News Organization Like Reuters Supporting The EU Copyright Directive Is A Shameful Support For Censorship
from the sad-times dept
A bunch of sites have been reporting on the news that over 200 organizations have signed a letter in support of the EU Copyright Directive, with most of the news reports focusing on the fact that a ton of music collection societies and music industry trade groups are on the letter. The letter itself makes no real argument, it just says “pass this damn thing.” Well, since the law hasn’t yet passed, I think I can quote the whole thing without getting fined, so here it is:
We, the undersigned organisations, representing authors, composers, writers, journalists, performers and others working in all artistic fields, news agencies, book, press, scientific and music publishers, audiovisual and independent music producers call on the European Parliament to adopt the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market.
This Directive has been long sought to create a much-needed level playing field for all actors of the creative sector in the European Digital Single Market, whilst giving citizens better access to a wider array of content.
This is an historic opportunity. We need an internet that is fair and sustainable for all. This is why we urge policymakers to adopt the Directive quickly, as agreed in trilogue negotiations.
Of course, we’ve explained multiple times why none of this makes much sense. Nothing in the EU Copyright Directive is about creating a “level playing field” or “giving citizens better access to a wider array of content.” Indeed, as written, it will do the exact opposite. It will heavily weight the playing field towards large organizations (both tech and copyright) and massively limit availability to content through mass mandatory filtering.
Anyway, I’m not surprised at all the collection societies signing on to this — as they know that they’ll be in the best position to demand more money from platforms should this become law. What I find most troubling, however, is to see a bunch of news organizations — including behemoths like Reuters — signed on. I know that many large news publishers (stupidly) support Article 11, in the false belief that it will magically create a new stream of revenue for them from Google News having to pay to link to them (even though that hasn’t worked in Germany or Spain when similar laws passed in both places).
But it’s simply stunning that these news publishers — who often hold themselves up as the supporters of free expression — are now seen to be supporting the censorship powers of Article 13 as well. This is an incredibly short-sighted position for these news orgs to take. News reporting quite frequently depends on things like fair use and fair dealing — and the current version of the EU Copyright Directive will make that nearly impossible.
It is disappointing in the extreme to see organizations like Reuters completely toss their principles out the window in hopes of taxing Google.