EU And China Harmonize Their Approach On Censorship

from the but-of-course... dept

For quite some time now, we’ve pointed out that people need to recognize for every attempt to “clamp down” on intermediaries in the copyright debate, we’re really handing authoritarian regimes all the fodder they need to justify other forms of censorship. Glyn Moody points us to a simple comparison, showing how immediately following an EU plan to increase liability on intermediaries (secondary liability or third party liability), China announced very similar plans on intermediary liability. Remember, intermediary liability is the key tool in how China’s “Great Firewall” works. The government sends out vague notes about general things it doesn’t like — and makes it clear if ISPs let that content through, they’ll face liability. The response is that they aggressively censor.

Many copyright system defenders insist that the two situations are entirely different. In their minds, intermediary liability concerning copyright infringement is “good” because it’s stopping illegal behavior. But that’s the exact same argument made by the Chinese government. It’s stopping people from speaking out, because that form of speaking out is illegal and can cause great harm. The similarities between the EU proposal and the China proposal at the very least suggest that China is learning that mimicking Western claims concerning copyright law will always give it good cover for censoring at home.

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Comments on “EU And China Harmonize Their Approach On Censorship”

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9 Comments
d_mat (profile) says:

Re: Anonymous

First, nope thats not the point of the article, though it is a small element in the story.
Second, its always easy to see others you don’t understand as asshats, while perceiving your society’s limitations of freedom as perfectly logical simply because you grew up with it and are used to it. The Chinese government does not contain more asshats than any other and there are just as many Chinese citizens fighting for more freedom as there are in the rest of the world. Well, maybe more than NA and EU… I think we’ve gotten a little comfortable.

abc gum says:

It will be interesting to see the copyright industry reaction when their material is censored by just such a regime. Today they deny it could happen here, in the future they will be surprised at how easy it is. Also, it will probably be a crime to laugh at them in public or point out any sort of I told you so evidence of past warnings that were ignored.

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