As EU Politicians Insist That It's All Just 'Bots' And 'Astroturf' Tons Of People Showing Up In Real Life To Protest

from the look-at-all-those-bots dept

One of the more obnoxious elements of the EU politicians brushing off the concerns of the public concerning the EU Copyright Directive, is their repeated, insulting and incorrect, claim that there really isn’t a public upswell against Articles 11 and 13 and that it’s all just manufactured by Google and “bots” and “astroturfing.” We’ve already pointed out that nearly 5 million people have signed the Change.org petition protesting Article 13 — making it the largest petition on that site ever. And those are real people signing on.

And those real people are now showing up to protest as well. As highlighted by Drew Wilson at FreezeNet:

The ink has barely dried on the finalizing of Article 11 and Article 13 and now, protests are beginning to emerge in Europe.

All over Twitter there are examples of large protests springing up over the Copyright Directive.

I especially like the text of this one which, translated, says “But we are all just bots.”

Boy those “bots” sure crossed the uncanny valley in a hurry. Here’s another one, saying: “We are currently at #Artikel13Demo the one in Cologne or as MEP of the CDU, Sven Schulze would say: “A real fake action.”-Yes exactly! You see, we’re all just bots!” Look at all those bots:

And some more bots:

I’m sensing a theme:

Damn, that’s a lot of bots.

I’m beginning to think that European politicians who mocked critics of Articles 11 and 13 as “bots” may realize that that was a strategic mistake. The “bots” have mobilized — and they sure look like human beings who will be voting for the EU Parliament in May…

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Comments on “As EU Politicians Insist That It's All Just 'Bots' And 'Astroturf' Tons Of People Showing Up In Real Life To Protest”

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75 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

Can someone pick up that phone?

As I noted in the previous article on this subject…

Do you want angry protests in the street? Because that’s how you get angry protests in the street. Again.

Go figure, dismiss people’s electronic protests as nothing but bots and they show up in person. I wonder if the idiot who tried to just brush it all under the rug has enough self-awareness to realize just how badly he screwed up with his dismissive arrogance?

JoeCool (profile) says:

Re: Re: Can someone pick up that phone?

We dismissed them as bot because of evidence – all submissions being in alphabetical order, coming from the same source, and including names of people who were known to hold the opposite stance or were even dead. These politicians dismissed them because they used gmail. I know you were being funny, but it’s worth pointing out the difference. One had evidence of being a bot, and the other was pure ignorance and arrogance.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Claiming that A11 and A13 are actually needed, won’t do things that they actually will, won’t break the internet, and make things generally worse for everyone but the companies they are trying to punish with this DOES require a lie. And also a severe divorcement from reality and understanding of how technology works.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Ehhhnnnnt! Wrong!

Piracy is already illegal and enforceable under already in-place laws. Besides, neither of these resolutions actually address piracy. They just restrict legal use even more.

Also, there is nothing illegal about aggregation. Especially when the "worst aggregation offenders" don’t even copy/repost/host the aggregated content. They display the headline, maybe a subtitle, and provide a link to the originating site if you want to actually read the article. You can’t actually read any news articles on Google News. Shocking, I know, since that pretty much invalidates any reason for either A11 or A13.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Trying to blame aggregators is especially funny given two little tidbits that they seem to have ‘forgotten’.

1) If they’re talking about the likes of Google(and let’s be honest, that’s who’s being targeted with laws like this) sites can block them with a simple change to the site’s code, yet strangely enough they don’t.

2) When those terrible aggregators/Google responded to previous attempts to shake them down for money for the terrible crime of sending sites free traffic by dropping the links/snippets the very sites that were complaining about how evil Google was for sending them traffic completely lost (what remained of) their minds, accusing Google of trying to strongarm them and/or abusing it’s position.

It’s a strange sort of ‘crime’ when the ‘victim’ whines up a storm when it stops.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The pirates and aggregators created the need for Article 13.

Piracy will still be a thing if and when Article 13 passes. A13 will not stop torrents or private trackers; if anything, A13 will send that type of activity further underground, where — like human trafficking — it will become much harder to track.

Aggregators will still be a thing, too. Search engines exist precisely because they aggregate openly available data and information of all kinds in a way that makes searching for such info (and the sites that display it) much easier for all people. The only difference is that A13 will chill aggregation within the EU, such that sites within the EU will lose traffic — especially the news sites that are fighting so hard to have that aggregation destroyed.

Article 13 would do nothing to prevent or punish currently illegal actions. It would, however, do a lot to prevent or punish actions such as content aggregation and Fair Use-protected copyright infringement that are currently legal (or seemingly legal, at least). Your holy crusade would harm the innocent more than the guilty, and I have to wonder: When you cut down all the laws to get at someone you perceive to be a criminal, what will you do when someone else thinks you are a criminal and the laws can no longer help you because you did such a magnificent job of cutting them all down?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Search engines exist precisely because they aggregate openly available data and information of all kinds

I never thought about this specifically before. Sure I recognized how bad this would be for news aggregators but technically, all a search engine is one giant aggregator of all types of content.

