EU Internet Companies Warn EU Parliament Not To Vote For Articles 11 & 13; Say They'll Hand The Internet To Google

from the don't-do-it dept

Just as so many sites are protesting today, and people plan to be protesting this weekend, 130 EU-based internet companies have signed a powerful letter to the EU Parliament explaining why it must reject Articles 11 and 13. It goes through many of the same explanations many of us have made over the past few months, but also (importantly) highlights that passing this legislation will basically hand the internet to Google, one of only a very tiny number of companies who can actually deal with the consequences and requirements of such heavy-handed, poorly drafted laws:

The companies signing this letter to the European Parliament are urging you to vote against Articles 11 and 13 of the proposed copyright directive. The text of the trilogue agreement would harm the European economy and seriously undermine the ability of European businesses to compete with big Internet giants like Google.

We support the goal of the legislation to protect the rights of creators and publishers, but the proposed measures are inadequate to reap these benefits and also fail to strike a fair balance between creators and all other parts of society. The success of our business enterprises will be seriously jeopardized by these heavy-handed EU regulations.

The letter — written and signed by people who have helped build key components of the internet, explain just how Article 13 will undermine the internet ecosystem, and Article 11 will ruin a bunch of important businesses:

Especially Article 13 is dangerously experimenting with the core foundation of the Internet?s ecosystem. Making companies directly liable for the content of their users forces these businesses to make billions of legal decisions about the legality of content. Most companies are neither equipped nor capable of implementing the automatic content filtering mechanisms this requires, which are expensive and prone to error.

Article 11 is creating a completely new intellectual property right for press publishers. The experience with similar laws in Germany and Spain raises serious doubts about the expected benefits, while the negative impact would be very real. An additional layer of exclusive rights would make it harder to clear the necessary legal hurdles to start new projects. It will make entrepreneurs more hesitant to just launch new projects. Europe would lose any chance to play a significant role on the world stage. Startups that build services based on aggregated online information would go out of business, and every company that publishes press summaries of their appearance in the media would be in violation of this law.

And then it highlights (again, because some of us have been pointing this out), that for all the talk of how Articles 11 and 13 were needed to push back on the big American internet companies, all they will really do is lock them in, and harm all of the EU internet companies who signed the letter:

Although the purpose of these regulations is to limit the powers of big US Internet companies like Google or Facebook, the proposed legislation would end up having the opposite effect. Article 13 requires filtering of massive amounts of data, requiring technology only the Internet giants have the resources to build. European companies will be thus forced to hand over their data to them, jeopardizing the independence of the European tech industry as well as the privacy of our users. European companies like ours will be hindered in their ability to compete or will have to abandon certain markets completely.

Given all of these issues it is noteworthy that the final trilogue agreement lacks meaningful safeguards for small and medium enterprises. The broad scope of this law would most likely lead to less new companies being founded in Europe and existing companies moving their headquarters out of Europe. For all those reasons we urge every pro-Startup politician to vote against Article 11 and Article 13.

One hopes that the EU Parliament will actually listen — though I can’t wait to hear Axel Voss and friends explain how this letter from Google’s competitors who are warning about how the bill will entrench Google and limit competition is really “Google shilling.”

It remains truly disappointing to me how few Article 13 supporters have actually been willing to engage on the specific concerns and criticisms of the bill. No matter what anyone says — even those who explain how it will lock Google into a dominant position are dismissed as promoting Google’s message. The lack of intellectual honesty displayed by supporters of Article 13 is truly a shame.

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Comments on “EU Internet Companies Warn EU Parliament Not To Vote For Articles 11 & 13; Say They'll Hand The Internet To Google”

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86 Comments
Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

I can’t wait to hear Axel Voss and friends explain how this letter from Google’s competitors who are warning about how the bill will entrench Google and limit competition is really "Google shilling."

The twists in logic that will be necessary for such an argument will likely make said argument look like a Möbius strip of bullshit. It will be hilarious and I will have my popcorn at the ready.

Anonymous Coward says:

What makes them think the EU cares?

From what I have seen of this Article 13 shit, the EU is obviously as irredeemably corrupt as the modern GOP. All this calling us bots, mobs, Google puppets, then trying to move the vote two weeks early, the lies, and secrecy! Its corruption! All of it! Why would after all this time, the EU suddenly change it’s mind after us peasants say "pretty please", when the lawmakers have gotten or will be getting, briefcases of cash from the legacy companies?

I really have no reason to be confident that we can wi this.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: What makes them think the EU cares?

For which they nailed him to a cross and a millennium later his church was getting pretty fat out of selling indulgences in exchange for cold, hard cash.

I don’t think the religious angle will help.

We should simply learn from history and do our best to dismantle the EU as an entity. Making sure every elected MEP has that on their agenda is a good start.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Oh the Corruption That The EU Is.

They don’t want to destroy the internet. They want to make publishers rich while justifying the bribes they received from said publishers.

