Creators Supporting Link Taxes And Mandatory Filters Are Handing The Internet Over To The Companies They Hate

from the be-careful-what-you-wish-for dept

On Wednesday, the EU Parliament will vote yet again on the EU Copyright Directive and a series of amendments that might fix some of the worst problems of the Directive. MEP Julia Reda has a detailed list of many of the proposals and what they would do to the current proposals on the table. While there are a few attempts to “improve” Articles 11 and 13, many of those improvements are, unfortunately, very limited in nature, and will still create massive problems for the way the internet works.

Unfortunately, as with the situation earlier this year, many groups claiming to represent content creators are arguing in support of the original proposals, and spreading pure FUD about the attempts to fix them. Author Cory Doctrow has a very thorough debunking of each of their talking points. Here’s just a snippet:

Niall says that memes and other forms of parody will not be blocked by Article 13’s filters, because they are exempted from European copyright. That’s doubly wrong.

First, there are no EU-wide copyright exemptions. Under the 2001 Copyright Directive, European countries get to choose zero or more exemptions from a list of permissible ones.

Second, even in countries where parody is legal, Article 13’s copyright filters won’t be able to detect it. No one has ever written a software tool that can tell parody from mere reproduction, and such a thing is so far away from our current AI tools as to be science fiction (as both a science fiction writer and a Visiting Professor of Computer Science at the UK’s Open University, I feel confident in saying this).

But there’s an even larger point that makes it so incredibly frustrating that we’ve been seeing content creators claim to support the existing draft in order to get back at Google and Facebook. And it’s that these rules will lock in the giant internet companies as the only major internet platforms and block out any new upstarts that might compete with them. Cory’s explains it this way:

Niall says Article 13 will not hurt small businesses, only make them pay their share. This is wrong. Article 13’s copyright filters will cost hundreds of millions to build (existing versions of these filters, like Youtube’s Content ID, cost $60,000,000 and only filter a tiny slice of the media Article 13 requires), which will simply destroy small competitors to the US-based multinationals.

What’s more, these filters are notorious for underblocking (missing copyrighted works — a frequent complaint made by the big entertainment companies…when they’re not demanding more of these filters) and overblocking (blocking copyrighted works that have been uploaded by their own creators because they are similar to something claimed by a giant corporation).

Niall says Article 13 is good for creators’ rights. This is wrong. Creators benefit when there is a competitive market for our works. When a few companies monopolise the channels of publication, payment, distribution and promotion, creators can’t shop around for better deals, because those few companies will all converge on the same rotten policies that benefit them at our expense.

We’ve seen this already: once Youtube became the dominant force in online video, they launched a streaming music service and negotiated licenses from all the major labels. Then Youtube told the independent labels and indie musicians that they would have to agree to the terms set by the majors — or be shut out of Youtube forever. In a market dominated by Youtube, they were forced to take the terms. Without competition, Youtube became just another kind of major label, with the same rotten deals for creators.

I’d argue that Cory’s explanation even understates the problem here. The very design of these laws is to limit competition. What is often ignored in these discussions is that the record labels, movie studios and publishers pushing for these laws have always viewed the world in a particular way: where they “negotiate” against other big companies for how to best split up the pie. They don’t want to negotiate with smaller companies. They want just a few companies they can negotiate with — but hopefully they want the law in their favor so they can pressure that small list of companies to do their bidding. They certainly don’t care what’s in the best interests for actual creators, because their entire reason for being has been to take as much money out of actual creators’ pockets and keep it for themselves.

The idea that Article 11 and Article 13 will, in any way, help creators, rather than legacy gatekeepers is laughable. The idea that it will somehow harm the internet giants is equally laughable. They can deal with it. What it will do is take upstart competitors out of the equation entirely and will significantly remove negotiating leverage for creators. Whereas, in the recent past, they didn’t like the deals offered by the major labels, publishers and studios, internet platforms offered creators an excellent alternative, giving them negotiating power. But, with the EU Copyright Directive, those third party platforms will be limited, and thus actual creators will have much less negotiating leverage, many fewer options, and will get pushed back into exploitative contracts with the legacy gatekeepers. It’s unfortunate, then, that at least some have been lead to believe these rules are actually in their interest, when they will do significant harm to them instead.

