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.

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Comments on “News Organization Like Reuters Supporting The EU Copyright Directive Is A Shameful Support For Censorship”

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17 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

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.

And they omit a small fact, at best they represent a very small percentages of those groups, as most people in those groups are not signed up with any of the organizations, or signed up to the legacy publishers, who the undersigned mainly represent.

Rocky says:

Re: Re:

And they omit a small fact, at best they represent a very small percentages of those groups, as most people in those groups are not signed up with any of the organizations, or signed up to the legacy publishers, who the undersigned mainly represent.

Which is kind of the point, they want to act as gatekeepers forcing people and organisations to sign up to them for a fee.

TFG says:

Re: Re:

Yes, you silly consumers, don’t you know that copying anything takes money directly out of the hands of creator’s children? The internet is very mean to the put-upon billionaire publishers, and I bet it causes syphilis on contact.

Yours truly,

Malicious Misrepresenter of Issue at Hand that wants culture to be locked up

radix (profile) says:

This is a symptom of the 21st century news. The lines have been blurred so thoroughly between news and entertainment that the higher-ups at news organizations see themselves as no different than record producers or film directors.

This is also what’s driving the renewed push for the Hot News doctrine. Anything pushed out by news organizations is getting so highly processed that it has just as much "artistic input" (in the minds of the producers) as any piece of multi-media art deserving of more strict copyright protections.

News organizations are increasingly in the entertainment business, so demanding more rights at the expense of their consumers is really no shock.

Anonymous Coward says:

FTFY (damn enter key)

We, the undersigned citizens, creative individuals (authors), musically inclined moms and dads (composers), developing student (writers), internet activists (journalists), politicians (performers) and others actually creating in all artistic fields (not buying/selling others works), Search Engines (news agencies, book, press, scientific and music publishers, audiovisual and independent music producers) call on the European Parliament to reject the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market.

This Directive has been long sought to tip a market leveled level playing field farther towards the corporate interests and away from the creative, whilst restricting the basic ability to express or share diverging opinions while preventing citizens from accessing a wider array of content produced by ‘non middlemen’.

This is an historic opportunity. We need an internet that is fair and sustainable for all. This is why we urge policymakers to reject the Directive quickly, as nobody could agreed in trilogue negotiations.

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