Last spring, a coalition of young European political activists adopted this motion opposing the upload filters and link taxes in the new Copyright Directive, which the EU Parliament is about to vote on. Read the rest
The first salvo drawing attention to the damage the directive will cause has come from the European Wikipedias. German Wikipedia has gone completely dark for today, along with the Czech, Slovak and Danish Wikipedias, German OpenStreetMap, and many more.
With confusing rhetoric, the Directive’s advocates have always claimed that they mean no harm to popular, user-driven sites like Wikipedia and OpenStreetMap. They’ve said that the law is aimed only at big American tech giants, even as drafters have scrambled to address the criticism that it affects all of the Internet. Late in the process, the drafters tried to carve out exceptions for “online encyclopedias,” and the German government and European Parliamentarians fought hard – though ultimately failed – to put in effective exceptions for European start-ups and other competitors.
Very few of the organizations and communities for whom these exceptions are meant to protect are happy with the end result. The Wikimedia Foundation, which worked valiantly to improve the Directive over its history, came out last week and declared that it could not support its final version. Even though copyright reform is badly needed online, and Wikipedians fought hard to include positive fixes in the rest of the Directive, Article 13 and Article 11 have effectively undermined all of those positive results. Read the rest
During the week of March 25, the European Parliament will hold the final vote on the Copyright Directive, the first update to EU copyright rules since 2001; normally this would be a technical affair watched only by a handful of copyright wonks and industry figures, but the Directive has become the most controversial issue in EU history, literally, with the petition opposing it attracting more signatures than any other petition in change.org’s history. Read the rest
The new EU Copyright Directive will be up for its final vote in the week of Mar 25, and like any piece of major EU policy, it has been under discussion for many years and had all its areas of controversy resolved a year ago -- but then German MEP Axel Voss took over as the "rapporteur" (steward) of the Directive and reintroduced the long-abandoned idea of forcing all online services to use filters to block users from posting anything that anyone, anywhere claimed was their copyrighted work. Read the rest
When the German MEP Axel Voss took over the new EU Copyright Directive and reinstated the controversial Article 13, he was explicit that the idea of the rule was to make all online services use filters, similar to Youtube's Content ID, to screen everything their users posted and block anything that seemed to match any unlicensed copyrighted work, anywhere. Read the rest
Yesterday, I wrote about how MEP Julia Reda resolved the mystery of how the European Parliament came to produce a batshit smear-campaign video promoting the new Copyright Directive and smearing the opposition to the Directive (including signatories to the largest petition in human history): it turned out that the video had been produced by AFP, a giant media company that stands to make millions if the Directive passes. Read the rest
I'm heading back to Austin for the SXSW Interactive festival and you can catch me three times this weekend: first on the Untold AI panel with Malka Older, Rashida Richardson and Christopher Noessel (5-6PM, Fairmont Manchester AB); then at the EFF Austin Party with Cindy Cohn and Bruce Sterling (7PM, 1309 Bonham Terrace); and on Sunday, I'm giving a keynote for Berlin's Re:Publica conference, which has its own track at SXSW; I'm speaking about Europe's new Copyright Directive and its dread Article 13 at 1PM at Buffalo Billiards, 201 East 6th Street. Read the rest
As of this writing, the petition opposing Article 13 -- the part of the EU's new Copyright Directive that mandates copyright filters for online communities, services and platforms -- has 4,920,535 signatories, making it the largest petition in the history of our species (edging out this one from 2017). Read the rest
Update: The EPP has backed off of this demand and denied having made it, but Pirate MEP Julia Reda has documentary evidence that the EPP tried to sneak in this vote and only reversed the plan after a massive public outcry. Keep up the good work and get ready to hit the streets on March 23!
On March 23, Europeans will take to the streets to demand that Members of the European Parliament vote against Article 13, the part of the upcoming Copyright Directive that will replace the internet with a "filternet" where you aren't allowed to write, post, or say anything that might be a match for a copyrighted work, and where small, EU-based tech platforms will be snuffed out, leaving nothing but US Big Tech sitting in judgment of the continent's discourse. Read the rest
German Data Privacy Commissioner Ulrich Kelber is also a computer scientist, which makes him uniquely qualified to comment on the potential consequences of the proposed new EU Copyright Directive. The Directive will be voted on at the end of this month, and its Article 13 requires that online communities, platforms, and services prevent their users from committing copyright infringement, rather than ensuring that infringing materials are speedily removed. Read the rest
Members of the European Parliament have been carpet-bombed with a "report" claiming that the historically unprecedented opposition to the pending Copyright Directive was the result of "US meddling in the EU lawmaking process," with 21 pages of alarming charts and figures to support this conclusion. Read the rest
Ulrich Kelber is the German Data Privacy Commissioner, and also a computer scientist, and as such, he is uniquely qualified to comment on the potential consequences of the proposed new EU Copyright Directive, which will be voted on at the end of this month, and whose Article 13 requires that all online communities, platforms and services block their users from committing copyright infringement, even if the infringing materials are speedily removed after they are posted. Read the rest
At the end of March, the European Parliament will sit down to vote on the new Copyright Directive, an unparalleled disaster in the history of internet regulation with the power to wipe out the EU's tech sector, handing permanent control of the internet over to US Big Tech, all in the name of protecting copyright (while simultaneously gutting protection for artists). Read the rest
Article 13 is the on-again/off-again controversial proposal to make virtually every online community, service, and platform legally liable for any infringing material posted by their users, even very briefly, even if there was no conceivable way for the online service provider to know that a copyright infringement had taken place. Read the rest
The final text of the EU Copyright Directive has emerged from the "trilogue" committee (composed of reps from the EU Parliament, the national governments of EU member-states, and the EU presidency) and it is virtually identical to the compromise struck by the governments of France and Germany, a draft so terrible it has sparked demonstrations across Germany and a national movement to topple Germany's ruling party to punish it for its support for this proposal. Read the rest