The EU Copyright Directive Is So Bad It’s Proving Really Hard To Transpose Into Decent National Laws

from the some-of-us-may-have-warned-about-this dept

We’ve written numerous posts about the EU Copyright Directive, because it contains two extremely harmful ideas. The first is the “snippet tax“, an attempt by some press publishers to make sites like Google pay for the privilege of displaying and linking to newspaper publishers’ material – an assault on the Web’s underlying hyperlink technology. The second element is the upload filter, probably the worst development in the copyright world of the last few decades.

The EU Copyright Directive is not just a bad law, it is a badly drafted law. That’s proved by the fact that three years after the Directive was passed, and nearly a year since what was supposed to be the deadline for transposing it into national legislation, fewer than half of the EU’s Member States have done so, reported here by Euractiv:

only twelve EU countries [out of 27] have incorporated the measure into their national bodies of law, with Austria, Croatia, Estonia, France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and Luxembourg doing it only after the Commission’s reprimand.

It comes as no surprise that the two main sticking points are precisely the snippet tax – Article 15 – and upload filters – Article 17. As the former Member of the European Parliament Felix Reda, who was involved in the legislative process of this Directive, told Euractiv, Article 17 in particular is a problem because the provision is:

“internally contradictory” in its requirement that platforms block copyright-infringing content from being uploaded while also ensuring that legal content is not removed.

Not unreasonably, in the face of this impossible task, EU Member States have metaphorically thrown up their hands, and simply transposed Article 17 word-for-word into their national laws, without attempting to detail how the new laws will work in practice.

This is just pushing the problems further down the road. At some point, deep-pocketed Internet platforms will start to bring legal challenges to these new laws that they are required to obey, but without being told how. It might be fun to watch some of these transpositions go down in legal flames, but none of this continuing fiasco will help creators, and it will hurt users trying to share and enjoy material online. Key elements of the EU Copyright Directive have been a waste of time, energy and money, right from the start, the result of selfish and short-sighted lobbying.

Follow me @glynmoody on TwitterDiaspora, or Mastodon.

Originally posted to Walled Culture.

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Comments on “The EU Copyright Directive Is So Bad It’s Proving Really Hard To Transpose Into Decent National Laws”

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92 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

So far the Lords have removed many of the worst amendments and have hacked at some of the main body too.

There is a good chance that this will get dropped along with a lot of other legislation while BoJo tries to pacify some of his backbenchers – although I saw one newspaper saying he was threatening to drop ‘new laws designed to keep children safe online’ which, while bullsh1t, is interesting to see the government propaganda used against them

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Old legacy media company’s or EU corporations newspapers and large media company’s don’t care about small creators, they want to go back to the 90s when creators had to ask permission from music company’s to release music, by giving up their copyright or ownership of the music masters, they want to turn the Internet into cable TV where a few big media company’s own 90 per cent of TV and media released. This law is designed to be unworkable for small independent creators that make videos, its not really workable to filter all media when theres millions of people making videos every day , it’ll reduce competition from YouTube twitch etc
There needs to be a EU version of the eff campaigning against this law or maybe YouTube Facebook are waiting until they can bring a case to the EU Court that this law is unworkable and also an attack on the EU citizens to free speech and fair use rights

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jojo_36 (profile) says:

Re: O_O

Jesus… what the actual fuck?.

Look I’still have PTSD about that whole clusterfuck and the profound effect it had on my anxiety. But wishing a 1/6th-style coup on the EU members who voted in favor of it and in Germany of all places is just so… irredeemable. The whole fiasco did cause me to lose faith on the EU, but not to the point of insurrection.

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terop (profile) says:

Snippet tax is just fair

Newspapers worked hard to find the interesting snippets from the world. While some of the streams are easy to find, noone is saying that detecting that putin’s war is newsworthy is somehow difficult task for newspapers. But newspapers are executing their role of turning every stone to find relevant news tidbits. Once they create the material, they should be able to control who can publish that material, just like how copyright law was originally designed.

“If you create it, you will own the end result” is important feature in copyright law. Snippet tax is trying to restore this rule after markets decided the copyright rules are not important enough to follow.

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terop (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

while openly committing copyright infringement himself and insisting that it’s “innocent”.

I actually did draw the trollface image myself with mspaint. So basically your complaints have no merit. Author of the image does not need to obtain a license for the image. If you’re against copyright, you should become an author so that you don’t need to obtain licenses for the work you use.

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terop (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8

I’m the one who understands the copyright laws of multiple nations better than you understand the law of one?

Still you have problems figuring out that the whole purpose of copyright law is to allow authors to extract money from the markets, when end users who need author’s output has no other choice than purchase the works from the authors.

Naughty Autie says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Get a licence or do not copy.

Actually, you seem to be the one that has a problem with copyright laws; understanding them, that is. According to Wikipedia, you need a licence to recreate Trollface the way you have. The Sweat of the Brow doctrine isn’t a thing in the US, where Carlos Ramirez will sue if he so chooses. Wazzock.

terop (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8

How can your trollface avatar not be a derived work when you explicitly called it “trollface”?

