EU Commissioner Gunther Oettinger Admits: Sites Need Filters To Comply With Article 13

from the the-lies-come-out dept

EU Commissioner Gunther Oettinger — well known for being a bit of a bigoted Luddite — basically crafted the plan that became the EU Copyright Directive when he was the Commissioner for the “Digital Economy” (despite not knowing anything about it). As you may recall, for many months now, supporters of Article 13 (now Article 17) have insisted that it doesn’t require filters. They would shout down anyone who pointed out that it clearly does require filters.

But now that it’s passed the EU Parliament, the truth is coming out. Last week, we noted that France’s culture minister admitted it required filters to comply (and that he wanted sites to start installing them as soon as possible). And now, Oettinger himself is admitting that filters are required under the Directive (translated via Google):

EU Commissioner G?nther Oettinger , also does not believe that the CDU model will prevent the filters. “I am convinced that the guideline sets relatively clear guidelines,” says Oettinger. “As things stand, upload filters can not be completely avoided.”

What’s truly incredible about all of this is just how vehement these guys all were about how the directive didn’t require filters and how much they insisted that the complaints about Article 13 were all “disinformation” and “propaganda.” Now the truth is coming out. The disinformation and propaganda had been coming from those who pushed for Article 13 in the first place. It’s truly incredible that they basically have started admitting this just days after the Parliament’s vote.

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Comments on “EU Commissioner Gunther Oettinger Admits: Sites Need Filters To Comply With Article 13”

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Bruce C. says:

This is what happens when you have two groups of people completely ignoring each other:
Proponents: "Filters aren’t (legally) required"
Opponents: "Filters are (technically) required"

Both statements remain true. But now that the proponents of article 13 blatantly admit that their opponents were right about the technical landscape, it’s even more obvious how their original statements were designed to obfuscate the practical effects of the copyright directive.

Meanwhile, the opponents have nothing to be ashamed of. The practical requirement of upload filters was obvious from the get-go. And even if it’s true that the directive doesn’t mandate a particular technology in its text, the only way to comply is with an upload filter.

Since the filters are so bad at it, sites will have to do one of the following:
a) go dark,
b) make their automation very conservative and shut down a lot of legitimate content,
c) staff up and hire moderators (or more likely an outsourced moderation service) or
d) go into publisher mode, where user-generated content is just a slush pile to pick and choose from. (or some combination of the above).

All of these options will reduce user-generated content in the EU (and elsewhere by side-effect), and result in further industry consolidation. Oh, and the groups who choose option c) will be less profitable.

The irony is that this is being pitched as "preserve EU (French) culture" law, when it’s actually a "consolidate the internet" law. This is just a law to reduce the number of organizations on the internet and then go after the ones that remain when something slips through the automation.

ON the bright side, this may cause a revolution in journalism. The internet companies have just as much right to copyright claim (on behalf of their users) against the publishers for Youtube video links, tweets and quotes from user commenters.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

So your "logic" is that since YouTube is run by a bunch of morons (which I would agree with in many cases) we should just bring down and destroy the Internet as a whole. Pretty waterproof logic. Takes the saying "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" to a whole new level.

Also, at least in this case, Google/YouTube did the right thing, even if the article tries to frame it in a bad way. Who is to decide which videos are "toxic", fake or otherwise inappropriate? Following the reasoning in the article, Google could just take down any video which they don’t like for any reason, political or economical or whatever.

Anyway, when I start to think that most of this Google-bashing of late could be facilitated and funded by those interests that run counter to the interests of the Internet, it makes me sick to my stomach and it makes me think twice about bashing them. Even if Google took many stupid decisions over the years, the interests that go against them now (old media, music industry, etc.) are corrupted, sick and depraved to the core, and I prefer stupid people to scoundrels, thieves and unsound people like those, thanks.

Kevin Hayden (profile) says:

The only type of filter that works

The only type of filter that will work successfully here is location blocking of European countries on the part of all the websites that allow user uploads.

It will only take a few things to slip through the upload filters to trigger the 4% of global revenue fines that the EU is so fond of. Do that a few times and it will bankrupt whoever is running the website.

Paying ‘protection’ money to the copyright maximalists won’t help either, as it’s
almost impossible to cover all of them and some stuff will surely slip through anyways. (Kind of reminds me of the old mob shakedown on business owners as well).

The best course of action would be to geo-block all of the EU, starting now and just thow up a webpage stating that since the new copyright directive is imminent, your site can’t afford to take the risk of financial ruin due to the liability it could create.

The reason I’m suggesting doing it now, is because the EU parliamentary elections are coming up and this should remind voters that they should be voting for people who will look after their interests instead of those of the coptright lobby.

Alternatively, they could just target France for now as they seem to be chomping at the bit to implement this shit-show ASAP. So, a smaller revenue hit for the websites, but still a strong message to the internet-using public.

Just my 2 cents.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: 'You saw what happened to them...'

The point is to instill fear of the voters in the US politicians, by showing what happened to the EU politicians when they did it.

