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

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

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

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

Germans Can Help Save the Internet from the Copyright Directive!

An unsere Freunde und Freundinnen in Deutschland. In diesem Monat möchte die EU die Richtlinie über das Urheberrecht im digitalen Binnenmarkt abschließen. Es besteht wenig Hoffnung, dass die Artikel 11 und 13, die die Macht haben, kleine europäische Tech-Startups zu vernichten, verbessert oder gestrichen werden. Eher wird sich die Macht in den Händen Amerikanischer Hightech-Unternehmen konzentrieren, während eine halbe Milliarde EuropäerInnen einer unzurechenbaren algorithmischen Zensur ausgesetzt sein werden. Read the rest

Open letters to the people of Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and Poland: save us all from mandatory internet censorship!

The EU plan to mandate censoring filters for online speech to catch copyright infringement could be finalised as early as next week, and our best hope for halting it is to get the national governments of key EU member states to reject the proposal at that "trilogue" committee meeting. Read the rest

Even the rightsholders think Europe’s Article 13 is a mess, call for an immediate halt in negotiations

With only days to go before the planned conclusion of the new EU Directive on Copyright in the Single Digital Market, Europe's largest and most powerful rightsholder groups -- from the Premier League to the Motion Picture Association (MPA) and the Association of Commercial Television in Europe -- have published an open letter calling for a halt to negotiations, repeating their message from late last year: namely, that the Directive will give the whip hand to Big Tech. Read the rest

Swedes! Poles! Germans! Luxembourgers! The world is depending on you to save the internet from the EU!

The European Parliament is meeting this week, and the committee that will decide the future of the controversial new Copyright Directive will meet next, and depending on what they do, it might be the end of the road for the internet as we know it. Read the rest

Podcast: Don't let the EU ruin the internet for everyone else!

On the latest Copy This podcast (MP3) (previously), the amazing Kirby "Everything is a Remix" Ferguson talks to Paul Keller about the new EU Copyright Directive, which will impose mandatory copyright filters on all online platforms, opening the door to rampant censorship and ensuring that only the biggest (American) tech companies will be able to afford to operate in the EU. Read the rest

False Flag: my science fiction story about the future of copyright filters in an Article 13 Europe

The Green European Journal has published a package on the proposed new European Copyright Directive: first, an outstanding interview with the rebel Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda (previously); and then a new science fiction story I've written to show what a future where our speech is governed by unaccountable black-box copyright censorbots might look like: "False Flag." Read the rest

Europe's biggest sports leagues and movie studios disavow #Article13, say it will give #BigTech even more control

In an open letter to the EU and European national officials who are negotiating the final form of the new Copyright Directive (by all accounts, a hot mess), some of the largest rightsholder groups and corporations in Europe -- sports leagues and movie studios -- have condemned the direction negotiations have gone in and asked to have their content removed from the scope of the Directive. Read the rest

Poland rejects the EU's copyright censorship plans, calls it #ACTA2

In 2011, Europeans rose up over ACTA, the misleadingly named "Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement," which created broad surveillance and censorship regimes for the internet. They were successful in large part thanks to the Polish activists who thronged the streets to reject the plan, which had been hatched and exported by the US Trade Representative. Read the rest

The EU can #fixcopyright, but they're not

The European Union's new Copyright Directive contains two hugely controversial, poorly drafted and dangerous clauses: Article 11, which limits who can link to news articles and under which circumstances (and also bans Creative Commons licenses); and Article 13, which mandates that all platforms for public communications surveil all user posts and censor anything that matches (or partially matches) a crowdsourced, unaccountable database of allegedly copyrighted works. Read the rest

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