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Comments on “Creators Supporting Link Taxes And Mandatory Filters Are Handing The Internet Over To The Companies They Hate”

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59 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

you’ll never stop greed and you’ll never put sense where there isn’t room. the whole aim is to get yet another step closer to the entertainment industries taking comp0lete control of the Internet because it is the best distribution platform invented to date! the industries want to control what can and cant be uploaded/downloaded via the ‘net but they also want to control who can access it and want to charge for that access. they want to keep the us ordinary persons off it completely, if possible, but if not, then limit our access as much as possible, this is all because what we can find out about what they are doing is against their wishes, like this ridiculous ‘right to be forgotten’. what a load of bollocks! once the industries get what they want and the various governments, courts and security services are helping in every way they can to make this possible, then the rich and famous will be able to go back, along with those already mentioned, to doing whatever the hell they like, just as before, without too much fear of being exposed!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The entertainment industries will never take comp0lete control of the Internet let alone control who can access it and want to charge for that access. They will never keep the us ordinary persons off it completely or limit our access as much as possible.

The industries will never get what they want and will never do whatever the hell they like.

You have no understanding of how the internet works.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Yeah creators, listen to Mike Masnick; why, just look at how he’s encouraged the big internet companies to pay you better and reduce piracy.

Oh wait, no he hasn’t.

Actually, I have regularly advocated for creators adopting better business models that can help them get paid more (in part by cutting out gatekeepers who take disproportionate shares) and I’ve also advocated for ways to reduce piracy: https://copia.is/library/the-carrot-or-the-stick/ So… you’re wrong. But nice try!

He hasn’t done anything remotely like that.

Well, if your argument is that there’s some magical way to increase payment by increasing enforcement, then you’re correct. I don’t advocate for increased enforcement because all evidence I’ve seen to date is that IT DOES NOT WORK in that it does not help artists get paid, it does not lead to more creation of content and it does not benefit anyone. But that’s not the same as advocating for artists.

I myself am a content creator. I make my living creating content. Of course, I advocate for what’s best for content creators — and that includes many options in how they can create, promote, distribute and make money from their content. That I think copyright is a particularly limiting way to do all of those is not an anti-artist position. It’s the opposite. It’s a factual position.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Wait until they find out the link taxes are paid to a Society who might remember to pay them once in a while.

We really need to stop with the alternative facts taken as gospel.
No machine can be accurate, hell even humans have a hard time.

There is no magic money printing machine powering the internet, some industries refused to believe it was more than a fad.

Why do they never look at their gatekeepers who are screaming about how artists are being robbed, while they are making record profits but the artists make less.

But sure, hand your future over to the same snake oil salesmen who have returned to town multiple times with a different paint job and more empty promises that this time it’ll work out for you.

John Smith says:

I can sell my work without a big company taking even one cent.

I can’t sell my work if thieves are allowed to pirate it. American copyright law has been decimated by rulings like the Perfect 10 cases, where the credit-card companies who *knowingly* processed payments for pirated works, the search engines who *knowingly* linked to pirated copies of the work, and even the webh9osts who *knowingly* hosted the content were held not to be contributing to the infringement.

People who want to steal my work are not looking out for me. I can protect my work and profit from it just fine, IF the laws are enforced as they have been in the past. I don’t need a new business model, even if I could create one, I don’t need unsolicited advice, and I don’t care if some entitled freeloader tells me they won’t purchase my work if I don’t give in to their tantrum and give them something for nothing.

Jhn Smith says:

Re: Re: Re:

Except there’s no need for the gatekeepers. Anyone can build an internet presence and market their work.

There aer internet marketers who have made tens of missions a year without eve spending a dime on advertising. Some use affiliate programs and let their products go viral hat way. Of course, many of them use the low-priced e-books to buid very profitable mailing lists to which they pitch thse high-priced seminars etc.

There’s no need to change copyright lw. It just needs to be enforced. People who are trying to steal my work not those from whom I’d seek advice anyway. I can handle my work just fine. I can’t make governments enforce their laws, that’s all.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

There’s no need to change copyright lw

There’s an "a" in "law", Grammar Nazi. And I’m still waiting on that answer as to how extending copyright from life + 70 to life + 95 helps in the creation of new works. Or, how any of those 70 years contributes to any new works being made.

It just needs to be enforced

Yeah, about that? The way it’s enforced right now, where your entire muscle is based on Prenda-style tactics of "subpoena the population and figure out who’s innocent later", this is why people know you’re full of it. Matter of fact, you’ve been skulking in these threads boasting about your millions made (and millions of dollars you COULD have made if only it wasn’t for evil, EVIL Techdirt!), so you can toss the victimization act. We all know it’s horseshit, top to bottom.

stine (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

So you CAN afford to re-create Content-ID? That makes you a large multinational and your arguments are bullshit. If you can’t afford to re-create Content-ID, you’re not going to be selling your IP yourself anymore, since you won’t be able to afford to create the filter and manual filtering won’t be allowed. On the other hand, Google are probably going to making a lot more money licensing Content-ID to you, and people like you.

