Europeans: call your MEP and stop mandatory, net-wide copyright censorship bots

Ruth from Openmedia writes, "This Thursday legislators in the EU Parliament are voting on proposals in the EU for mass content filters, and restrictions on links, all in the name of 'updating copyright. Read the rest

DRM could kill game emulators and erase the history of an artform

Video game company Atlus just sent a copyright takedown over the Patreon page for open source Playstation 3 emulator RPCS3, by invoking section 1201 of the DMCA, which makes it a felony punishable by 5 years in prison and a $500,000 fine to bypass DRM. Read the rest

A glimpse of the European Commission's plans for ham-fisted, indiscriminate mass online censorship

The European Commission has a well-deserved reputation for bizarre, destructive, ill-informed copyright plans for the internet, and the latest one is no exception: mandatory copyright filters for any site that allows the public to post material, which will algorithmically determine which words, pictures and videos are lawful to post, untouched by human hands. Read the rest

Judge tosses out Hulk Hogan lawyer's suit against Techdirt over that guy who claimed he invented email

Earlier this year Techdirt was sued for $15M by Shiva Ayyadurai, who claims to have invented email in 1978, eight years after Ray Tomlinson sent an email over ARPANET. Ayyadurai was represented by Charles Harder, the lawyer who was paid by Peter Thiel to kill Gawker Media through Hulk Hogan's lawsuit. Read the rest

A brief history of book burning

Pissed off and misguided people have been burning books for thousands of years. At Smithsonian, Lorraine Boissoneault provides "A Brief History of Book Burning from the earliest examples on record through the Nazis (above) all the way to, um, the present day. Holy shit, did I really just type that? From Smithsonian:

In 213 B.C., Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang (more widely remembered for his terracotta army in Xian) ordered a bonfire of books as a way of consolidating power in his new empire. According to historian Lois Mai Chan, “His basic objective was not so much to wipe out these schools of thought completely as to place them under governmental control.” Books of poetry, philosophy and history were specifically targeted, so that the new emperor couldn’t be compared to more virtuous or successful rulers of the past. Although the exact amount of information lost is unknown, Chan writes that the history genre suffered the greatest loss.

Qin was only one in a long line of ancient rulers who felt threatened enough by the ideas expressed in written form to advocate arson. In Livy’s History of Rome, finished in the 1st century A.D., he describes past rulers who ordered books containing the predictions of oracles and details about celebrations like the Bacchanalia be outlawed and burned to prevent disorder and the spread of foreign customs; philosophers Giordano Bruno and Jan Hus both took positions counter to the Catholic church, the former for his work on Copernican cosmology, the latter for attacking church practices like indulgences.

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Facebook launches 'Moments' knockoff inside China without branding, but with state approval

Looks like Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook have been working with the government of China to discreetly roll out a photo sharing service that's basically 'Moments' lite. Just one thing. It carries absolutely zero Facebook branding. And another. It appears designed not to piss China's internet censors off.

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India lost access to the Internet Archive because two Bollywood studios couldn't be bothered with takedowns

The mystery of yesterday's India-wide censorship orders which blocked the Internet Archive from the world's largest democracy has been solved: it was the result of complaints by two Bollywood studios, Prakash Jha Productions and Red Chillies Entertainment, who chose to target infringing copies of their movies by securing an injunction at the High Court of the Judicature at Madras, rather than sending the Internet Archive a takedown notice. Read the rest

India censors access to the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine

The Wayback Machine is the Internet Archive's indispensable record of the web itself, containing regular snapshots of a huge slice of the entire web that you can browse in order to see what a given page looked like on a given date. Read the rest

Quackspeak ascendant: China's subject-changing astroturfers rule the Chinese internet

The "50-cent army" is an insanely prolific cadre of government workers whose extra duty is to post hundreds of millions of messages to social media, flooding all available channels with feel-good messages about the accomplishments of Chinese sports teams and the high standard of living in China. Read the rest

