Does The European Commission Really Think The Internet Is A 'Value Tree' That Requires A 'Transmission Belt Of Euros'?

from the forward-to-the-past dept

Currently, the European Commission is conducting a public consultation on the review of the EU copyright rules. Unusually, the deadline for this was extended from the original 5 February to 5 March so you still have time to make a submission if you wish — it’s open to everyone:

All stakeholders are welcome to contribute to this consultation. Contributions are particularly sought from consumers, users, authors, performers, publishers, producers, broadcasters, intermediaries, distributors and other service providers, Collective Management Organisations, public authorities and Member States.

Optimists might see the extra time as a sign that the Commission is genuinely interested in gathering as wide a range of public views on this subject as possible. But a post from Paul Keller raises the possibility that this is just window-dressing, and that it has already made up its mind about what it will do on copyright regardless of what the public thinks. As he explains:

In recent weeks officials at the European Commission’s Internal Market and Services Directorate General (which is in charge of copyright policy) have been passing around this diagram of what they call the ‘Internet Ecosystem value tree’:

Here’s Keller’s summary of what that shows:

The Internet Ecosystem value tree implies that the primary purpose of the Internet — like that of all distribution channels that came before it — is to channel content from producers (the Authors/Artists/Audiovisual and Record Producers/Newspapers and Books Publishers/Broadcasters/Other Creative Industries in the schema above) to a separate group of people called Consumers. In exchange for this the Consumers will pay Distributors and Internet Platforms money for their services, which is then augmented with advertising income. Distributors and Internet Platforms use parts of their income to pay for the content.

What the Commission implies here is that if this transmission belt of Euros does not work, then the entire Internet ecosystem will die off and as a result any public policy aimed at protecting the digital environment must ensure that content producers are paid.

Of course, that’s a frighteningly retrogressive vision of the Internet that seems to regard it as simply the latest incarnation of television. As Keller points out:

Projects like Wikipedia, uses such as text and data mining, online access to cultural heritage and educational resources, and transformative use of the Internet do not follow the same logic as the traditional content industry value chains. Here limited user rights and long terms of protection become problematic and increased enforcement translates into chilling effects.

At the same time all of these types of uses are exactly what makes the Internet special and drives its potential to accelerate innovation and to democratize access to knowledge, tools and culture. The Internet is the first mass medium that is simultaneously enabling market driven uses, uses that are driven by public policy objectives (such as education or access to culture), and uses driven by people’s desire to create, collaborate and contribute to the commons.

The rest of his post makes similarly insightful points, and is well-worth reading. If the European Commission’s Internal Market and Services Directorate General really is thinking of the Internet as a “value tree” that requires a “transmission belt of Euros”, let’s just hope someone there reads Keller’s post and realizes what a terrible mistake that would be.

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Comments on “Does The European Commission Really Think The Internet Is A 'Value Tree' That Requires A 'Transmission Belt Of Euros'?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 'Internet = Tv' huh?

The publishers, labels and studios hate the idea of people creating, selling and sharing content without them gaining control. Politicians hate people getting organized without their assistance, and exchanging news without their spin being placed on it. So both groups wish to gain control over the Internet.

Anonymous Coward says:

is that the map of the USA in the background?

is that the outline of the map of the USA in the background or are my eyes deceiving me?
They even have the Florida peninsula there in the bottom-right corner.

it looks like they might think that “the internet” is USA-only… did they just use the diagram provided by a MAFIAA lobbyist?

anon says:

Writing to the commission

I would hope that everyone that posts a comment on here would by now have spent the ten minutes or longer to write out why they believe copyright needs to be reigned in and changed to improve access to content and a stronger fair use policy.

Only by receiving many letters by concerned consumers are they going to even think about putting something into copyright to allow what people on here have been asking for for many years….restrictions on the copyright industry and reigning in their attempt to control every aspect of the internet.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Writing to the commission

By now copyright is akin to a terminally ill patient who is kept alive artificially. The costs to keep him alive keep increasing – already reaching an unbearable level – but there are relatives insisting that a cure MUST be found, a cure WILL be found and it’s all worth the effort, because if the beloved one passes away then [INSERT END OF THE WORLD SCENARIO HERE]…

These relatives do not realize that in truth the patient has already died. All the expensive machines surrounding him do, is emulating lifesigns.

All that is left to do for the bereaved is mourn – and after that adapt to the fact that he’s gone…

Anonymous Coward says:

i said a long time ago that the entertainment industries will not stop their purge of file sharing law suits until they were given complete control of the internet. once they had that, anything that the industries claim is bad about the ‘net and anything it condemns people for doing on the net will be totally reversed. torrents will become the dogs bollocks of a file transfer mechanism instead of the ‘most dangerous thing on the net’ as they claim today. the way this ‘tree’ is looking is exactly that. using for distribution, but having it run by the entertainment industries. and with de gucht or whatever his name is, in charge of the European commission, the one who was doing his best to get ACTA implemented in the EU, it has been his aim. wait and see if i aint right that the internet becomes controlled by the entertainment industries. once it has it, it will pass it on to the NSA etc in America, so the USA gets what it wants, ie, the control of the internet, because that means controlling the world! then we’ll have a corporate world where the people are just slaves, handing money over to the top 1%.