With that thought in mind, A13 is actually making all search engines illegal. This just went from stupendously stupid to completely brainless decision making in how I view it.

Bailey Deast says:

Re: Re: Re:

if anything, A13 will send that type of activity further underground, where — like human trafficking — it will become much harder to track.

SO? That’s the whole point of law. Crime is reduced when forced out of sight, that’s axiomatic.

By your notion, anything that gov’t wishes to stop it should actually allow in the open where can be "tracked". — Not. Sane. As shown by all history.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Forced underground is not the same as reduced. Indeed, generally when things are "forced underground", they tend to flourish and grow until you have a really massive problem on your hands, instead of being reduced to a smaller percentage of occurrence. Take prohibition for example.

Crime is reduced when forced out of sight, that’s axiomatic.

No, it’s really not. That’s just stupid and illogical with no basis in facts or reality. Forcing it underground just means that you personally don’t see it for a while until it gets too big.

By your notion, anything that gov’t wishes to stop it should actually allow in the open where can be "tracked". — Not. Sane. As shown by all history.

Prohibition says hi. Moron.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

SO? That’s the whole point of law. Crime is reduced when forced out of sight

Reports of crimes being reduced does not mean the actual rate of those crimes happening are being reduced. You can drive human trafficking underground, but that doesn’t stop it from happening.

anything that gov’t wishes to stop it should actually allow in the open where can be "tracked".

Allow the actual act? No. But allow people to advertise the act in a way where those people can be tracked and the crime can either be prevented outright or punished soon after its commission? Hell yes.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"SO? That’s the whole point of law. Crime is reduced when forced out of sight, that’s axiomatic."

No, that’s actually the OPPOSITE of law.
A good law will allow for a paradigm where it is actually possible to implement the law.
What article 13 does, otoh, is, to use drug laws as a comparison, the equivalent of forcing EVERYONE to hide and move fully legal accessories – like cosmetics and home electronics – using the same methods as drug smugglers use, making the job of the police impossible since absolutely EVERYONE is now behaving as if they had something to hide.

That’s why a law which makes it impossible for police to reasonably act is a shit law.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Pushing piracy underground means only hardcore pirates will know how to steal content. That’s fine with me. The remainder will have to buy, license, or not consume the content. If a pirate "might" buy in the future (as an argument that it doesn’t harm), then the piracy is a potential lost sale (otherwise the piracy can’t help the business model).

With Articlel 13 becoming a reality we will see if the internet breaks or not. My guess is that it won’t.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Pushing piracy underground means only hardcore pirates will know how to steal content.

Unlikely. Piracy is as easy as going to a website and downloading a file. Nothing will change that.

The remainder will have to buy, license, or not consume the content.

How is this any different than today?

If a pirate "might" buy in the future (as an argument that it doesn’t harm), then the piracy is a potential lost sale (otherwise the piracy can’t help the business model).

As opposed to "will never buy" then actually piracy is helping. Many people who pirate stuff, turn around and buy the exact same thing legally. It’s essentially their own version of try before you buy. If they can’t try it before they buy, then they won’t buy it period, e.g. guaranteed lost sale. But if they can try before buying, then that 0% chance of a sale jumps up. Your logic is flawed.

With Articlel 13 becoming a reality we will see if the internet breaks or not. My guess is that it won’t.

Well then you really don’t understand how technology and the internet works. And when it does break, we’ll be here to laugh and tell you we told you so.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

If a pirate "might" buy in the future[,] then the piracy is a potential lost sale[.]

No, it isn’t.

A “potential” sale is a sale that has not been made yet. No monetary transaction has yet happened in the “potential” scenario. Someone who downloads an illicit copy of, say, Alita: Battle Angel might buy a legal copy of the film in the future — but that potential does not put money into someone else’s bank account. And if that person decides not to buy a legal copy, that decision does not take money out of someone else’s bank account. No money changes hands, and no money is guaranteed to change hands before being taken back.

A potential sale is not a lost sale for the fact that you cannot lose what you didn’t have in the first place. If you can prove that “potential” revenue is the exact same thing as actual revenue, such that even one single download means the artist(s) involved with creating the downloaded work lost a tangible amount of money from their bank account(s)…well, you’d be the first.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

If they "might" buy then they "might" have bought even without the piracy. The threat of stealing to extort a free copy would be criminal. The downloader’s name has value on a mailing list, so money is lost by the creator and gained by the pirate every time an illegal copy is downloaded.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

If they "might" buy then they "might" have bought even without the piracy.

If someone is confident in an artist or author, they buy new works sight unseen, otherwise it is try before buy by some means, or if physical goods are involved buy at bargain book stores or second hand.

