Not Even Hiding It Any More: EU Council Explicitly Pushing For Mandatory Upload Filters

from the filter-this dept

One of the key talking points for supporters of Article 13 in the EU Copyright Directive is to absolutely deny that it requires mandatory upload filters. Of course, as soon as you ask them how an internet platform could possibly abide by the rules of Article 13 without implementing mandatory upload filters, they suddenly change the conversation. Usually to something about how YouTube is ripping off all musicians. This is… weird. First of all, YouTube already has its giant upload filter in the form of ContentID. Second, if they can’t tell you how it doesn’t require upload filters, then… it requires upload filters.

As the trilogue negotiations continue between the EU Council, the EU Commission and the EU Parliament, the Council has apparently decided to drop the pretense and is now explicitly demanding mandatory upload filters. The newly proposed language says that any site is liable for all infringement committed by their users unless they block any infringing works they’ve been informed about from ever appearing on their sites again. It’s a “notice and stay down” requirement — which has all sorts of problems. First of all, this assumes that every use of the same work is equally infringing. It does not take into account that one use may be infringing, while another may be fair use or fair dealing. Second, it requires incredibly expensive technology. ContentID already cost Google over $100 million… and it’s not very good. Tons of stuff still gets through. So now, basically, any successful smaller platform would have to spend ridiculous sums of money to implement a useless filter that won’t work… and when things slip through, they’re still liable for massive damages.

And, notice what’s missing? What happens if these filters take down content they should not? This happens all the time. But here, of course, there is no punishment for false notifications or for mistakes. While the Council tries to get around this by saying the rules “shall not affect legitimate uses, such as uses under exceptions and limitations,” that’s entirely meaningless. How the hell do you train a filter to understand parody? Or fair use? Or any other limitation or exception? Google has spent $100 million on its system and it has no clue how to determine fair use.

The link above to Julia Reda’s site has more info on the current state of the negotiations, but suffice it to say that this still appears to be an utter disaster for the internet, as you have people who have no understanding at all how the internet works, passing sweeping regulations that will have massive consequences for speech online.

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Comments on “Not Even Hiding It Any More: EU Council Explicitly Pushing For Mandatory Upload Filters”

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PaulT (profile) says:

“The newly proposed language says that any site is liable for all infringement committed by their users unless they block any infringing works they’ve been informed about from ever appearing on their sites again”:

Which is, of course, impossible. No matter what kind of filter is built, people will always be trying to get past it, and if you look at some of the stuff on YouTube they don’t even care that much if it’s recognisable as the original (or even watchable) when it does.

But, the people proposing this are probably being educated by the same people who think that it’s possible to create a back door that’s only accessible by the “good guys”, or possibly Japan’s cyber security minister:

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You could make this backfire on the politicians that pass it very easily.

If there is no penalty for a mistaken or even fraudulent takedown, then nothing prevents any random person from forcing the takedown of anything.

If something being taken down once means it must stay down forever with no way to appeal unless the person who triggered the takedown changes their mind, then it would not matter that the original poster owns the copyright, it would stay down.

Taken together, you make the law backfire by taking down EU government and MEP personal sites at the registrar level.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Exactly what my first thought was. One way blacklists, as they propose, are designed to fail from the start. Before you know it, they will have a whitelist of their own making that will be immune to takedown requests.

Google should just refuse any connections from the EU and force everyone there to use a VPN to pretend they aren’t in Europe. Once Google catches the authors of this mandate using the same services, it can reveal it and get them to take it down.

Anonymous Coward says:

This video opened my eyes about the way that EU’s Parliament actually works, as explained by several elected British Parliamentarians who upon arriving in Brussels soon learned that power is held by a small, elite, arrogant, and generally secretive group that does not tolerate dissent. This is certainly not the way that a democratic government is supposed to be run.

