After months of insisting that #Article13 doesn't require filters, top EU Commissioner says "Article 13 requires filters"

The months of debate over Article 13 of the new EU Copyright Directive (passed in a tragicomedy of errors when some MEPs got confused and pushed the wrong buttons), the most contentious issue was whether the rule would require online service providers to spend millions on copyright filters, which are known to be error-prone and the source of mountains of algorithmic censorship, as well as being easily abused by would-be censors who can make false copyright claims with impunity and use them to prevent images, videos, sounds and words from ever appearing on the internet. Read the rest

Article 13 will wreck the internet because Swedish MEPs accidentally pushed the wrong voting button

In the EU, if a Member of the Parliament presses the wrong button on a vote, they can have the record amended to show what their true intention was, but the vote is binding. Read the rest

How #Article13 is like the Inquisition: John Milton Against the EU #CopyrightDirective

Censorship before or censorship after? The EU Copyright Directive rekindles the oldest fight in the history of free speech debates, first waged by John Milton in 1644. Then, like now, policy-makers were considering a radical change in censorship law, a switch from censoring material after it was published to requiring a censor's permission to publish in the first place. Read the rest

More than 100,000 Europeans march against #Article13

Today marksed the largest street protests ever in the history of internet freedom struggles, with more than 100,000 Europeans participating in mass demonstrations across the region -- more than 50 cities participated in Germany alone! From Netpolitik's early summary (English robotranslation): "In Berlin, the demonstration was about half an hour, if you waited along the way from the beginning to the end. We have experienced many network protests in Berlin. That was bigger today than any before, even counting the big data retention protests or ACTA." Read the rest

Robocopyright: Dan Bull's rap anthem for the defeat of #Article13

Just in time for a continent-wide day of street demonstrations against Article 13 and the new Copyright Directive, British rapper Dan Bull (previously) has released a furious, amazing new song about the regulation: Robocopyright. More than a 100 MEPs have pledged to vote against the measure on Monday, and it's not too late for you to contact your MEP and tell them that you expect them to vote to defeat it. Read the rest

The Best of Europe’s Web Went Dark Today. We Can’t Let That Be Our Future.

We’re into the final days before members of the European Parliament vote on the Copyright and the Digital Single Market Directive, home of the censoring Article 13, and the anti-news Article 11. Europeans are still urging their MEPs to vote down these articles (if you haven’t already, call now, and stepping up the visibility of their complaints in this final week.

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

More than 130 European businesses tell the European Parliament: Reject the #CopyrightDirective

The EU's Copyright Directive will be voted on in the week of March 25 (our sources suggest the vote will take place on March 27th, but that could change); the Directive has been controversial all along, but it took a turn for the catastrophic during the late stages of the negotiation, which yielded a final text that is alarming in its potential consequences for all internet activity in Europe and around the world. Read the rest

The European Copyright Directive: What is it, and why has it drawn more controversy than any other Directive in EU history?

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

With days to go until the #CopyrightDirective vote, #Article13's father admits it requires filters and says he’s OK with killing Youtube

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

Why #Article13 inevitably requires filters

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

The media company paid by the EU Parliament to make a video promoting a copyright law it stood to make millions from once sued a photographer for complaining that they'd ripped him off

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

History is made: petition opposing the EU's #Article13 internet censorship plan draws more signatures than any petition in human history

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

German data privacy commissioner says Article 13 inevitably leads to filters, which inevitably lead to internet "oligopoly"

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

German Data Privacy Commissioner warns at new Copyright Directive will increase the tech oligopoly, make EU companies dependent on US filter vendors, and subject Europeans to surveillance by US companies

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

Europeans! Tell your MEPs that your vote depends on their rejection of #Article13!

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

Artists against Article 13: when Big Tech and Big Content make a meal of creators, it doesn't matter who gets the bigger piece

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

As expected, the EU has advanced the catastrophic Copyright Directive without fixing its terrible defects

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

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