Latest EU Copyright Directive Still Demands Internet Companies Wave Magic Wands

from the this-is-not-how-you-regulate dept

The EU Copyright Directive continues to be a total and complete disaster. It’s so bad that neither of the two main groups lobbying around it — the legacy entertainment industry and the big tech companies (with the vast majority of the lobbying coming from the copyright sector) are both unhappy with the bill (though for opposite reasons). And yet, despite all of this, the EU continues to soldier forward with a new proposal and a new draft that still requires that internet companies do the impossible:

The specific suggestions being pushed in the revised Copyright Directive suggests that whoever is putting this stuff together still has no idea what they’re talking about. There’s an attempt at fixing Article 11 (the snippet tax) not by actually fixing it, but at least making sure that it doesn’t apply to “individual words or very short extracts.”

The rights referred to in the first subparagraph shall not apply in respect of uses of individual words or very short extracts of a press publication.

What does “very short extracts of a press publication” mean? Well, we’ll have to see what courts think of it after extensive litigation, I guess.

More importantly, Article 13 remains an utter mess where they still think that internet companies can just wave a magic wand and suddenly they will stop all infringement without also taking down non-infringing content. The text still pushes for online platforms to have to take out licenses for everything — and on the question of takedowns of stuff that isn’t actually infringing, it just says “don’t do that”:

The steps taken by the online content sharing service providers should be without prejudice to the application of exceptions and limitations to copyright, including in particular those which guarantee the freedom of expression of users.

Users should not be prevented from uploading and making available content that they have produced and that contains existing works or other protected subject matter for specific purposes of illustration or parody when these uses do not create significant harm to rightholders.

First of all… how is that even possible to do these things without running afoul of the other parts of the law? The bureaucrats don’t say because they don’t understand any of this. Second, this new text basically only says that this applies to “parody” or when the uses “do not create significant harm to rightsholders.” But, who determines that? We’ve seen rightsholders go nuts over all sorts of uses that wouldn’t create actual harm (in some cases that would lead to more revenue). All of this is just left up to the idea that internet companies will magically figure out what’s okay and what’s not.

As the EFF notes in a thorough post, so much of Article 13 is really the EU putting out vague statements about what should be allowed and what should not be allowed, without any notion of how that’ll work and then saying you two giant industries figure this mess out. Indeed, as scholar Annemarie Bridy pointed out recently in a wonderful (if terrifying) tweet storm, the entire Article 13 appears to be based on a model of the world that isn’t accurate — one where there are just a few internet companies negotiating with just a few content companies:

The whole thing remains an utter disaster that is moving forward even as no one is left who really seems to support it. The public doesn’t want this shit. The big entertainment companies are now asking for Article 13 to be set aside. The big internet companies have always been against it. And yet it rolls ever forward, with a bunch of clueless, technically illiterate bureaucrats basically saying “well, if we just say big companies should do this without allowing any negative consequences to happen, surely they can figure it out…” and tossing it over the fence.

This is not how sane policy is made. This is how you fuck up the internet.

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Comments on “Latest EU Copyright Directive Still Demands Internet Companies Wave Magic Wands”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Hmmm

Saying that stopping infringement is what you are trying to accomplish in no way means that this is what you are actually accomplishing. Why do so many people push and buy the lies and not-even-half-baked attempts at doing a thing?

This will properly remunerate artists.
This will keep children safe.
This will stop terrorists.

Bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: 'I asked for 2 million, but I suppose I can settle for 1.99...'

While they would certainly like to get everything they want, I’m sure they will graciously accept ‘only’ getting 99% of what they want, should it go through in it’s current form with those pesky(weak) ‘safe harbors’ still included.

They’ll be holding back tears and struggling to keep up a brave face the whole time though, having to settle for such a paltry amount, just you watch.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: 'Just because you have to do Y doesn't mean you HAVE to do Y.'

Oh I’m sure they’ll try at least, the way the bills have been handled positively reek of (not so) plausible deniability.

‘You need to accomplish X or face stiff penalties, and while the only real way to do that is by doing Y, since we never actually mentioned Y, and vehemently denied that it was required(despite the fact that our demands make it so), clearly it’s entirely your fault for doing Y.’

