Berlin think tank iRights.Lab called for an "immediate and total stop" to the negotiations, so alarmed were they by their direction; while C-Netz, another think tank that serves as a kind of arms-length expert body to Germany's mainstream political parties also denounced the deal. Read the rest

As the German Government Abandons Small Businesses, the Worst Parts of the EU Copyright Directive Come Roaring Back, Made Even Worse

Last month, it seemed like Europe had been saved from a dangerous attempt by corporate lobbyists to hijack copyright legislation in order to add a few points to their balance sheets, at the cost of a free, fair, open internet. Now, thanks to Germany's decision to turn its back on small European tech companies, the EU is poised once again to hand permanent control over Europe's internet to the United States’ Big Tech sector, snuffing out the small- and medium-sized enterprises of Europe.

The new European Directive on Copyright in the Single Market is a grab-bag of updates to EU-wide copyright rules, which have been frozen in time since their last refresh, in 2001. But the Directive been imperiled since last spring, when German MEP Axel Voss took over as rapporteur, and promptly revived two controversial, unworkable clauses.

To remain credible, the EU must reject this haggling between giant commercial interests—and put the public good first.

Voss's deadly pet ideas were, first, a proposal to let news sites decide who could link to them and to charge for the privilege (Article 11); and second, a proposal to require every platform for public communication to invent and deploy copyright filters that would prevent any user from infringing copyright, even momentarily, by suppressing any communications that appeared to contain a copyrighted work of any kind (Article 13).

The response was swift and decisive: more than a million Europeans promptly wrote to their MEPs to demand that the Directive be voted on clause-by-clause, allowing for Articles 11 and 13 to be amended. Read the rest

France and Germany just cut a deal to save the EU's #CopyrightDirective -- and made it much, much worse (PLEASE SHARE THIS POST!)

The EU's on-again/off-again Copyright Directive keeps sinking under its own weight: on the one side, you have German politicians who felt that it was politically impossible to force every online platform to spend hundreds of millions of euros to buy copyright filters to prevent a user from infringing copyright, even for an instant, and so proposed tiny, largely cosmetic changes to keep German small businesses happy; on the other side, you have French politicians who understand that the CEOs of multinational entertainment companies won't stand for any compromise, or even the appearance of compromise, and so the process fell apart. Read the rest

As Macron and Merkel meet to rescue the #CopyrightDirective, the world's libraries call for its rejection

The EU's plan to censor the internet with algorithms that block anything that might be a copyright infringement has only days to go before it will be too late for a vote before the upcoming elections, and so far, progress has been stalled thanks to France's unwillingness to accept tiny, meaningless concessions that Germany feels they must win to retain political credibility. Read the rest

The EU's plan to impose mandatory copyright filters is on life-support and may die

This Monday, the final "trilogue" (a meeting between the European Parliament, the European Presidency, and the EU member-states) was supposed to convene to wrap up the negotiations on the first update to the Copyright Directive since 2001, including the controversial Article 13 (mandatory copyright filters for online services) and Article 11 (letting news sites decide who can link to them and charging for the privilege). Read the rest

Now EVERYBODY hates the new EU Copyright Directive

Until last spring, everyone wanted to see the new European Copyright Directive pass; then German MEP Axel Voss took over as rapporteur and revived the most extreme, controversial versions of two proposals that had been sidelined long before as the Directive had progressed towards completion. Read the rest

Poland, Take Action Now: Tell Negotiators to Oppose Article 13 and 11

Sześć lat temu Polacy wyszli na ulice by uratować Europę przed ACTA – międzynarodową umową handlową, negocjowaną z inicjatywy Stanów Zjednoczonych, która groziła wprowadzeniem szeroko zakrojonej cenzury i nadzoru w Internecie w imię rzekomej ochrony praw autorskich. Read the rest

Belgium: Say No To Article 13 and 11

L’Union européenne est sur le point de donner encore plus de pouvoir à une poignée d’entreprises géantes états-uniennes en technologie, en échange contre des accords temporaires de partage des bénéfices avec une poignée d’entreprises géantes européennes de divertissements. Cela entraînerait en contrepartie une censure de masse et affaiblirait encore plus la position de négociation des artistes professionnels européens. Read the rest

Luxembourg: Save the Internet from the Copyright Directive

À nos amis au Luxembourg : ce mois-ci, l’UE espère concrétiser la Directive sur le droit d’auteur dans le marché unique numérique, sans donner aucun signe qu’ils amélioreront ou supprimeront les articles 11 et 13. Cela représente une erreur dangereuse, car ces articles pourraient écraser les jeunes pousses européennes en technologie, ce qui concentrerait le pouvoir entre les mains des grandes entreprises états-uniennes en technologie, tout en exposant un demi-milliard d’Européens à une censure algorithmique de masse pour laquelle ces grandes entreprises n’auront pas de comptes à rendre. Read the rest

Sweden — and You! — Can Save the Internet from the Copyright Directive

Europeiska unionen är nära att ge ännu mer makt till ett fåtal stora amerikanska IT-företag, i utbyte mot tillfälliga vinstdelningsarrangemang med en handfull europeiska underhållningsföretag — med masscensur och en ännu svagare förhandlingsposition för verksamma europeiska artister som följd. Read the rest

Germans Can Help Save the Internet from the Copyright Directive!

An unsere Freunde und Freundinnen in Deutschland. In diesem Monat möchte die EU die Richtlinie über das Urheberrecht im digitalen Binnenmarkt abschließen. Es besteht wenig Hoffnung, dass die Artikel 11 und 13, die die Macht haben, kleine europäische Tech-Startups zu vernichten, verbessert oder gestrichen werden. Eher wird sich die Macht in den Händen Amerikanischer Hightech-Unternehmen konzentrieren, während eine halbe Milliarde EuropäerInnen einer unzurechenbaren algorithmischen Zensur ausgesetzt sein werden. Read the rest

Open letters to the people of Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and Poland: save us all from mandatory internet censorship!

The EU plan to mandate censoring filters for online speech to catch copyright infringement could be finalised as early as next week, and our best hope for halting it is to get the national governments of key EU member states to reject the proposal at that "trilogue" committee meeting. Read the rest

The EU's Copyright Directive charm offensive pats Europeans on the head and tells them leave it up to the corporations

When it comes to the new Copyright Directive, some in the EU would prefer that Europeans just stop paying attention and let the giant corporations decide the future of the Internet. Read the rest

Even the rightsholders think Europe’s Article 13 is a mess, call for an immediate halt in negotiations

With only days to go before the planned conclusion of the new EU Directive on Copyright in the Single Digital Market, Europe's largest and most powerful rightsholder groups -- from the Premier League to the Motion Picture Association (MPA) and the Association of Commercial Television in Europe -- have published an open letter calling for a halt to negotiations, repeating their message from late last year: namely, that the Directive will give the whip hand to Big Tech. Read the rest

Swedes! Poles! Germans! Luxembourgers! The world is depending on you to save the internet from the EU!

The European Parliament is meeting this week, and the committee that will decide the future of the controversial new Copyright Directive will meet next, and depending on what they do, it might be the end of the road for the internet as we know it. Read the rest

After chaos, the EU's plan to censor the internet takes a huge step backwards

Yesterday, the European Union's "trilogue" met for what was supposed to be the last negotiating session on the new Copyright Directive, including the universal filters for all user-generated content and a ban on links to news-sites without a paid license; as recently as last week, the proponents of the Directive were predicting an easy victory and a vote by December 19th, but yesterday's meeting ended in chaos, with a draft that everyone hates. Read the rest

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