Anonymous Coward says:

So what will happen is there,ll be a few websites
like youtube that,ll operate in europe .
Startup,s can hardly afford 100 million to build a filter that does, not even work .
The rules for blocking content are literally impossible to follow ,
any small site will be sued by some artist or
.Theres lots of infringing content on youtube.
Most websites will choose to block user uploads
,maybe limit it to images only.
Or maybe move to a country outside the eu to base their servers in.
Even now streaming music sites are infinging ,
they cannot find all the songwriters ,music producers ,arrangers of every song they have in their database .
Has no one even suggested a process where content
can be re uploaded if it is found to be fair use
or commnentary eg a review of a film that shows
a few short clips of the movie.

Anonymous Coward says:

I believe I have a much cheaper solution. If you offer user-generated content, start blocking all of Europe from your site right now. If Youtube and Facebook had done this back when this sort of nonsense started being talked about, the laws never would have been passed.

Do you really think all those U.S. news sites that blocked the E.U. after their last bit of mandatory suppression of free speech rules when in are ever going to implement another solution. Some might, but not all.

John Smith says:

Mikey whines again, and no one is listening.

Copyright thieves deserve prison. They’re parasites.

Mike’s a joke except to a small group of lawyers who are also a joke to everyone but themserlves. They make noise on the internet thinking they can change things and reality keeps proving them wrong.

Mikey will leave absolutely no legacy on this planet. He’s juset a big-mouthed NOBODY and he can’t stand it. A sniveling little coward hiding and ranting from behind a monitor. Not even a man, just a pathetic little boy.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Mikey whines again, and no one is listening.”

Well, you clearly are, so you’ve outed yourself as a liar again.

“Copyright thieves deserve prison”

So, the lady who drove 600k extra sales with the blessing of the author in another article today deserves prison? Or, does she get a free pass just because?

“They make noise on the internet thinking they can change things and reality keeps proving them wrong.”

The funny thing is, dicks like yourself were saying that about everything from the move to cord cutting to the idea that offering content DRM free wouldn’t instantly bankrupt the music industry. The reality I live in proves you those people wrong, not this site.

“Mikey will leave absolutely no legacy on this planet”

More than you, despite your delusions of grandeur which you strangely always fail to prove.

“A sniveling little coward hiding and ranting from behind a monitor.”

Although, the lack of self awareness is impressive.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Copyright thieves deserve prison. They’re parasites.

Yes, I agree entirely. People who abuse copyright (and copyright-enforcement mechanisms) to steal people’s ad revenue on YouTube, to steal people’s rights to control over their own property with DRM, to steal their voice via the censorship of bogus takedowns, and so on, are thieves and parasites who deserve prison.

…that is what you meant, right?

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

And this children is why we now require our leaders to be aware of how technology works & require that they not only listen to the insane rightholders but people who can explain why it is insane & impossible.

When they demand the impossible & place the burden upon everyone else, they are trying to push us back to the dark ages where only content approved by a committee vote over the course of 2 years can appear online.

We need leaders who live in the real world, not in fantasy worlds where if someone uploads a meme a trillion dollars was stolen from the rightsholder of the image & that money needs be be ripped from service providers for somehow magically not doing enough.

Given the massive failure of Content ID, how they can still believe that the technology is the magic bullet able to thread a needle that currently requires long court cases to decide if it was infringing or fair use.

Mike Looper says:

!!! YouTube CEO is Now Lobbying FOR Upload Filters

Hey, Masnick: you’re outta the loop, behind the times as usual, if not betrayed, ’cause on Torrent Freak rat now is the above headline and explicitly the opinion of your favorite source:

Julia Reda, MEP for the Pirate Party, warning that YouTube is now lobbying in favor of upload filters.

Heh, heh.

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: !!! YouTube CEO is Now Lobbying FOR Upload Filters

Yeah. As mike has been saying, Google has been moving in an anti-competitive direction for years now. They are in favor of these filters because it already does upload filters. It costs google (Youtube) very little to maintain or develop its filters further, compared to a competitor which will have to spend that $100 million from scratch. Or do you just ignore all the times Mike has warned that these kinds of regulations will only entrench google as the monopoly player?