Richard M (profile) says:

The question lawmakers never seem to ask.

Does my new law fix the problem I say I am trying to fix?

This never seems to come up for some reason. All they care about is that they are doing Something/Anything so that it looks like they are in charge and know what they are doing.

Most of the time doing nothing is the best choice.

However for politicians that is not really an option because it is hard to earn bribes if you are not doing anything.

I look at the dumpster fire that the is the US political scene and think this is about as bad as it could get. Then I look to the EU and other countries and start thinking that maybe there is a contest I do not know about where the politicians of the world are trying to see who can screw up their country the worst.

Anonymous Coward says:

You know the US has gotten a lot of flack for doing dumb things

But at least our politicians have some idea of how the internet works and don’t try to push this kind of garbage too often. Why do the EU citizens allow this to continue? Anyone who actually uses the internet knows that these rules will be terrible

Anonymous Coward says:

Theres millions of creators out there
making art ,music ,video,s everyday ,
so wheres the magical filter out there that can register all the content in real time
,with all the info on each item, eg creator,
name of video ,song, singer ,songwriter ,composer,
etc The people who wrote this directive do not understand the internet ,
or They are simply following the instructions
of legacy companys ,who do not care about
small creators or free speech .
Even the big record companys admit there are 1000,s of songs from the 50,s , 60s that are not registered ,
eg no one has records of who the composer,or songwriter is.
No one bothered to registered the copyright properly or the relevant paper documents have been lost as small record companys were bought by sony ,Emi etc

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Cool think-of-the-kids whataboutism, bro.

If you can come up with a method of preventing copyright infringement that works as intended while taking into account the context of a given instance of infringement (e.g., Fair Use-protected parodies) and the costs of implementing enforcement to a given scale (e.g., Google hiring and training enough moderators to effectively run the entire enforcement system without flagging any false positives)…well, you need to let everyone know, because you will have created a silver bullet solution that cannot actually exist in our reality.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"If the "impossible" were stopping "child porn" would that justify giving them a pass because no solution works?"

No but it certainly DOES exonerate any and all forms of core infrastructure such as electricity, the internet, router manufacturers and camera manufacturers from any and all blame even if those all fail similarly to prevent CP.

Bobmail, you’ve been propping up the same straw man arguments using terrorism, CP, murder, vandalism, and the general existence of evil as a "reason" to make people stop questioning your shitty rhetoric. Isn’t it about time you realized that method doesn’t work around anyone willing to call your bullshit?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The hubris of the pirates brought this on. They insisted on stealing. Absent these directives, the internet companies could be sued for individual cases of infringement.

The underlying premise of these articles seems to be that rightsholders have no right to defend their rights. They do. All the noise this site makes won’t change a thing, except perhaps to make the endgame even more draconian, since it shows just how much the pro-piracy crowd wants to dig in.

Subsetitute “child porn” for “piracy” and the logical flaw becomes apparent very quickly.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The government has an interest in the tax revenue created by those copyrights. Piracy is a crime. they want internet companies to stop enabling crime.

Substitute “child porn” for “copyright” and all of these arguments fail. This is just people refusing to acknowledge copyright as valid, when it clearly is.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

The government has an interest in the tax revenue created by those copyrights.

Then the government should do a better job of enforcing the tax code on corporations and rich motherfuckers who game the system for their own benefit.

[Copyright infringement] is a crime.

And unless it is commercial infringement, copyright infringement is generally a civil matter.

Substitute "child porn" for "copyright" and all of these arguments fail.

Hmm. Let’s see:

corporations want to force third parties into defending corporate-owned [child porn] in ways that refuse to take context, scale, and cost into account

Well, you’re not wrong — in the most technical sense possible, anyway. But the creation and distribution of child pornography is not the same thing as an act of copyright infringement. Your attempt to create an equivalence the two makes your argument look weaker because, rather than directly address my argument about corporations and copyrights, you go “but child porn” as if I am supposed to cower away from the argument and give you an easy “win”.

