EU Commission calls opponents of Copyright Directive a "mob," as thousands take to the streets for the #Artikel13Demo

The EU Commission has been forced to retract a Medium post in which it patronised and dismissed opponents of the controversial Article 13 proposal that will force platforms to surveil and censor users' postings with copyright filters, calling them a "mob." Read the rest

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

XKCD on the dishonesty implicit in the sharing options in social media

The latest XKCD strip, "Sharing Options/#2016" is a brilliant and trenchant surfacing of the hidden rhetoric of social media, where your options are "permanently share with billions of people, including internet scammers, random predatory companies, and hostile foreign governments" or "a small set of 300 or so approved friends," and when this is questioned, the social media companies profess an inability to understand what other options could exist. 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

Blackmailers use false copyright claims to shut down victims' Youtube accounts, offer to lift them in exchange for Bitcoin

Youtube's ContentID system allows rightsholders to upload video and audio and block videos that contain their works (or put ads on those videos and take the revenue they generate), and to have the accounts of repeat copyright offenders permanently deleted, along with all their videos. Read the rest

The EU's plan for algorithmic copyright filters is looking more and more unlikely

After the last-minute collapse of negotiations over the new EU Copyright Directive, things have only gone from bad to worse for the beleaguered (but deadly and far-reaching) internet regulation. Read the rest

German Minister of Justice to receive the largest EU petition in history, opposing Article 13 of the Copyright Directive

Katarina Barley, the German Minister of Justice, is set to receive this petition, now signed by more than 4.5 million Europeans, opposing the include of mandatory copyright filters (AKA Article 13) in the new EU Copyright Directive. The petition is the second largest in internet history (after this one) and looks set to surpass it. The Copyright Directive negotiations collapsed last week due to hard-liners in the French delegation, and there are persistent rumours that the German and French negotiators are still trying (and failing) to find common ground. So it's really important that Europeans sign this petition, to show the German ministers that they have the backing of the European people! Tell your friends! Read the rest

Facebook sold out the internet, secretly lobbied IN FAVOUR of upload filters

Though Facebook's lobbying associations spent the whole debate over the EU Copyright Directive arguing (correctly) that algorithmic filters to catch copyright infringement would end up blocking mountains of legitimate speech (while still letting through mountains of infringement), Facebook secretly told the EU Commission that it used filters all the time, had utmost confidence in them, and couldn't see any problems with their use. 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

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