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

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

UPDATED! How do you pass the most unpopular measure in European history? With the most undemocratic dirty trick in EU history: stop the #Article13 vote from being moved ahead of day of protest!

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 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

The Final Version of the EU's Copyright Directive Is the Worst One Yet

Despite ringing denunciations from small EU tech businesses, giant EU entertainment companies, artists' groups, technical experts, and human rights experts, and the largest body of concerned citizens in EU history, the EU has concluded its "trilogues" on the new Copyright Directive, striking a deal that -- amazingly -- is worse than any in the Directive's sordid history. Read the rest

That German-French Deal to "Rescue" the EU Copyright Directive? Everyone Hates It. EVERYONE.

This week started with a terrifying bang, when German and French negotiators announced a deal to revive the worst parts of the new EU Copyright Directive though a compromise on "Article 13," which requires copyright filters for any online service that allows the public to communicate.

The Franco-German "compromise" was truly awful: German politicians, worried about a backlash at home, had insisted on some cosmetic, useless exemptions for small businesses; French negotiators were unwilling to consider even these symbolic nods towards fairness and consideration for free speech, competition, and privacy.

The deal they brokered narrowed the proposed German exemptions to such a degree that they'd be virtually impossible to use, meaning that every EU-based forum for online communications would have to find millions and millions to pay for filters — and subject their users to arbitrary algorithmic censorship as well as censorship through deliberate abuse of the system — or go out of business.

Now that a few days have passed, European individuals, businesses, lobby groups and governments have weighed in on the proposal and everyone hates it.

That German uprising that German politicians feared? It's arrived, in force.

Bitkom, representing more than 2600 German businesses, from startups to small and medium enterprises, has completely rejected the proposal, calling it "an attack on the freedom of expression";Eco, lobbying for more than 1,100 businesses across Europe, said that Germany had "become weak" in its negotiating position, putting "the smallest, small, and medium-sized companies" at risk;Deutschestartups tweeted their condemnation of the proposal, saying it put "stones in the way" of any European tech company hoping to grow;The Berlin think tank iRights.Lab called for an "immediate and total stop" to the negotiations, so alarmed were they by their direction; while C-Netz, another think tank that serves as a kind of arms-length expert body to Germany's mainstream political parties also denounced the deal. Read the rest

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

France and Germany just cut a deal to save the EU's #CopyrightDirective -- and made it much, much worse (PLEASE SHARE THIS POST!)

The EU's on-again/off-again Copyright Directive keeps sinking under its own weight: on the one side, you have German politicians who felt that it was politically impossible to force every online platform to spend hundreds of millions of euros to buy copyright filters to prevent a user from infringing copyright, even for an instant, and so proposed tiny, largely cosmetic changes to keep German small businesses happy; on the other side, you have French politicians who understand that the CEOs of multinational entertainment companies won't stand for any compromise, or even the appearance of compromise, and so the process fell apart. Read the rest

Facebook sold out the internet, secretly lobbied IN FAVOUR of upload filters

Though Facebook's lobbying associations spent the whole debate over the EU Copyright Directive arguing (correctly) that algorithmic filters to catch copyright infringement would end up blocking mountains of legitimate speech (while still letting through mountains of infringement), Facebook secretly told the EU Commission that it used filters all the time, had utmost confidence in them, and couldn't see any problems with their use. Read the rest

Now EVERYBODY hates the new EU Copyright Directive

Until last spring, everyone wanted to see the new European Copyright Directive pass; then German MEP Axel Voss took over as rapporteur and revived the most extreme, controversial versions of two proposals that had been sidelined long before as the Directive had progressed towards completion. 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

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