You’re the one who mentioned trollface first. I just copied your keyword. This doesn’t change the fact that I haven’t seen(or have access to) the original trollface which you mentioned. Derived work is only created if I use someone else’s work as a basis for my image. When this does not happen, its not a derived work.

Naughty Autie says:

Re: Re: Re:3

Author of the image is Carlos Ramirez, not you. That is so fucking clearly an adaptation of Trollface that you absolutely do need a licence, especially since Ramirez registered his copyright, meaning he can get statutory damages and attorney’s fees out of you should he choose to sue you. You can’t exactly bitch about others infringing copyright when you do it yourself, hypocrite.

terop (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4

That is so fucking clearly an adaptation of Trollface that you absolutely do need a licence, especially since Ramirez registered his copyright, meaning he can get statutory damages

I haven’t even seen the original. No access to the original is a valid defense against claims of copyright infringement, especially after it has been proven that you’re an actual author and not some filthy pirate.

terop (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8

Again, this would need to be proved in court, under copyright law, should the original creator choose to pursue it.

It’s basic principle in copyright law that each copyright owner or author can only reach small area of the world with their marketing activities. In fact, copyright law explicitly prevents anyone from increasing this scope without author’s supervision by demanding that end users using the material will need to find authorized vendor that gets permission from copyright owner/author before they can use the product. This means trollface isn’t available all over the world, even though you claimed otherwise. And thus my “have no access to the original trollface”-defense still stands.

Naughty Autie says:

Re: Re: Re:3

FYI, I am an author, and a damn sight more creative one than you are. I use so little of the original works I build on in my fanfics and create so much that I have my own fully defensible copyrights in them. That’s a hell of a lot more than I can say for you. Not only that, but I even got permission from BethSoft to (non-commercially) publish my Fallout and Elder Scrolls fanfic way back in 2012, so they must have thought they were highly creative too.

terop (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6

You mean the software you did NOT use to create your troll face. If you don’t use it why should anybody else?

I created 3d engine, not a png/jpg drawing program. Correct tool for the job. Techdirt simply didn’t deserve anything better. It’s your trolling that brings value of techdirt down, and some stuff that is possible for other better sites, simply become unavailable.

terop (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:8

You created a 3D engine. Big whoop when no one uses it because Unity and Open 3D Engine.

yeah, but even though you have access to unity and open 3d engine, you haven’t used them to create avatar for yourself. Guess those tools are too difficult to use that making avatar with them is simply impossible. Why would anyone use those tools, when you yourself cannot even get avatar done?

Naughty Autie says:

Re: Re: Re:11

When did my statement that no has used your 3D engine in their games magically become “You’re the one who claimed that those 3d engines are solving all problems in the world and thus my custom 3d engine is no longer needed.”? Seriously, dude, logical fallacy is not a good look on you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:12

Tero frequently leverages the fact that he’s a non-native English speaker to intentionally troll. Taking him on the definitions of what he puts to text is kinda the point because he can vehemently deny it aftewards and provide another non-answer to what he actually means, which is to say that everyone owes him money for software he made but no one actually uses.

terop (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:13

which is to say that everyone owes him money for software he made but no one actually uses.

this is significantly better position than what you have. Basically your software project isn’t in good enough shape that you can demand money from anyone. Since my ptoject is already in pretty good shape, that fact enables all these money demands.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re:

Bullshit.

That assertion is so unreal that I can’t even determine whether you’re trolling or not.

The analogy of the link tax is to force the mapmaker to pay a levy to the businesses they place on the map. The library index to pay money to the authors whose books they index.

This is pure rent-seeking where old-style news companies find themselves unable to charge for paper copies and subscriptions and then try to grift the guide showing people the way to their door to make up the shortfall.

It’s as reasonable as a person determining they’re not making money for posting random comments online and thus you need to pay for…no reason what so ever, beyond the fact that you are making money completely unrelated to anyone else.

No, the snippet tax is just government pilfering money from successful business to put in the pocket of business unable to compete on its own. A principle which ends up being a horrifying precedent.

I invoke the rule of goats. Whether you’re just trolling or getting paid to shill is irrelevant at this point. Take your blatant spin elsewhere.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

All you need to know is that Tero Pulkinnen developed an in-browser 3D engine he boasts is going to tear Unity and Blender a new asshole in game development, it’s just that the government of Finland hasn’t made him a millionaire for his free-to-download software yet because pirates exist or something, so everyone needs to make him their new state religion.

That is the full summation of what he’s accomplished, the rest is trolling all the way down.

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terop (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Tero Pulkinnen developed an in-browser 3D engine

While this happened, what exactly did you do? All I can see is awful attempt at bashing social media users with scripted barking. There’s also the pattern that tries to find illegal activities from fellow humans, not for helping them to avoid the illegal part, but instead for shaming and unrespectful repeat of the failures. Why exactly is your activities useful?

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terop (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7

You’re entertaining us for free.