Defend your opinions about copyright law on their own merits; avoid the moral equivalence fallacy (and that “think of the children” what-about-ism). A failure to do so makes your argument look like shit — and it makes you look like an asshole, to boot.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"A failure to do so makes your argument look like shit — and it makes you look like an asshole, to boot."

"Look like"?

If this is the same jolly sociopath which has haunted both techdirt and torrentfreak for years – and the tone and methodology suggests it is – then we are talking about something far worse than merely an asshole.

Consider that by extending his logic, roads cars, electricity and power lines shouldn’t exist because they all fail at stopping criminals from using them for nefarious purposes…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

There are big differences, in that Child porn is defined by what is in the image, video etc, and there are no concepts like public domain or fair use to get in the way.

Copyright is ties to an owner, and use can be licensed for other uses or publication.. Therefore while one can look at a picture and say child porn, and a computer algorithm can do the same, nobody other that the copyright owner can look at a created work and say its is their and this use is not licensed. Also, even when the copyright owner did not license the use, fair use comes into play, and the use may be unlicensed but not infringing on their rights.

So one is recognizable on sight, except for edge cases, and the other needs information not made available to the person or algorithm making the judgement.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“There are big differences, in that Child porn is defined by what is in the image, video etc, and there are no concepts like public domain or fair use to get in the way.”

There’s another massive difference in that, by definition, child porn has to have a victim. However the image is created or distributed, a child somewhere was abused.

Copying a song does not have this, and in fact there may literally be no victim if you copy a song you already own or go on to buy a copy after you listened to the copied version.

Anyone who uses this argument not only does not understand anything about the real situation, they are trying to use emotional arguments to shut down debate about reality, and thus push through legislation that’s damaging to everyone.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I call bullshit on your tax revenue theory.

If they want tax revenue, the easiest thing to do would be to 1) make corporations pay the goddamn taxes they already owe, no hiding shit in other countries, and 2) putting the tax rates back somewhere reasonable. Bonus: 3) No Hollywood Accounting tricks, since you seem so concerned with revenues connected to copyrights.

Further, one can never identify "copyright" the way "child porn" is identifiable. And identifying "child porn" is still problematic. But i am pretty sure your legacy gatekeeper industries would have no issue making an automated copyright claim on some child porn.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“The government has an interest in the tax revenue created by those copyrights.”

Then why are they supporting legislation that would make is vastly more difficult to collect revenue for the majority of created content?

“Substitute “child porn” for “copyright” and all of these arguments fail.”

They don’t, but thanks for providing the emotional argument that’s the go to for people who can’t defend the real situation.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

This argument would actually make sense if intellectual property was ever taxed in the same way that physical property is. Hint: it’s not. So the government has even less incentive.

Copyright is valid. It’s just that the way you enforce it makes a dumpster fire look like the preferable scenario.

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:

The underlying premise of these articles seems to be that rightsholders have no right to defend their rights.

No, it’s not. The premise of these articles is that they point to the fact that creating laws for maximizing copyright enforcement puts an undue burden on 3rd parties PLUS they cause massive collateral damage to anyone using services on the internet.

If you can’t understand that you really should have your head examined. Or perhaps you are hack that’s taking payoffs from big media to astroturf their agenda. Either way, you are their puppet – unwitting or not.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"All the noise this site makes won’t change a thing, except perhaps to make the endgame even more draconian, since it shows just how much the pro-piracy crowd wants to dig in."

I’ve almost missed you, Bobmail. The same tired old idea that one day soon everyone making a copy will be jailed under inhuman circumstances to satisfy your ghoulish hate-boner.

It’s the same answer as always – it doesn’t matter which laws you apply the only victims will be the legitimate users. People making illicit copies will keep getting away scot-free. History should have showed you this when this exact battle was fought over the tape cassette and the VCR. You already lost this one as well.

"Subsetitute "child porn" for "piracy" and the logical flaw becomes apparent very quickly."


Because it’s actually harder by far to shut someone down over a CP accusation since penal law needs to be observed and it’s actually a criminal offense to send a few thousand false accusations. The same high standard is not observed by copyright law which already in practice forces a "guilty until proven innocent" assumption.