Debullshitifying the free speech debate about CNN and Trump's alt-right wrestling GIF

In the wake of CNN threatening to out a critic if he does not limit his speech in the future, former federal prosecutor and First Amendment champion Ken White has published an eminently sensible post about the incoherence of the present moment's views on free speech, and on the way that partisanship causes us to apply a double standard that excuses "our bunch" and damns the "other side." Read the rest

Vidangel is a stupid censorship service and we should welcome it anyway

Vidangel is the latest attempt (along with services like Clearplay and Sony's own filtering tool) to sell a product that allows cringing, easily triggered evangelicals to skip swear words, sex and blasphemy in the media they watch. Read the rest

Germany's new law can fine Facebook, Twitter up to $57-million for hate speech

Starting in October, Facebook, Twitter, Google and other social media companies could be fined up to nearly $57-million by Germany for hateful messages posted on their site. The new law, which passed Germany's parliament on Friday, will give a company 24 hours to delete a post that has been flagged as racist, defamatory, or hateful before fining them.

According to The Washington Post:

The measure is seen as a test case in the battle against fake news and online hate, problems bedeviling governments across the West. But Germany's muscular approach has human rights groups worried about a chilling effect on free expression...

Germany has staked out a stance that's among the most vigorous in the world against spurious posts and comments on social media. It also has some of the strictest laws regulating forms of expression seen as encouraging violence. Denying the Holocaust and stirring hatred against minorities are punishable with prison time.

Under the new measure, which takes effect in October, companies have 24 hours to erase illegal content after it is flagged. They have another seven days to sift through messages marked as offensive but not necessarily criminal under German statute. Fines for consistently failing to respond begin at 5 million euros, about $5.7 million, but may go as high as 50 million euros.

According to Germany’s justice minister, Heiko Maas, hate crimes have increased by 300 percent in the past two years, which explains the thinking behind the aggressive new law. But Facebook, critical of the new law, says it “will not improve efforts to tackle this important societal problem.” One thing it does do is destroy free speech, and Germany could set a global trend if their law is deemed "successful."

Image: Max Pixel Read the rest

EFF trounces Zillow, McMansion Hell will return from copyfraud purgatory

Update: Zillow has dropped all its absurd copyright claims after hearing from EFF and McMansion Hell is coming back!

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published its letter to Zillow, explaining in eye-watering detail how wrong the company was to threaten the McMansion Hell blog over its use of realtors' glam-shots of shitty houses. Read the rest

Leaked Facebook docs: weird censorship standards that protect "white men but not black children"

Facebook is not responsible for bad speech by its users -- section 230 of the US Telecommunications Act says that libel and other forms of prohibited speech are the responsibility of users, not those who provide forums for users to communicate in -- but it takes voluntary steps to try to keep its service from being a hostile environment for its users, paying 4,500 moderators to delete material the company deems unacceptable. Read the rest

Thailand's thin-skinned king demands Youtube take down Chaplin's "The Great Dictator"

Charlie Chaplin's 1940 movie The Great Dictator features one of the greatest anti-authoritarian speeches of all time, so it's no surprise that Thailand's censorship-crazed king is abusing his country's grotesque lese majeste laws to order Youtube to remove clips of Chaplin's masterpiece. Read the rest

China orders mobile app stores to remove VPN apps

Starting July 1, the official Android and Apple App stores will no longer allow Chinese users to download the VPN apps that Chinese people rely upon in order to get around the Great Firewall of China, which censors information in China and surveils Chinese peoples' use of the net. Read the rest

Watch: Valedictorian who had mic cut off finally gets to finish speech on Jimmy Kimmel Live

Last week, high school valedictorian and class president Peter Butera was giving a speech at his graduation when the school cut off his mic for speaking his mind. But last night, Butera was able to finish his speech to the much larger audience of Jimmy Kimmel Live! Read the rest

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