Now, obviously nobody buys a copy of everything that they try, but many sales would not happen without the try. Also, while TV and radio used to be a form of try, that is no longer the case for the younger generations who find their entertainment on the Internet.

Where is the Internet equivalent of free to air radio?

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

"The downloader’s name has value on a mailing list…"

Again with this imaginary mailing list which pirates apparently happily leave their names on.

Your arguments keep suggesting that you live in a land of delusion and make-believe, bobmail, because I very much doubt there’s a single pirate out there who ever left their name or traceable address on a "mailing list".

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

He’s confused. You see, from what he’s told us, his entire business model was one of those get rich quick scams, where he offers a worthless freebie in exchange for personal information, then uses the resulting list to relentlessly spam the fools who signed up until they buy further worthless content.

Due to the above, he’s unable to conceive of a situation where someone gets something for free without having to give their information up to a scammer. He’s not honest or intelligent to do a little research and see how things actually operate, so he pins the collapse of whatever scam he was running on pirates getting the mailing list and not the natural failure of his his dishonest trade.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

"…from what he’s told us, his entire business model was one of those get rich quick scams, where he offers a worthless freebie in exchange for personal information, then uses the resulting list to relentlessly spam the fools who signed up until they buy further worthless content."

Wait, you’re telling me dear old "Bobmail"’s big hate-boner over pirates is because, for some oddball reason, he’s become convinced that the key part of being a pirate involves successfully using his own old fraud scheme?

That sort of drops him from right from "religious fanatic" into "tinfoil-hatted crackpot convinced of martian mind control because drug-addled gerbils".

I used to think his demented rants were those of a poor soul unable to support himself any other way at least being handed 50 cents every now and then for humiliating himself in defense of the indefensible. The idea that he’s being serious once again reveals much of what sort of mind it takes to believe in Copyright.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

"he’s become convinced that the key part of being a pirate involves successfully using his own old fraud scheme"

Better than that – he seems generally unaware that he was a fraudster to begin with. He seems to think that harvesting an email list to upsell people to get rick quick schemes was honest labour that’s been robbed of him by pirates, and not that he was the kind of scum that’s lower on the totem pole than the pirates themselves (say what you want about the supposed losses to online piracy, I’ve not had one hassle me for money since the VHS days when they sold in public markets).

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

What about the people who would have bought a legal copy, but the industry’s obsession with regional restrictions, DRM and other things prevent them from doing so, or makes the end product not worth buying and so they do without (not pirate)?

"The downloader’s name has value on a mailing list"

Only to con artists like you, the pirate sites never ask for it in the first place.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

If they "might" buy then they "might" have bought even without the piracy.

And either way, it is not an actual sale until money changes hands. “Might buy” is not the same thing as “is guaranteed to buy”. If a person cannot pirate a work, their decision not to buy it in the absence of piracy is not a “lost sale” in the sense that the work’s author loses money.

The threat of stealing to extort a free copy would be criminal.

…fucking what

The downloader’s name has value on a mailing list

We here in the comments section have explained this to you before, and I will explain it to you again, this time in less complicated language.

“Pirates” do not leave their names on mailing lists. “Pirate sites” do not generate mailing lists. The whole point of “piracy” is to remain anonymous. Anonymity makes “pirates” harder to track.

money is lost by the creator and gained by the pirate every time an illegal copy is downloaded

Time for a hypothetical!

I have ten dollars in my pocket. You have, let’s say, $100k in your bank account. I find a copy of your work online on a “pirate site” and download a copy for myself instead of buying a copy through Amazon. No money has changed hands at any point in this situation. Other than a potential sale (which is not the same as an actual sale), what money did you lose that you did not have in the first place?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

"Explaining" just means presenting your viewpoint.

I’ve lost one name off my mailing list, which has a fixed value. The pirates definitely get hit with advertising, cookies, and even more marketing content in what they steal. All lost to the creator (and gained by the pirate).

Just ask Conde Nast, whose magazines break even but whose subscriber database of thirty million for all of its publications makes them rich.

Creators are free to give samples of their work. Most don’t, some do. Under no circumstances is stealing work legitimate, and since the pirates don’t get the memo, it’s why countries like Japan will simply start imprisoning them.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

""Explaining" just means presenting your viewpoint."

Often it also means presenting reality, a concept with which you are apparently unfamiliar.

"I’ve lost one name off my mailing list, which has a fixed value. The pirates definitely get hit with advertising, cookies, and even more marketing content "

So… you’re saying that you lost one person that you think you can scam out of money, while people with a more diverse business model that you could easily replicate are making more money?

What’s stopping you from running your business in a way that means that someone not signing up to your spam list means you don’t instantly lose money? I mean, by your reckoning spam filters should be made illegal because it stops people reading your con tricks.