If the EU politicians get away with it unscathed then the US ones will feel safe pulling the same stunt. On the other hand if the EU politicians get sacked(ideally every single one that voted for this) come the next election then the US ones will be much more hesitant in trying the same thing, lest they suffer the same fate.

SeekPerspectiveNotOneSidedVision says:


Good counter write up at Slate on this topic:

"The EU’s New Copyright Laws Won’t “Wreck the Internet”
The directive isn’t perfect. But it’s not the disaster critics are claiming."

Discusses how filters in actuality mean licenses aka permission that can apply sitewide and protect uploaders…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: FromtheOtherPerspective

So I, as an EU resident, create a bunch of content, lets say photography, and put it up on my own site. Joe Blow comes along and uses one of my photographs in a video he creates wherein the use doesn’t amount to Fair Use. He posts this video on YouTube where I happen to see it. I report this and the EU fines Google giant piles of money.

How could Google have protected themselves in this case?

And don’t be fooled. Most of the content on the internet is owned by individuals, not big conglomerates that can issue blanket licenses.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 FromtheOtherPerspective

Given Youtube is often touted as a ‘problem’ the law is meant to ‘address’, and they spent $100 million on a filter system that apparently is not enough to protect them(if it did, there would be no point in constantly mentioning it), ‘best effort’ would almost certainly require more than that at the least.

Which of course won’t be problematic at all, I mean who doesn’t have that kind of money just lying around?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 FromtheOtherPerspective

Put another way, he’s saying that Google won’t be punished to the effect of detriment. Which means that the main aim of Article 13/17, i.e. to put Google in its place, will roughly be achieved with the range of "jack shit" and "fuck all".

Unless money paid to filter makers suddenly translates to money paid to copyright holders. Which it probably does in the twisted minds of copyright fanatics.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: FromtheOtherPerspective

"Google won’t be fined if they make a best-effort."

"Best effort" as the directive phrases it means – unavoidably – that either google forks out more resources for allowing the upload than they arn in revenue…or they simply block the legal risk from uploading completely which costs them nothing.

And that’s just Google, which already has the software and the tech. Smaller platforms are screwed.

But you already knew this, Baghdad Bob.

Rocky says:

Re: FromtheOtherPerspective

Actually, that write-up sucks since it doesn’t even discuss how to solve the administrative burden of licensing content from thousands of rights holders, it doesn’t explain how sites is going to be able to determine what content users are uploading is licensed or not, nor does it explain how a site is supposed to determine if the content falls under "fair use".

The author doesn’t even reflect on the chasm that exists in liability for a site versus rights holders. Someone notifying a site of an infringement doesn’t have any liability what so ever – they can claim any content they want on a site as their own even if they don’t own it, without repercussions.

It’s basically a op-ed full of hand-wavium how much better it will be for users and totally disregarding the fact that the term users wont be appropriate in the future, the appropriate term would be viewers.

I'm_ not_giving_my_name_to_a_machine (profile) says:

Re: Re: FromtheOtherPerspective

And there’s a good reason for those problems with it..

From the comments there:

"I’m all for Slate seeking commentary from experts, but it’s weird not to clarify who is speaking, this article is written by a European copy-write lawyer who has written one other article for Slate, also on this issue, and you could easily say being an advocate for this policy is a major part of her professional life. "

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: FromtheOtherPerspective

"Good counter write up at Slate on this topic"

You mean the one which uses false assumptions and runs past an absolute nightmare of legal risks with a one-liner indicating "licensing"?

About as useful as claiming that abolishing cars wouldn’t be a disaster since a solution relying on everyone having the ability to flap their arms and fly means there’s a way to solve the resulting problems.

That’s not a counter. It’s sticking your head in the sand and believing the problem will go away if it is assumed not to be there. Then the lion eats that ostrich because causal reality does not run on wishful thinking.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: FromtheOtherPerspective

Because they (and actually the jerks that wrote the law) still think copyright-holder are only people associated with publishers.

Well to be fair they’re the only ones that count, as clearly if you’re not on a label/publisher then anything you made couldn’t have been that good, otherwise you would have signed with them.

(While I’m being sarcastic, sadly I have seen people with this mindset in the past.)

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: FromtheOtherPerspective

"It’s times like this (slate article) that it seems like there really may be a "fake news" problem."

Only the same problem which always existed. "Experts" – who really aren’t – being paid a hefty sum to write a twisted untruthful smokescreen meant to convince the audience there’s no problem.

And the copyright cult certainly is no slouch when it comes to whipping up an on-demand liar.

ECA (profile) says:

Lets solve this.

Filter the Politicians..
Filter the CORPS…
Filter the RIAA/MPAA..

the the People run around the net all for the fun of it..
the good/bad/ugly/mean/good/Evil/… internet..

I am still of the conclusion, that the NET need to create itself as a separate nation..
Each nation can decide if they wish to LOCK down the borders attaching to Each nation…but the Whole of the internet as an independent nation would solve allot of this, REAL quick.

But I think, that is what those TRYING to regulate it are trying to make NOT happen.
They are trying to control it as they control the info and people of this world.
WE have created a terrible power, and it isnt the internet.. Its our own world, our own nations, that we have let DO as they do, without our say.

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