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.
The final Parliament vote will happen mere weeks before the EU elections. Most MEPs – and certainly all parties – are going to be seeking reelection. Articles 11 and 13 will be defeated if enough voters make these issues relevant to the campaigns.
Yesterday, Mike took apart an extraordinarily weak attempt by the UK’s music collection society, PRS for Music, to counter what it claimed were „myths“ about the deeply-harmful Article 13 of the proposed EU Copyright Directive. On the same day, the Guardian published a letter from the PRS and related organizations entitled „How the EU can make the internet play fair with musicians“. It is essentially a condensed version of the „myth-busting“ article, and repeats many of the same fallacious arguments. It also contains some extremely telling passages that are worth highlighting for the insights that they provide into the copyright industries‘ thinking and ultimate goal.
One of the oddities of the vote a few weeks back in the EU Parliament’s JURI Committee concerning the proposed EU Copyright Directive, was that there was no published text of what they were voting on. There were snippets and earlier proposals released, but the full actual text was only just released, and it’s not in the most readable of formats. However, what is now clear is that the JURI Committee not only failed in its attempts to „fix“ the many, many, many problems people have been raising about the Directive, but it actually makes many of the problems worse
Indeed, how the vote unfolds will impact countless, more interesting topics — from selfies and online entertainment to popular parody and memes. Here’s why.
Let’s start with how copyright law directly affects everyday internet users. Some of these activities, or a version of them, are things you’ve probably done recently: uploading a new Twitter profile picture of you wearing your favorite Star Wars t-shirt. Sharing a selfie in front of the Eiffel Tower. Live streaming an extract of a concert on Facebook Live. Sharing a “Game of Thrones” meme on Reddit. Or watching that so-funny parody video on YouTube.
As we’ve been writing over the past few weeks, the EU Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) voted earlier today on the EU’s new Copyright Directive. Within that directive were two absolutely horrible ideas that are dangerous to an open internet — a link tax and a mandatory copyright filtering requrement (i.e., the „censorship machines“ proposal). While there was a big fight about it, and we heard that some in the EU Parliament were getting nervous about it, this morning they still voted in favor of both proposals and to move the entire Copyright Directive forward. The vote was close, but still went the wrong way:
(18.6.2018) On June 20, the EU’s legislative committee will vote on the new Copyright directive, and decide whether it will include the controversial „Article 13“ (automated censorship of anything an algorithm identifies as a copyright violation) and „Article 11“ (no linking to news stories without paid permission from the site).
We’ve pointed this out over and over again with regards to all of the various attempts to „regulate“ the internet giants of Google and Facebook: nearly every proposal put forth to date creates a regulatory regime that Google and Facebook can totally handle. Sure, they might find it to be a nuisance, but its well within the resources of both companies to handle whatever is thrown their way. However, most other companies are then totally fucked, because they simply cannot comply in any reasonable manner. And, yet, these proposals keep coming — and people keep celebrating them in the false belief that they will somehow „contain“ the two internet giants, when the reality is that it will lock them in as the defacto dominant internet players, making it nearly impossible for upstarts and competitors to enter the market.