Bengie says:

How phones works

This is the benefit of how phones work

Spam Content Creators->AutoDialers->Telcoms->Customers

As you can tell, the sole benefit of phones, and possible mail, is the ability of companies to sell their product to customers. Some leeches also abuse this system to call their friends and families.

Some of these people who talk to friends and family a lot should have to pay more than others. Unlimited phone plans are unfair to those who rarely use them.

Geno0wl (profile) says:

That doesn't look right...

Why, exactly, are “Public Data” and “User Generated Content” completely separated from “consumers”?
Hell some of the most popular sites on the internet are where the sites themselves are nothing but platforms for the consumers to post their own content and share it around(facebook, youtube, tumblr, ect, ect). Excluding any other mistakes that mistake alone is egregious enough to make this “chart” have no credibility because it shows no understanding of how the current internet world works.

lfroen (profile) says:

And what exactly is wrong in presented picture?

Above diagram is mostly correct. Yes, Internet is content-distribution network. Some of this content is paid directly (iTunes etc) while other by ads revenue – all user-generated stuff (YouTube etc).
Those who cry “it’s for communication” are living in denial. From all communications, only VoIP is paying for itself. Rest – _including_ email, is paid by ads revenue.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: And what exactly is wrong in presented picture?

The diagram is woefully incomplete. The internet can be used as a content distribution network, but the other functions of the internet are even more important and not reflected in in the diagram at all.

“From all communications, only VoIP is paying for itself. Rest – including email, is paid by ads revenue.”

Your statement here confuses me mightily. What do you mean by “paying for itself”? My email is not paid for by ad revenue at all. It is paid for by money I give to my service provider. Same with literally every other communications system I use on the internet (email is only one of those).

lfroen (profile) says:

Re: Re: And what exactly is wrong in presented picture?

> but the other functions of the internet are even more important and not reflected in in the diagram at all
I’m hw engineer, 10 yrs experience in networks, and never heard of those “other functions”. Care to elaborate?

>> My email is not paid for by ad revenue at all. It is paid for by money I give to my service provider
Seriously? You’re paying for email? Well, good for you, but I suspect it’s you’re either of:
* Using your ISP email. Not wise – what happen if you switch ISP?
* Tiny minority – paying for email service. What makes me think of you as tiny minority: huge userbase of gmail+yahoo+outlook(or whatever it’s called today).

>> Same with literally every other communications
I’m confused: you’re paying for Facebook too?! Twitter? Skype? Are you high?

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: And what exactly is wrong in presented picture?

“never heard of those “other functions”. Care to elaborate?”

Sure… there’s bulletin boards, chat groups, file transfers, VoIP, remote access, etc., etc., etc. The primary function of the internet is to allow people to communicate with each other. That this also allows commerce is purely a side-effect.

“I’m confused: you’re paying for Facebook too?! Twitter? Skype?”

Let me unconfuse you: I don’t pay for any of those services, true. Because I don’t use them. There is much more to the internet than those things.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: And what exactly is wrong in presented picture?

Oh, also, I should point out there are a huge number of services (that I do use) that are both free and without advertising. I personally run a couple of such services. Not everything, and not even the best things, on the internet are intended to be revenue generators.

That this notion has been beaten down by commercial interests is a terrible thing, that that “value tree” chart is yet another such attack.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: And what exactly is wrong in presented picture?

Hi, I’m a Network Administrator. 20 some odd years personal experience and 10 years professional. And in my professional (and personal) opinion, you’re an idiot. Who do you work for so I can make sure to never hire them?

You seriously don’t know that a vary large group of people actually pay real money for hosted E-Mail servers (and an ass load of other hosted services)? Do you even Internet?

Gwiz (profile) says:

What bugs me the most about is that they seem to imply that “consumers” and “creators” are mutually exclusive groups. They are not. At all.

All creators are consumers and most consumers are creators these days. The internet isn’t a one-to-many system like radio and TV where the roles were clearly defined by inherent limitations.

Trying to impose the “old” broadcast norms on the internet is pretty much the definition of crazy in my opinion – that chicken has already flown the coup.

Zonker says:

The internet is an interconnected web of people who are both consumers and creators, sharing content with each other as equals with no constraint. There is no top to bottom flow of content from a single source, the content comes from each of us on the internet. This is what ancient media moguls don’t understand or desire as it deprives them of control over content.

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