First detailed look at Poland's challenge to the EU Copyright Directive

After the EU Copyright Directive passed with a slim majority that only carried because some MEPs got confused and pressed the wrong button, the government of Poland filed a legal challenge with the European Court of Justice, arguing that the Directive -- and its rule requiring that all online discourse be filtered by black-box algorithms that will block anything that might be infringing -- violated both Polish and European law. Read the rest

Clever hack that will end badly: playing copyrighted music during Nazis rallies so they can't be posted to Youtube

RJ Jones writes, "My friend gave me a tip! If you need to drown out fascists, bring a speaker & play copyrighted music at their rallies cause it will be easy to report their videos & get them taken down for copyright." Read the rest

Sony's copyright bots remove a band's own release of its new video

The Sheffield-based experimental music act 65daysofstatic has a new album coming out in September, called "Replicr, 2019." Today, the band began its launch publicity by releasing a video from the album, only to have the video blocked on multiple services by copyright bots working on behalf of Sony, which distributed the band's label, Superball. Read the rest

How Wechat censors images in private chats

Citizen Lab has expanded its analysis of how censorship and filtering work on Chinese social media (previously). In (Can’t) Picture This 2 An Analysis of WeChat’s Realtime Image Filtering in Chats , researchers probe and document how Wechat complies with Chinese state censorship policies in private chats. Read the rest

Podcast: Steering with the Windshield Wipers

In my latest podcast (MP3), I read my May Locus column: Steering with the Windshield Wipers. It makes the argument that much of the dysfunction of tech regulation -- from botched anti-sex-trafficking laws to the EU's plan to impose mass surveillance and censorship to root out copyright infringement -- are the result of trying to jury-rig tools to fix the problems of monopolies, without using anti-monopoly laws, because they have been systematically gutted for 40 years.

A lack of competition rewards bullies, and bullies have insatiable appetites. If your kid is starving because they keep getting beaten up for their lunch money, you can’t solve the problem by giving them more lunch money – the bullies will take that money too. Likewise: in the wildly unequal Borkean inferno we all inhabit, giving artists more copyright will just enrich the companies that control the markets we sell our works into – the media companies, who will demand that we sign over those rights as a condition of their patronage. Of course, these companies will be subsequently menaced and expropriated by the internet distribution companies. And while the media companies are reluctant to share their bounties with us artists, they reliably expect us to share their pain – a bad quarter often means canceled projects, late payments, and lower advances.

And yet, when a lack of competition creates inequities, we do not, by and large, reach for pro-competitive answers. We are the fallen descendants of a lost civilization, destroyed by Robert Bork in the 1970s, and we have forgotten that once we had a mighty tool for correcting our problems in the form of pro-competitive, antitrust enforcement: the power to block mergers, to break up conglomerates, to regulate anticompetitive conduct in the marketplace.

Read the rest

EU expert panel calls for a ban on AI-based risk-scoring and limits on mass surveillance

The EU Commission's High-Level Expert Group on AI (AI HLEG) has tabled its Policy and investment recommendations for trustworthy Artificial Intelligence, recommending a ban on the use of machine learning technologies to generate Chinese-style Citizen Scores and limits on the use of the technology in monitoring and analyzing mass surveillance data. Read the rest

Competition can fix Big Tech, but only if we don't make "bigness" a legal requirement

I'm all for making Big Tech small again and fixing the internet so that it's not just five giant websites filled with screenshots from the other four, not to mention doing something about market dominance, corporate bullying, rampant privacy invasions and so on. Read the rest

After viral Youtube denunciations, Germany's establishment parties falter -- so the ruling party's leader faxed her colleagues demanding action

Ahead of this week's EU elections, the popular German Youtuber Rezo published a 55-minute video explaining the missteps of the ruling CDU party and other establishment parties in addressing climate change, inequality, rising militarism, and internet freedom (notably, the German support for the wildly unpopular Copyright Directive), a statement he backed up with hundreds of references. Read the rest

Poland has asked the European Court of Justice to overturn the #CopyrightDirective

The government of Poland has filed a complaint with the European Court of Justice, arguing that the recently passed Copyright Directive amounts of a form of censorship, "forbidden not only in the Polish constitution but also in the EU treaties." Read the rest

How Warner Chappell was able to steal revenues from 25% of a popular Minecraft vlogger's channels

Oliver Brotherhood is a British vlogger with over 3 million subscribers who has produced a string of very popular Minecraft-related videos under the name Mumbo Jumbo; yesterday, in the space of two hours, a quarter of his videos were claimed by music publishing giant and notorious copyright fraudsters Warner Chappell, who will now get revenues from those videos, and can take them down at will. Read the rest

Google mistakenly started handing out a reporter's cellphone number to people searching for Facebook tech support

If Facebook is broken for you in some way large or small, you can't call them to complain -- the company doesn't have a customer service number, it has a "support portal" for people suffering with the service, which combines the worst of autoresponders with the worst of underpaid, three-ring-binder constrained support staff to make a system that runs like a cost-conscious version of Kafka's "The Trial." Read the rest

"Steering With the Windshield Wipers": why nothing we're doing to fix Big Tech is working

My latest Locus column is "Steering with the Windshield Wipers," and it ties together the growth of Big Tech with the dismantling of antitrust law (which came about thanks to Robert Bork's bizarre alternate history of antitrust, a theory so ridiculous that it never would have gained traction except that it promised to make rich people a lot richer). Read the rest

Berlin! I'm coming to town tomorrow! (Houston, you're next)

Tomorrow, Tuesday, May 7th I'll be keynoting Berlin's Re:publica festival, as well as doing a signing for the German edition of my novella Unauthorized Bread, and an AMA about the EU Copyright Directive (International Space, 1230h) and then a general AMA (Deutschlandjahr Booth, 1345h). On Wednesday, May 8, I'll be at Otherland, Kreuzberg's sf bookstore, talking about the book some more.

After that, I'm off to Houston for a weekend at Comicpalooza, including a panel about copyright on May 10 at 12:30PM; presenting a keynote talk on May 11 at 12PM; and then another copyright panel on May 12 at 10:30AM.

See you soon! Tschüß!

(Image: Re:publica, CC-BY) Read the rest

Notre Dame's new spire might be copyrighted and blocked by EU filters

There's a proposal in the works to replace Notre Dame's spire -- which was a relatively modern addition -- with a new, starchitect-designed "statement" spire, which will be copyrightable under the same French rules that prohibit commercial photos of the Eiffel Tower at night (and other French landmarks). Read the rest

Ottawa! I'll be at the Writers Festival this Saturday night (then Berlin for Re:publica and Houston for Comicpalooza!)

This Saturday, May 4, at 7:30PM, I'll be presenting at the Ottawa Writers Festival, talking about my novel Radicalized and how it ties into surveillance, monopoly, refugees, climate change, racism and oligarchy -- all the good stuff! Read the rest

Jimmy Fallon played a video game on air, meaning that streaming your own game gets you taken down as a pirate, thanks to NBC

NBC (and the other broadcasters) provides copies of its shows to Youtube's Content ID filter, which is supposed to protect copyright by blocking uploads of videos that match ones in its database of claimed videos. That means that if you own the copyright to something that is aired on NBC, any subsequent attempts by you or your fans to upload your work will be blocked as copyright infringements, and could cost you your Youtube account. Read the rest

Copyright filters are automatically removing copies of the Mueller Report

During the bitter debate over the EU's Copyright Directive, with its mandate for copyright filters that would automatically censor anything that anyone claimed to be infringing, opponents repeatedly warned that these filters would be trivial to abuse. Read the rest

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