Study Shows That Copyright Filters Harm Creators Rather Than Help Them

from the filters-are-just-bad dept

The EU Copyright Directive contains one of the worst ideas in modern copyright: what amounts to a requirement to filter uploads on major sites.  Despite repeated explanations of why this would cause huge harm to both creators and members of the public, EU politicians were taken in by the soothing words of the legislation’s proponents, who even went so far as to deny that upload filters would be required at all.

The malign effects of the EU Copyright Directive have not yet been felt, as national legislatures struggle to implement a law with deep internal contradictions.  However, upload filters are already used on an ad hoc basis, for example YouTube’s Content ID.  There is thus already mounting evidence of the problems with the approach.   A new report, from the Colombian Fundación Karisma, adds to the concerns by providing additional examples of how creators have already suffered from upload filters:

This research found multiple cases of unjustified notifications of supposed violation of copyright directed at content that is either part of the public domain, original content, or instances of judicial overreach of copyright law. The digital producers that are the target of these unjust notifications affirm that the appeal process and counter-notification procedures don’t help them protect their rights. The appeals interface of the different platforms that were taken into account did not help resolve the cases, which leaves digital creators defenseless with no alternative other than what they can obtain from their contacts. This system damages the capacity of these producers to grow, maintain and monetize an audience at the same time that it affects the liberty of expression of independent producers as it creates a strong disincentive for them. On the contrary, this system incentivizes the bigger production companies to claim copyright on content to which they hold no rights.

As that summary notes, it’s not just that material was blocked without justification. Compounding the problem are appeal processes that are biased against creators, and a system that is rigged in favor of Big Content to the point where companies can falsely claim copyright on the work of others. The Fundación Karisma report is particularly valuable because it describes what has been happening in Colombia, rounding out other work that typically looks at the situation in the US and EU.

Follow me @glynmoody on TwitterDiaspora, or Mastodon. Post originally from Walled Culture.

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Comments on “Study Shows That Copyright Filters Harm Creators Rather Than Help Them”

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Crafty Coyote says:

Re: Re: Re:2

It’s a parody which would have been protected under fair use- or fair dealing, for those in Canada. But since DC’s parent company Warner Bros. provides a significant amount of funding to the Toronto International Film Festival, they can use the threat of withholding said funding as leverage to keep “The Peoples’ Joker” from airing. Watch it on YouTube before it gets censored by copyright bots.

Q says:

Re: Re: Re:2

I’m sorry you’re too lazy to actually read the site.

I’m even more sorry you apparently can’t read the damn article before responding.

I’m even more sorry you appear to not even have 2 braincells to rub against each other, or you’d have figured out the connection i stead of responding to stimuli.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

'If they were real creators they'd be on our payroll.'

Clearly the problem is that the filters aren’t sure if those are genuine creators, since as any major company will tell you the real creators are the ones who are signed up under their umbrella.

As such the solution is simple, if someone wants to create something and share it with the world they just need to sign it over to a major company who will ensure it is properly protected.

Anonymous Coward says:

On the contrary, this system incentivizes the bigger production companies to claim copyright on content to which they hold no rights.

But we’ve been long beyond that for a while. The systems are so tilted that the proxy “rights protection” rackets can claim anything, as well as any jackass pretending to be a rights holder. This works in filtering just as well as i-file-dmca-lol.

Samuel Abram (profile) says:


The systems are so tilted that the proxy “rights protection” rackets can claim anything, as well as any jackass pretending to be a rights holder.

It reminded me of when Mike recounted an anecdote how after his CwF+RtB TED-esque talk, a Record Label exec came up to Mike, looked over both his shoulders and when the coast was clear, he would whisper to Mike “I agree with you! It’s just that everybody else in the RIAA would have my head on a platter if I publicly said what you just did!” (Mike, if I’m misrepresentating anything, please say so)

The MPA and RIAA really are a mob.

Anonymous Coward says:

It’s not even that the problems lie with filters or copyright, the problem has always been the fact that any system available to smaller entities will always be easily leveraged and abused by larger ones, purely because they have more resources to not only commit the abuse, but also weather attempts at preventing or enforcing against said abuse.

On the other hand, creators like Maria Schneider do themselves no favors when allying with questionable enforcers like Pirate Monitor, with substandard quality of copyright infringement evidence and a complete lack of transparency to their claims. When your antipiracy enforcement would rather dismiss their own case and yeet themselves from a suit against YouTube, it harkens back to the time when Prenda Law collectively plead the 5th Amendment.