"Just ask Conde Nast, whose magazines break even but whose subscriber database of thirty million for all of its publications makes them rich"

What about people who buy their magazines but are not on any subscriber list? Even in your examples, the reality is far more complex than your simplistic list obsession.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

If they "might" buy then they "might" have bought even without the piracy.

Not if piracy is their only option to "try before buying". Many so-called "pirates", pirate the work in order to try it before purchasing legitimately.

The downloader’s name has value on a mailing list,

No, it doesn’t because there is no such thing as a pirate mailing list. It just doesn’t exist.

money is lost by the creator and gained by the pirate every time an illegal copy is downloaded.

Oh? And if by pirating a work, the "pirate" likes it so much that he is willing to then go out and buy a legitimate copy, and furthermore likes the artist’s work so much he buys more of their stuff, that’s not money lost. That’s money gained where there originally would be none.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Which forces the creator to yield a "free sample" against their will to someone who obviously has interest in it or they wouldn’t download it. Their value to a mailing list is lost to the creator (and gained by the pirate), and if they are in fact a "potential sale" then that is definitely lost at first.

Creators can give free samples or trials of their work or use this model on their own. That they do not suggests it’s not as valuable as you might think.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

"Their value to a mailing list is lost to the creator (and gained by the pirate), and if they are in fact a "potential sale" then that is definitely lost at first."

Your spamming is probably being blocked by 80% of the people you try to defraud anyway. Why not pick a business model that can’t be disrupted by people clicking "this is spam" when they see you?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Pushing piracy underground means only hardcore pirates will know how to steal content.

Never under estimate the bandwidth of an Altoids tin full of Micro SD cards, and the simplicity of copying files. It is more than enough to spread copies of the annual published output of the legacy publishers, but not enough to deal with the legal hourly self published output on the Internet.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

"Pushing piracy underground means only hardcore pirates will know how to steal content."

You mean like every "pirate" in the last thirty years?

What article 13 does – and any other such law – won’t affect pirates at all.

Instead it forces LEGAL USERS to get with the pirate program and turn that "underground" into the default venue for normal citizens.

Hey, I’m all for it. It means you guys lose every last shred of the control you imagined you had.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"The pirates and aggregators created the need for Article 13."

Wait, what…you are claiming that article 13, was created as a response to the phenomenon that particular legislation does not, in any way, address.

That’s even worse than claiming that invisible fairies are responsible for the need of laws against littering. What the hell are you copyright cultists smoking?

Bailey Deast says:

As usual, you were diverted from TOPIC to whether are "bots".

You fall for this sequence EVERY time.

1) Big flap over substance.

2) One of the principals comes up with some "ridiculous" or "laughable’ suggestion.

3) Off you go down the wrong trail, barking your head off, pleased and proud that you saw through the obvious diversion.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: As usual, you were diverted from TOPIC to whether are "bots"

Sorry, what? Please try to make some amount of sense at least once in a while.

The story is about an elected official who made an incorrect assumption and pissed off the population of several countries by claiming they were "just bots". He is now rightly being mocked and derided for his stupidity. Much the same as we do for you in the comments.

Anonymous Coward says:

although this is the topic in the EU atm, it is just the same here in the USA and many other countries. governments are doing whatever they can to stifle us ordinary people, to stop us finding out and being able to find out exactly what governments, industries corporations and businesses are up to, what the heads are up to, what the rich and famous and powerful are up to, none of which is in the interests of us ordinary people and everything that favors those above! every government seems to be doing whatever it can to ensure the people remain ‘ordinary’ and often ‘in the dark’ as to what is happening against us, while helping in every way possible, with the help of the security services, the courts and judges, to keep those above in charge and in control! in other words, whatever can be done, is being done to ensure we, the ordinary people, remain as nothing but slaves to the elite! governments especially are voted into place to do what is best for the country and the citizens, unlike how it is atm, making sure that only the top echelon of people and companies etc keep their status, at any cost and whatever law needs to be changed or introduced to achieve that is being done! sooner or later, the masses will have enough and respond accordingly! i wonder how long that will take and how many wrongs have to be done?

Anonymous Coward says:

you deserve it

I keep warning you clowns that your constant desire to give governments power to "regulate all the things" will only result in businesses taking over those tools and using them against you. Government IS the rich. What kinda of moron thinks they are going to self police? Because you can vote for them? I have a bridge to sell you.

You will never learn and you will always deserve that fallout of that. Go ahead, keep walking off the cliff and blaming gravity when reality comes rushing up into your face.

Rocky says:

Re: Re:

I think you are a bit hard on the EU. Lets simplify it a bit and be totally jaded:

A government not run by corporations will eye the corporations success as a possible revenue stream and work towards getting their hands on it.

A government run by corporations means the corporations will use the government and it’s citizens as it’s private piggy-bank to raid.

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