Mike Looper says:

Re: Re: Re: !!! YouTube CEO is Now Lobbying FOR Upload Filters

It’s Blue, they ignore anything that doesn’t match with and/or contradicts the strawman TD/Mike they have in their head, no matter how blatant or frequent it is.

And YOU ignore 20 years of Masnick openly shilling for Google. It’s not in doubt. He STATES it on the Copia site. Anyone else was "sponsored", you’d scream SHILL!

YOU ignore his ongoing advocacy of corporate personhood, the notion that corporations have absolute control of the "platforms" that Section 230 makes for The Public to publish without hindrance, NOT to empower corporate censors.

It’s YOU who are blind "That One Guy".

I bet you even believe that Masnick "supports copyright"!!! Ha!!!

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 !!! YouTube CEO is Now Lobbying FOR Upload Filters

I’m still waiting for the explanation as to how he’s shilling for the other sponsors listed on the Copia site. What nefarious things has he been doing on behalf of Auttomatic? He never seems to address all the other people on the list that “proves” something about Google, though. Which, being the only piece of evidence he’s ever had, he should be able to at least address some of the more obvious failings of it.

It’s sad, really, when the conspiracy he’s had to invent doesn’t even make internal logical sense.

Mike Looper says:

Re: Re: !!! YouTube CEO is Now Lobbying FOR Upload Filters

Or do you just ignore all the times Mike has warned that these kinds of regulations will only entrench google as the monopoly player?

NO, I don’t. However, I view Masnick as RELISHING that, where I abhor it. I suppose you don’t agree with me there…

Masnick himself has tried to blame ME for Google being advantaged with this Article 13 bit. I’m a useful demon to project blame onto. That’s my role here, whether either of us like it or not!

But I don’t advocate just leting GOOGLE just continue without regulation! It needs broken up!

SO you see, there is VAST difference between me and Masnick. We BOTH predict GOOGLE will be larger. I WANT IT BROKEN UP. MASNICK DOES NOT.

Now, simply put: which of we two are actually opposed to Google? Me or Masnick?

James Burkhardt (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: !!! YouTube CEO is Now Lobbying FOR Upload Filters

You have built a false dichotomy, that if you oppose google in any fashion you must call for its destruction.

You assume not calling for Google to be broken up (and you assume that could be done in a manner which actually does something) and not pushing for regulation means Mike supports anti-consumer and anti-market moves by google.

However, Everytime Regulating google comes up he notes the same thing – the regulation destroys the first amendment and legal principles of liability, and/or that the regulations in question will only serve to entrench Google, while failing to resolve the underlying concerns.

He blames you, because you have unceasingly called for stricter copyright enforcement, despite his worries that greater copyright enforcement will entrench the richest players, IE google. Your rhetoric around copyright is the same rhetoric that has given us Article 13.

The vast difference between you and Mike? You assume big is bad. Mike does not.

Also, I never realized there was a reverse psychology form of shilling. Learn things every day.

That One Guy (profile) says:

'Fair use/dealing? Never heard of it.'

By stripping context out of the equation they are all but eliminating fair use/dealing from the law, just without the honesty of doing it openly.

The exact same content can be infringing or non-infringing depending on context, something filters cannot take into account, such that if fair use is to be allowed filters like this are not viable options. Pushing for them anyway makes clear that fair use/dealing is being dismissed as not important, if it was considered at all.

Matthew Cline (profile) says:

While the Council tries to get around this by saying the rules "shall not affect legitimate uses, such as uses under exceptions and limitations," that’s entirely meaningless.

I think what it means is "don’t come crying to us with your excuses, just nerd harder and do it". Whether or not they genuinely believe that nerding harding will get the job done, I don’t know.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You only need to look at the proposed penalties, to see what the priorities are.

The upload filters “should” satisfy opposite goals (fight copyright violations AND allow legitimate use). If a service provider faces harsh penalties when failing to block piracy, but has no such problems when failing to allow fair use, then you know that the Council only cares about one of the two goals.

The DMCA contains the same imbalance, and has existed for about two decades. You don’t have to be a tech wizard to see where that has led to.

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