Anonymous Coward says:

Copyright legislations typically are about enriching copyright landlords and creators at the expense of consumers and society. What shock that the dogs are eating each other this time instead of the consumers and society, lol. Like the copyright landlords and creators are going to be faithful political allies, lol. Copyright cultists will be copyright cultists. Don’t you know its all about the Almighty Dollar? Publishers, creators , copyright holders, Big Copyrightz all them are about carving bigger economic pies for themselves from the consumers and society. and from each other. Boo hoo smalltime creators are getting a bad break. Bigger dogs get to eat the little dogs in the dog world that is modern Copyright. In the pecking order, smalltime creators is just above the consumers down on the bottom. Big money trumps small money in politic. Nothing is new about it.

TLDR version: Copyright’s about the $$$ not about humans. Hence whining about people not getting “fair” shares of the $$$ is not going to stop ever.

You say this is one of worst ideas in modern Copyright? Let me tell you what I think is the worst idea of modern Copyright? modern Copyright itself!
For instance , how does this Copyright legislation help with promoting innovation and art? Was that goal ever considered in this? I seriously doubt it. This is not an outlier but a typical legislation among the legislations that make up modern Copyright. Like, were the legislations that made modern Copyright about the welfare of society or promoting innovations and art? Like since 2000’s ? nope. It’s just the same old news. It’s always about screwing over the consumers and society. That is modern Copyright for you. Full of bad ideas. like for example the length of copyright? 70 years after author’s life? How is that but a big Fuck You to consumers and society? Dead authors or their estates don’t create. So why are we paying them? (If you think that help spurs on more creations by the live creators, I think you are living in a fantasy world like other copyright cultists. How about instead going on faith of your cult, see what empirical data says on that?)

TLDR version: modern Copyright is about $$$ for some humans, not about human society. Hence bad idea.

This Copyright legislation like many before should clearly demonstrate to the intellectually honest that modern Copyright really is being designed for the purpose of fattening the wallets of copyright landlords. As opposed to being designed for the claimed goal that supposedly justify what it takes away from society. What claimed goal is that? It’s like everyone is forgetting- the goal of enriching society with creations by inducing creators to work hard. If Copyright today is not about that claimed goal anymore then how do we justify the governmental suppressment of free speech in which the courts choose not factor in the First Amendment just because it’s in the name of Copyright? If Copyright is not anymore about that claimed goal, how do we morally justify the persecution of people for speech that is deemed to infringe Copyright?

TLDR verson: modern Copyright is bullshit. It has no moral standing.

Creators or copyright landlords getting less don’t always correlate to less creations. That’s just copyright cult math, not actual reality. So that should not matter a lot. Copyright cult ideology is not based on empirical data, but on political interests. If we are to be honest, if we agree Copyright should be just about achieving its purported goal then it should not revolve around the merely enriching of creators and the copyright landlords. How do this make sense with if the goal is about promoting innovations and art? It should be about actually inducing them to work hard for society, innovating and creating. Overpaying a socioeconomic class of people to work less is damn economically ineffective and is cheating society of economic value. And if we must have a classist system to ensure innovations and art happen then at least we need to think about how much power and incentives we are giving to the “stakeholders” and how much that corresponds to productivity and value to society in terms of innovations and art. At least lets do that if we are not going to care at all about our liberties that we are giving up for them. If we have to give up liberties for them then we should ensure we get value for it from them.

TLDR version: If we must have Copyright, stop making it all about the creators and copyright landlords, but about us, the rest of society, the ones who give up liberties to make Copyright “works”. It should pay well for us as well besides them.

Anonymous Coward says:


What shock that the dogs are eating each other this time instead of the consumers and society, lol.

It’s not even that small-time creators are dogs getting eaten by bigger dogs; they’re like the schmucks in pump and dump schemes thinking they’re part of the “pump” and anticipating a massive windfall, when really they’re part of the “dump” – they’re going to be the ones holding onto all the costs, not the profits. They genuinely think that acting on behalf of copyright maximalists will pay off in the end, when history strongly indicates that they won’t.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7

I avoid works from publisher who do not trust their customers and insist on using DRM, and entertain myself with works made freely available. Given the amount and breadth of work available on the Internet, I have no need to resort to piracy, and take offense at you taring people who disagree with you with that brush.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7

Nah, greedy execs sitting on their golden thrones made from the blood of their content creators, since the 50s (and quite possibly earlier), enabled copyright maximalism, and at least in the 17th century, the precursor to copyright maximalism, the Stationer’s Company.

On a technicality, you also want to enable publishers and related entities to be state censors as well. And the Stationers actually resoted to violence to maintain their fucking monopoly/cartel.

So, get fucked. And not in the good way.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3

Many on Techdirt believe copyright maximalism should be punishable by the death penalty

[citation needed]. And I don’t mean that in the sense of people reacting negatively towards acts of copyright maximalism. I mean actual citations of people in no uncertain terms working towards making the death penalty a legitimate outcome for copyright maximalists.

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