John Smith says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Dohn’t need ContentID at all to sell my own work, as it’s not third-party contet.

Publishing companies are gatekeepers, not internet platforms. Antitrust law keeps them separate.

If I make a YouTube video promoting a book that is available for sale by download (or even mail-order in your worst-case scenario), how am I enriching big publishers?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

You might find that you cannot promote your work because a content ID like system matches the title and claims you are infringing somebody else’s work. Such claims are surprisingly common, because the big corporations do not care how much damage they do trying to protect their rights in works that they bought.

Also, the link tax idea could mean that you cannot post links to your site on the various social media channel you need to use for adverting.

These rule could seriously limit your abilities to do much more than create a site to sell your book, by making it extremely difficult to actual promote your works.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Did you read some time ago about the dude that posted a recording he make out in the wilderness and this recording that he had make with his equipment and not a work for hire, had a song bird singing in the background …. remember that?

Yeah – his original recording was taken down because someone else claimed it infringed upon their “intellectual property” that is supposed to be unique and not all encompassing. You can not claim to own all song bird singing in the wild. But, guess what … the claim was supposedly reviewed by a real human being – lol – yeah sure it was, because the removal was confirmed and continued regardless of the verifiable claims of the author.

But you would never be a victim of these thieves would you?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

One one of the things that started to bring down the USSR is when Russians discovered that could connect to the old UUCP network, via Finland. Direct dialing to Finland was possible, and people begin connecting their computer networks to the UUCP network via Finland.

If UUCP were still in use today, North Korea’s grip on information would have cracked by now, and the Kim dynasty would have collapsed by now

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“If I make a YouTube video promoting a book that is available for sale by download (or even mail-order in your worst-case scenario), how am I enriching big publishers?”

If you’d read the articles and the answers given to you, you’d already know and perhaps stop acting the moron. Alas, real-world answers are unable to enter the mind of a self-proclaimed millionaire who feels he didn’t get enough money from people following his peak.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Response to: John Smith on Sep 11th, 2018 @ 4:01am

No one is going to have a tantrum. They just won’t buy your shit. I can’t even imagine anyone infringing yours.

If you don’t want unsolicited advice, don’t go fucking reading it. No one wants your unsolicited bullshit, either.

None of this has fuck-all to do with the article. So take your unsilicited off-topic bullshit and shove it back from whence it came.

No one wants to “steal” your work.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

We believe nothing when a claim is made without the evidence to back it up.

Oh not nothing, repeatedly making grandiose claims and then refusing to back them up certainly leads me to believe they are a habitual liar at best for example.

People have no reason to believe an unsupported claim, but repeatedly making it certainly provides grounds to believe other things about the one doing so.

John Smith says:

Re: Re: Response to: John Smith on Sep 11th, 2018 @ 4:01am

No one = 30 million people who have stolen my work, and the pirates who not only stole it but renamed it and changed the copyright info in violation of federal law.

You’re a nobody because you’re irrelevant. I’m “nobody” here because people stalk public figures. Not out to prove or sell anything.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Response to: John Smith on Sep 11th, 2018 @ 4:01am

“No one = 30 million people who have stolen my work,”

Still waiting for that proof you said was so easy to provide…

“I’m “nobody” here”

…hence your pathetic attempts to argue from authority will never work, because you refuse to demonstrate that said authority actually exists.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Response to: John Smith on Sep 11th, 2018 @ 4:01am

You know, this is the point where I might actually concede the benefit of the doubt to you. Violating federal law sounds like you might have an actual case, and as far as I know, pirates don’t actually bother to change copyright info when they torrent something off TPB, so it sounds like you’re dealing with actual commercial pirates instead of the stereotypical basement dweller you copyright fanboys love to characterize all pirates as.

Of course, this legitimacy you might have had is kinda ruined by the fact that you refuse to put a name to a product so nobody can actually support you, and the way you treat everybody here with condescension.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Response to: John Smith on Sep 11th, 2018 @ 4:01am

“Violating federal law sounds like you might have an actual case”

Which, of course raises the question of why he’s spending time here pointlessly arguing with people rather than doing something productive. Basic logic dictates he’s full of shit, not a formerly successful artist who has a real case to prove to a court, but who chooses to anonymously troll a message board where nobody knows what his work actually was.