You laugh now, but wait until I can close your internet connection and restore it only via gameapi builder’s 3d wonderworld. Then you have no other choice that play ball. If you’re late for the transition, you miss the next step in evolution of the human race. From elon musk’s space conquest, we end up with simulated 3d world created with builder tool.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2

That you made a 3D engine is not the issue; the issue has always been you demanding payment for software you personally admitted was free for downloading, AND has no users. Not only that, but your claims of demanding the government force everyone to pay for something they didn’t use, including suing people and harvesting their organs.

It’s very clear that you have very little regard for human life other than your own, and it is for this reason you are routinely and thoroughly mocked. That, and your horrific lack of understanding for copyright law beyond this fantastic claim that it means everyone owes you a lap dance.

terop (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3

the issue has always been you demanding payment for software you personally admitted was free for downloading, AND has no users.

This demand for payment always happens after spending some time developing some software. Basically the money requests gets attached to the spent time elements. Once you spend 10 years of your life developing some god awful software, it’s about time to get money issues in order too. You cannot avoid money demands if you are spending time on some activity.

Only by idling and spending the time on watching tv, you’re not going to get money for it. But this isn’t the case here, since we have actual software output that proves that we actually spent the time doing something useful.

terop (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

You can dig a hole to China and call that useful, nobody is obliged to care if nobody uses it.

USA and russia spent billions for nuclear arsenal, and now they have a problem that the billions are not useful when the world leaders are afraid of using it. The situation with my software is similar. The tech that I offer is advanced enough that customers are afraid of using the full potential of the technology.

And you boasted that you have no users,
usa and russia nuclear arsenal also doesn’t have any users.

so nobody has to pay you.
When the markets doesn’t handle money for everyone properly, its the government that needs to pay for the cunning plan.

For your free-to-use software.
Getting nukes exploded o your face is also free-to-use.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8

I’m only doing it for the money.

I mean, this much was already clear. You just have a terrible way of going about actually getting money. But once again, thanks for proving that your lack of users is entirely intentional. You have no reason to complain about your lack of users, or lack of paying customers, because you engineered something so terrifically unfriendly from the very beginning.

I don’t care if you actually use it

Fair, I’m not paying for something that I don’t use, pirate, download, or otherwise.

If govt pays billions for the nukes, few millions for meshpage shouldn’t be a big problem.

Your government doesn’t have nukes, and even if they did, it’s purely to discourage others from attacking them. Now, whether that justifies having nukes at all is a contentious point depending on who you ask. Meshpage does not fall within this category, not even remotely. You’re not a threat with or without Meshpage. The government has no reason to invest in it, and they’re certainly not going to surrender money just because you’re angry they didn’t make copyright the official state religion.

I’m waiting for billions to appear to my bank account.

And when those billions don’t appear, ever, please start suing people. Watching you lose in the legal system is going to be Malibu Media-levels of hilarious, especially considering your troll friends are looking at exorbitant fines and lengthy jail terms.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:10

I enabled some animation support in meshpage.org front page. Check them out, and you’ll notice how much worse it can still be.

Animation support was something that you claimed Meshpage was capable of providing from Day 1 of you promoting your bloatware trash here. That you’ve enabled it now, and have the ability to threaten to make it worse, is not an argument in support of giving you money. It’s in support of the thesis that you are a deluded madman.

terop (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:11

Animation support was something that you claimed Meshpage was capable of providing from Day 1 of you promoting your bloatware trash here.

Maybe you should purchase slightly faster internet connection, given that your current line only supports 2400 baud modem links. I think even pigeon transport with usb memory sticks will beat your internet. But worry not, meshpage.org solves even this problem that you’ve caused yourself. We moved our servers away from usa, and back to finland. Now the whole united fucking states need to slurp the animated png files from atlantic link that is already overloaded for network events generated via mouse move events in browsers. Animation in meshpage is just based on mouse event changing img tag src field, so it’ll keep slurping more huge png files on the fly and if your network is anywhere outside 100km of tampere, your experience will suffer.

Anonymous Coward says:

In other news, the CJEU is giving its blessing to upload filters. Felix Reda is at it again, remarking that the decision appears to include that platforms must not decide for themselves on uncertain infringement cases. He sees it as something good, as “upload filters must only block obvious cases”. I haven’t dug myself into the decision, but my gut feeling would be that it would only drive platforms to some centralized filter provider blessed by EU institutions.

Anonymous Coward says:

Well, a limited blessing:

Der EuGH formuliert zugleich klare Anforderungen an solche Upload-Filter: Ein System, das nicht hinreichend zwischen einem unzulässigen und einem erlaubten Inhalt unterscheidet, und das rechtmäßige Uploads blockiert, ist nach Feststellung des EuGH mit der Grundrechtecharta unvereinbar. Das angemessene Gleichgewicht zwischen dem Recht auf Informationsfreiheit und dem auf den Schutz immaterieller Güter müsse beachtet werden.

At the same time, the CJEU formulates clear requirements for such upload filters: A system that does not sufficiently distinguish between prohibited and permitted content and that blocks lawful uploads is, according to the CJEU, incompatible with the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The right balance between the right to freedom of information and the right to protection of intangible property must be struck.

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