"I Shouldn't Have to Publish This in The New York Times": my op-ed from the future

I was honored to be invited to contribute to the New York Times's excellent "Op-Eds From the Future" series (previously), with an op-ed called "I Shouldn't Have to Publish This in The New York Times," set in the near-future, in which we have decided to solve the problems of Big Tech by making them liable for what their users say and do, thus ushering in an era in which all our speech is vetted by algorithms that delete anything that looks like misinformation, harassment, copyright infringement, incitement to terrorism, etc -- with the result that the only place where you can discuss anything of import is newspapers themselves. Read the rest

People who document evidence of violent extremism are being shut down in Youtube's crackdown on violent extremism

Yesterday, Youtube announced that it would shut down, demonetize and otherwise punish channels that promoted violent extremism, "supremacy" and other forms of hateful expression; predictably enough, this crackdown has caught some of the world's leading human rights campaigners, who publish Youtube channels full of examples of human rights abuses in order to document them and prompt the public and governments to take action. Read the rest

Poland has asked the European Court of Justice to overturn the #CopyrightDirective

The government of Poland has filed a complaint with the European Court of Justice, arguing that the recently passed Copyright Directive amounts of a form of censorship, "forbidden not only in the Polish constitution but also in the EU treaties." Read the rest

A report from the Christchurch Call, where the future of "anti-extremist" moderation was debated at the highest levels

This week's Christchurch Call event in Paris brought together politicians, tech execs and civil society to discuss means of "countering violent extremism" online; it was convened by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in the wake of the deadly white supremacist terror killings in Christchurch last March. Read the rest

Big Tech is deleting evidence needed to prosecute war crimes, and governments want them to do more of it

War crimes are among the most grisly and difficult-to-prosecute crimes; and yet, ironically, the criminals have made it easier for prosecutors, by uploading videos celebrating their atrocities to Big Tech platforms like Facebook and Youtube, where they can act as recruiting tools for terrorists and extremists. Read the rest

Berlin! I'm coming to town tomorrow! (Houston, you're next)

Tomorrow, Tuesday, May 7th I'll be keynoting Berlin's Re:publica festival, as well as doing a signing for the German edition of my novella Unauthorized Bread, and an AMA about the EU Copyright Directive (International Space, 1230h) and then a general AMA (Deutschlandjahr Booth, 1345h). On Wednesday, May 8, I'll be at Otherland, Kreuzberg's sf bookstore, talking about the book some more.

After that, I'm off to Houston for a weekend at Comicpalooza, including a panel about copyright on May 10 at 12:30PM; presenting a keynote talk on May 11 at 12PM; and then another copyright panel on May 12 at 10:30AM.

See you soon! Tschüß!

(Image: Re:publica, CC-BY) Read the rest

Notre Dame's new spire might be copyrighted and blocked by EU filters

There's a proposal in the works to replace Notre Dame's spire -- which was a relatively modern addition -- with a new, starchitect-designed "statement" spire, which will be copyrightable under the same French rules that prohibit commercial photos of the Eiffel Tower at night (and other French landmarks). Read the rest

The platforms suck at content moderation and demanding they do more won't make them better at it -- but there ARE concrete ways to improve moderation

Concentration in the tech sector has left us with just a few gigantic online platforms, and they have turned into playgrounds for some of the worst people on earth: Nazis, misogynists, grifters, ultranationalists, trolls, genocidal mobs and more. The platforms are so big and their moderation policies are so screwed up, and their use of "engagement" algorithms to increase pageviews, that it's making many of us choose between having a social life with the people we care about and being tormented by awful people. Even if you opt out of social media, you can't opt out of being terrorized by psychopathic trolls who have been poisoned by Alex Jones and the like. Read the rest

Jimmy Fallon played a video game on air, meaning that streaming your own game gets you taken down as a pirate, thanks to NBC

NBC (and the other broadcasters) provides copies of its shows to Youtube's Content ID filter, which is supposed to protect copyright by blocking uploads of videos that match ones in its database of claimed videos. That means that if you own the copyright to something that is aired on NBC, any subsequent attempts by you or your fans to upload your work will be blocked as copyright infringements, and could cost you your Youtube account. 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