The irony is that nothing you do will prevent filesharing. Not if every law copyright holders ask for passes unchanged. Not even if the laws YOU demand passes unchanged.
The only victims will be legitimate businesses. And the worst thing which could happen for you is if you get exactly what you ask for because at that time the damage will be so bad the public as a whole will simply jettison copyright as a whole and kill the very concept of it for the next few centuries.

Please never change, Bobmail. Hell, make sure every one of those lazyasses in copyright enforcement get on board with your agenda. The faster you get this shit going the faster we pirates win.

bobob says:

They could fix this fairly easily by adding a provision that slaps a huge fine on any “content owner” who alleges infringement on content found to be non infringing. That would sort out the vague notion of what is infringing and non infringing through common law through a few court cases and force anyone who would consider alleging infringement to think twice before taking action. That would also allow publishers to be a lot more flexible in deciding how or whether to manage what is uploaded without having to do the impossible or do anything much differently than they do now. Of course, any attempt to meaningfully sanction friviolous claims of infringement will never see the light of day.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Not bad….small, loyal audience and one patron who is in the process of shopping around the film and tv rights. Should wind up pretty wealthy and with no need to worry about the masses. That “new business model” you speak of.

Would rather have sold 100,000 books at $10 each but that doesn’t work when everyone can just torrent it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Would rather have sold 100,000 books at $10 each but that doesn’t work when everyone can just torrent it.

Funny thing, Hollywood and the labels are still in business, and making profits. Copyright infringement has never been a major cause of lost sales, and often the cause of sales. If your book didn’t sell, it was rubbish.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“Should wind up pretty wealthy and with no need to worry about the masses.”

Then why are you complaining?

“Would rather have sold 100,000 books at $10 each but that doesn’t work when everyone can just torrent it.”

Also doesn’t work when the content is crap, which I suspect is the more realistic option here.

Also, your attempt at maths is as poor as your writing portably is. The figures you quoted would give you $1 million. That’s retail pricing, so after the cut for whoever you sell through and taxes you’d still be a long way from “pretty wealthy”. Assuming you don’t have a day job that’s probably equivalent to 5-6 years maximum at a well paid professional gig, which is nice but not even close to wealthy.

So, either you’ve currently got a better deal than the unlikely retail situation you quoted, or you’re lying your ass off.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I thought you were already extremely rich from the book, bands and movie production deals. Bit hard to keep track of all your lies is it? By the way how’s all the local, state, and federal police investigations going? Them time traveling cyber lawyers return that book they stole? Do I need to put a “litigation hold” on this comment because of all the lawsuits flying out your door?

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

None of these directives kill off self-publishing.

Not directly, no. But if the directives were used by malicious persons/corporations to target small-name artists who make a living through self-publishing — if they were used to ensure that those artists would leave their art in a desk drawer so they could avoid getting sued or worse — the directives would never need to directly target self-publishing artists for the same outcome to occur.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Worse for the independent art is is that the directive targets the very platforms they use to publish their works. How long would say Jamendo survive if the are opened up to infringement claims?How long will it take a video to be checked for YouTube publication if every video has to be pre-filtered for both audio and video/image infringement? (currently they only filter audio).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

The artists have the option of using smaller platforms but choose to use the big platforms for a reason, they reach far more people than the smaller platforms. Many do not expect a large audience, but rather a smaller audience distributed about the globe, so they use platforms with a global reach.

Also, you fail to recognize, or are scared of, the actual scale of the Internet. Lots of small manually curated search engines would make it unsearchable at a global level, and destroy it big advantage, if something exists, and or two searches will find it. This means that the only people with global reach will be those who gain a global name, and that means large corporations. Also, it is not like Google does not have competition, and could easily lose its crown to other companies if it alienates users of its services.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

"This would result in spreading the wealth among smaller sites who actually devote some of their money to policing infringement."

In the end this is why the copyright cult can buy as many laws as they like but will never win – they’re functionally disabled where basic math is concerned.

No business where the cost is higher than the revenue will survive. And yet here you are, demanding that "smaller sites" who’ll have to spend ten bucks for every cent they earn (assuming their programmers are genius level and cost the same as a cubicle coding slave in Calcutta).