The reality is that they’ll destroy the internet but that’s not their goal. I’m sure they can see it.
They’re just too corrupt to admit it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Oh the Corruption That The EU Is.

A self-publisher IS the writer. Same for those who make their own music.

What they don’t want is independent distribution networks to thrive, but they can’t stop that. The public has stopped it by continuing to stigmatize "self-publishing" and refusing to evaluate material for itself.

In 1994, "Sein Language" and "Stop The Insanity" were two of the three best-selling books, and they weren’t exactly high quality. The third of the three? A book called "Navigating The Internet."

Anonymous Coward says:

Platforms should be held accountable for what their users do.

Companies that can’t handle protecting others from harm inflicted by their users have defective business models and shouldn’t exist. As noted, Google and Facebook apparently can comply with the law. If other businesses can’t, that’s their problem.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Responsibility would mean taking down defamatory content once put on notice that it’s defamatory.

Who will be the one with the authority to "put on notice"? Unless you mean letting due process play out and with a judge and jury to determine if the content is defamatory or not.

Rich Banning of Urls says:

Re: Re: Re: Knowledge = responsibility.

Whoops. The Internet prematurely inserted.

Why should it be different for Internet companies?

As I’ve written before: "Internet companies" have the ability to look and SEE what’s in thos "packages". Indeed, the whole point of delivering content is for people to SEE it. So they aren’t delivering closed boxes without any knowledge short of ripping them open, time consuming at best, unwarranted mostly. — But "Internet companies" CANNOT AVOID knowledge.

[By the way Grande Comm got its attempt to avoid knowledge nixed and is now definitely on the hook for aiding infringement by NOT acting when TOLD of it. Solid law: knowledge = responsibility.]

No, kids, edge / obscure cases aren’t the test: it’s EASY to tell at a glance that a large file titled as current Hollywood movie and which glancing through will show is in fact that movie which is definitely copyrighted not put out for free. Hosts should be forced to start with the large / more costly content and THEN might discuss uncertainty with edge / obscure.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

it’s EASY to tell at a glance that a large file titled as current Hollywood movie and which glancing through will show is in fact that movie which is definitely copyrighted not put out for free

Assume that the average movie, as a video file, is about 4.7 GB large when placed in a RAR file. If I put together a RAR file that is roughly the same size and name it after a currently-in-theaters film, but fill it with nothing but public domain images and documents, how can a filehost tell “at a glance” that my legal-to-distribute file is not the same as the illicit file?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

That assumes that there is not an automatic iy infringes our copyright response. Given the lack of effort to actually check a file is infringing, why would companies sending DMCA notices on behalf of the MAFIAA expend any effort in responding to counter notices, as that would take people, rather than an algorithm.

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Knowledge = responsibility.

But "Internet companies" CANNOT AVOID knowledge.

Sometimes they don’t have the knowledge until after the fact (see streaming among other things). In many cases they don’t have the information to determine if something is copyrighted or not.

What about the cases which isn’t obvious (because the obvious cases of infringement IS handled today on all major platforms)?

I’m not talking about obscure or edge cases, I’m talking about everyday use of internet which impacts tens of millions of people. The cases that infringe free speech and fair use? That aren’t infringement?

If you say that those cases are less important than the rights of a rightsholder you are against free speech.

Also, just because some people think article 11/13 is a bad idea they aren’t for copyright infringement. Saying otherwise is disingenuous.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Knowledge = responsibility

This is where Section 230 comes into play. The whole point of 230 is to ensure a platform’s protection from legal liability if a third party posts something illegal without the foreknowledge of the platform’s owners/operators and the platform deletes said illegal content upon learning of it.

Rich Banning of Urls says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Knowledge = responsibility.

The whole point of 230 is to ensure a platform’s protection from legal liability if a third party posts something illegal without the foreknowledge of the platform’s owners/operators and the platform deletes said illegal content upon learning of it.

Not contested. I’ve often stated that "platforms" are REQUIRED to police by Common Law terms. It’s Masnick who says they’re absolutely immune.

Now, I bet you’re trying to meld that into another of Masnick’s notions, that "platforms" are authorized to PREVENT access and outlet for viewpoints by whatever arbitrary rules they wish. But that’s been decided NO in the Public Cable Access case:

Before the Internet, it was envisioned privately-owned cable TV companies would make air time available to the public as "the video equivalent of the speaker’s soapbox." Even though the channel and equipment used to produce the programming was privately owned, the programming fell under the 1A. The Court concluded "public access channels constituted a public forum, notwithstanding that they were operated by a private company".

https://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/ca2/16-4155/16-4155-2018-02-09.html

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

"platforms" are authorized to PREVENT access and outlet for viewpoints by whatever arbitrary rules they wish

They are, yes. A White supremacist forum has every right to boot Black Lives Matter supporters from said forum. A platform can have a clear sociopolitical slant and still keep its 230 protections; you cannot point me to a law, statute, or court ruling that says otherwise.

that’s been decided NO in the Public Cable Access case

And if platforms such as Twitter were regulated under that law, you might have a point.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Even so, the burden of getting a court order every time someone is defamed is too great.