“Of course, this legitimacy you might have had is kinda ruined by the fact that you refuse to put a name to a product”

This seems to have been a common trend here over the years. People who have tried having an honest conversation never seem to have qualms about identifying themselves, often linking to their own work in the comments here. It’s only the people making grandiose claims about their own worth who refuse to identify themselves.

gamers and comics people of the world united says:

@john smith

YOU WONT SELL YOUR WORK IF NO ONE HAS ANY MONEY TO AFFORD IT
YOU WONT SELL YOUR WORK IF NO ONE CAN AFFORD TO SEE IT
YOU WONT SELL YOUR WORK F YOU CANT AFFORD TO ADVERTISE IT ( PIRACY )
YOU WONT SELL YOUR WORK IF YOUR TAPING LIL BOYS AND ACTRESSES
YOU WONT SELL YOUR WORK IF YOUR SEEN BUYING A GOLDEN SHITTER ALL THE TIME AND USING DRUGS AND BOOZE

YOU WONT SELL YOUR WORK WHEN TRUMP TRADE WARS ALLIES AND WE DROP YOUR PATENTS AND COPYRIGHTS AS RETALIATION

YOU DON’T HAVE THE FUCKIN RIGHT TO SIT ON YOUR ASS FOR EVER WHILE EVERYONE ELSE HAS TO WORK

YOU DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO PUSH YOUR SJW BULLSHIT NOT ALL MANNER OF THINGS

GO FUCK YOURSELF YOU LAZY ASSHOLE

That One Guy (profile) says:

Not a good look either way

Repeating long debunked talking points like that you’d almost think they stand to benefit themselves from a law that would (they think) eliminate vast swaths of competition, enshrining but a few gatekeepers large enough to survive.

That or they’re idiots who completely ignored what happened the last few times a country tried to shake down large companies for providing free traffic and advertising, where ‘good for creators’ wasn’t even remotely on the list of repercussions, though ‘good for large companies and gatekeepers’ certainly was.

Either way, not a good look for them.

Anonymous Coward says:

I could see websites blocking EU users, but that can be circumvented by using a VPN, which does not break, at this time, either US or EU laws

A American travelling to to the EU could set up a VPN on their home computer, if their ISP allows servers, and then connect to that to say, get to YouTube, and not be breaking any US or EU laws.

One example of circumventing geo restrictions that does not break any laws is when I take road trips to Canada or Mexico and then connect my phone to my home VPN to, say, let me listen to IHeart when I am driving on the road in Mexico, Canada, or Alaska. Or, in my hotel room, at night, using that to access the US Netflix libary, which, frankly, is the biggest of any country in the world.

Using the VPN on my home computer to access iHeart, Hulu, Pandora, the US Netflix library, on any other US Website, when I am driving in Alaska, Canada, Mexico, or Central America, does not break any laws in Alaska, Canada, Mexico, or any Central American nation.

ECA (profile) says:

The new land and corp thoughts..

The internet is a NEw country..
Consider a Large desert, and there Were caravans that ran across it for point to point.
Then it was found to have Much more then ever, it was a gold mine of Materials and everything new.
the Big companies run around the edges and Try to regulate those caravans. But they just Move to another location and still travel and deliver supplies and knowledge, and all sort of things.
Every time a Caravan Try to create its Own way point on the Edges the Big companies buy up the land or salt the wells or hire Bandits to pester them.
Those Big companies want to Control the desert, They want what is there, but Not to travel as the caravans do. They Wish to Charge for what is Already there and available.
The oasis’s of water, information, Data exchange, News transfer and Everything in the middle..

Parts of the problem tends to be How and Where the companies on the Edges Came from.. They have been there along time, and at one point it was 1 Large company. but the governments told them they could not do that, That there had to be competition.. So they broke up into Many smaller pieces and Shuffled a deck of cards and gave pieces to each other..(interesting thought). Even Broken up, they worked together. They Keep Shuffling the deck as Any magician will, to confuse you, But They are still in control. they companies became Larger, Even tho they were Broken up, by adding things TO their service, using the Same hardware that has been there along time.. the backbone of the desert. the Main paths. The Governments Paid for Much of the backbone, and has Paid for Expansion, into the Edges of the desert to help the companies.
Over time these companies have Gather other services that have many feature.. From video production, creation, distribution from Land based, to Satellites. Many older services have joined into the Card shuffle. There are 7 companies that Own over 30% of these services around the world(desert).

The desert being a New land, with few rules, other nations are declaring their OWN rules for the desert. Many are common rules and laws, that Can be used. But reality is interesting, as Even in the outer lands, Those same rules and laws are Not enforced very well. Just cause its easier to notice in the desert, does not mean it ISNT around you all the time outside the desert.
The desert seems to be a Large mirror of what is already happening in the rest of the lands around the desert, they few can control, but is magnified Largely in the mirror. And is seen by Many, rather then the Few who participate.

Dont bury your head about what is ON the net, but look around and see what is happening Even in your Own lands..
There is a word for this, hypocrite. Clean up your own lands First, and the desert will become clean also.

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