If google no longer existed what we’d end up with will be Google v2.0. Never "human-directed portals" who, by basic definition, would cost multiple times what google currently earns to operate.

Music_maniac (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Platforms like Jamendo are probably to gain from all this since they are a legal distributor of such rights. When I uploaded the music they took my info – including collaborators – and a profit sharing contract. pretty sure as an artists, as long as i am making my money, which i do i have no reason or right to be worried. As far as youtube is concerned i think it’s not hard to detect if your music is being played on a video without your permission, i recently joined Jamendo’s YouTube program – still to see the money though the promises are big!

On the other hand i agree with the comments here that the money that we could get as a copyright holder for most of the place might be a blur and it might get even harder to upload music and the smaller guys like us could make even less money than we are making now. maybe i need to get back to my bartending job, these governments are out to protect only the ones with bigger labels with already sh** loads of money.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

You are overlooking the prime requirement of article 13, all site that accept user uploads have to prevent infringing content being uploaded or risk a massive lawsuit against them rather than the uploader. The labels are practised at using the law to destroy competitors, and if the set their sights on Jamendo it will not survive, even if it wins every lawsuit brought against.

Even Youtube is worried that this sort of law will cripple its business model.

Anonymous Coward says:

someone is being paid by someone else to write this load of shite! the idiot putting it forward hasn’t got enough of a clue to do it alone, so who is behind him? if it’s so easy to sort out, why keep in the shadows instead of having the balls to enter the light and own up to wanting to screw over the Internet in general and everyone who uses it! come on, you gutless cunt! put your hand up! tell us all who you are! own up to being a total prick! admit to the world exactly what you really want and why!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Ignored, of course, is that the difficulties in “operational feasibility” are there because, under the status quo, internet companies are BREAKING THE LAW via vicarious and contributory copyright infringement.

This is akin to automobile companies complaining that safety requirements are too expensive, with the same false premise that criminal conduct has an inherent right to exist when it does not.

No one is telling these internet companies not to do business, just not to do business in a way which enables criminal behavior. Article after article makes noise as if to give the impression that there is some major crisis when there is now.

“This is important!”

Important to the pirates and those who enable them, not to anyone else. It is not the copyright holders’ problem that internet companies can’t figure out how to do business without BREAKING THE LAW.

They might as well break out into a number of “it’s hard being a pimp.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Many in law enforcement who fail to curb crime do lose their jo9bs.

Grasp at all the straws you want. Your side will enver win this political battle. Copyright fuels lots of commerce, tax revenue, and improves the quality of creative works. Many rightsholders are indies who are not part of the “gatekeepers” either.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“Anyone beyond th 4chanish crowd here pretty much knows how much revenue is generated by copyrights.”

Then it should be trivial for you to post a link to a reliable study that shows this figure, and a comparison showing that against the revenue that is lost by the proposed action. Studies that should be the first step before even proposing any kind of legislation.

Yet, you conspicuously refuse to cite the claim that you claim is obvious. That seems suspicious.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Does you accounting of copyright revenue include all the revenue that goes to self publishers, which include us a patronage sites and payments to them via other means. If so, where did you get the figures, and if not, you have no idea of the revenue due to copyright that exists outside the fraction that flows into the traditional publishers, labels and studios.

Matthew Cline (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If we were to compare VCRs and DVD/CD burners to Internet platforms, would you say the VCRs manufacturers aren’t guilty but Internet platforms are is that the manufacturers sell a physical product which (after sale) is out of their control, while Internet platforms provide a service that remains in their control? Or that it’s impossible for VCRs to tell if they’re engaged in illegal copying or not, while it is possible for Internet platforms? Or what?

Anonymous Coward says:

Reminder: everything's copyrighted

If they have to prevent the upload of anything copyrighted, they might as well shut down now, because anything anyone writes is copyrighted for a century except in rare cases where they’ve waived it—which some say can’t be done in Europe. It might be interesting to see a version of Twitter with a 100+ year delay, but that would have limited long-term appeal.

(I waive copyright on the preceding message and on this copyright waiver.)

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