If there is no court order, there is no determination as to whether or not defamation occurred, so uh, no. What you are asking for is an impossible standard. You are asking to put liability on platforms if they make the wrong determination about whether or not defamation happened.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

… said no one ever who had any experience with any notice-and-takedown system.

Not so, I can think of one group who would make that claim, and you hinted at them in your following sentence.

They are always, always, always abused.

Someone’s got to be abusing it after all, and for those individuals it would indeed ‘work just fine’.

Rich Banning of Urls says:

You premise all on never further action to break up GOOGLE.

No matter what anyone says — even those who explain how it will lock Google into a dominant position are dismissed as promoting Google’s message.

I bet that Freudian slip springs from actual knowledge and firm belief that the fix is in on Google, it’ll never be brought under anti-trust because a valued intrinsic part of the Deep State. — Oh, conspiracy kook talk? Snowden said that Google provides NSA "direct access".

The lack of intellectual honesty displayed by supporters of Article 13 is truly a shame.

Oh, you want honesty? About Google shills? How’s this suit ya, Google-boy?

https://copia.is/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/sponsors.png

[pro-tem horizontal rule substitute]

Yup, appears that the horizontal rule is no longer allowed. Can’t even put a string of underlines or dashes now!

I have an effect here and beyond. Thus far I’ve got the outdated press.php page taken down, the subject line length cut to probably minimum of 64, and all the fanboys regard me with mixture of awe and fear, blame me for everything.

It’s astounding. Weirdest site on teh internets.

Rich Banning of Urls says:

Re: Re: You premise all on never further action to break up GOOGLE.

You’re a whiny asshole. Why am I supposed to be afraid of you, again?

You’re not to. I’m astonished that you do. I give you absolutely no reason to fear, simply put out my opinions in mild word with rare pejorative let alone vile.

You and rest of fanboys are irrational besides shallow and insecure. I can’t help that, but like to HOOT it.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

You and rest of fanboys are irrational besides shallow and insecure.

…says the long-time troll who talks of Google/Techdirt conspiracy theories and complains about “censorship” of comments he can copy-paste literally anywhere else on the Internet.

I can’t help that, but like to HOOT it.

We get it, you like to roleplay as Rowlet in adults-only Pokémon chatrooms.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

No no, he’s actually right here. I’m in awe that someone can be so dedicated to being so grossly dishonest for such a long period of time, and in fear that somewhere out there there might be another person with such abysmal standards that he might actually have kids.

Course, the main emotion I have when facing them is entertained, because hey, who doesn’t get a chuckle out of watching an idiot make a fool of themselves over, and over, and over again.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I’m important guys really!!

I have an effect here and beyond. Thus far In a decade of failure I’ve got the outdated page that was going to taken down already, taken down, spammed the subject line to the point anti spam measures were taken, and all the fanboys regard me with mixture of pity and fear, and laugh at me for everything. I’m an mentally ill liar who promised to never darken this websites door again. And yet I’m still here.

Fixed for truth bro

That One Guy (profile) says:

When the truth shoots your argument in the back...

It remains truly disappointing to me how few Article 13 supporters have actually been willing to engage on the specific concerns and criticisms of the bill.

Disappointing, but not in any way surprising. They can’t defend it honestly, so it’s no wonder it’s been nothing but lies and dishonesty from those defending it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Pathetic whining and Russian sponsored imaginary grievances

It is hard to imagine that such horseshit occurs to multiple anonymous cowards and long time posters by accident. Tell the truth, please. This site is part Russia’s “disinformation” campaign intended to confound the west, and the majority of people who post here are actually socialist/communist errand boys carrying water for the Kremlin. I have read here many times about how the “means of production” should be the center of all decision making, how artists should be forcibly starved out of art, and how both big internet companies and small asshole sites like this one should be PROTECTED from big bad politicians.

Read the constitution. It’s the politicians that should be protected, not the blasphemers, because when politicians are smeared on sites like this one, EVERYONE is hurt. Trump, for example, has done more good for more Americans that any president in a LONG LONG time. Smearing him hurts EVERYONE in the US.

Your protections against lawsuits should be abolished. Content creator protections, copyright and patent laws, should be strengthened. The best and the brightest should be rewarded. The lazy and dishonest should be shunned.

You cheap pirates should be thrown out of your basement dwelling dreariness and taken to forced labor camps to pay for your stolen works. That would be good.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Pathetic whining and Russian sponsored imaginary grievan

When I was four I knew a really irritating girl who said “I know you are but what am I?”

Is it you, Pam? Still throwing the same crap against the wall?

To call you childish is to give you too much credit. You’re just an idiot with no excuse.

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