The EU's Proposed Copyright Directive Is Likely To Be A Wonderful Gift -- For US Internet Giants

from the law-of-unintended-consequences dept

A couple of weeks ago, Techdirt ran through the catalog of horrors that make up the EU's new Copyright Directive proposals, pointing out that they would be a general disaster in their current form. Of course, the misery would not be evenly spread: some would suffer more, some less. Indeed, an earlier open letter to the European Commission from a bunch of tech companies (including Techdirt), published on the Don't Wreck the Net site, pointed out one group who wouldn't have too much of a problem with the changes:

The largest companies have the resources and staff to deal with increased regulations and burdens. Startups do not.
That is, the big online companies can weather more or less anything: it's the smaller ones -- particularly startups -- that will have difficulties. That warning was issued before the details were known, and now Joe McNamee from the European digital rights group EDRi has penned a very similar analysis based on the newly-published plans:
There is a lot of noise in the press and among lobbyists about an alleged hostility of the EU towards big American internet companies. Reality is more nuanced and more surprising -- the policies appear to be hell-bent on giving Google new monopolies, to the detriment of European citizens and European internet companies.

The most astonishing of these policies is the proposal in the new Copyright Directive for mass, preventive filtering of information as it is being uploaded to the internet in Europe -- a policy so restrictive and absurd that even China or Russia would baulk at the notion. An anti-Google measure? Hardly. Google actively lobbied the Vice-President of the European Commission about the alleged virtues of its content identification system ("contentID"), even if they hadn’t expected the Great Firewall of Europe to be the result.
Even if the Copyright Directive manages to pass through the EU legislative system without any changes -- which seems unlikely -- Google would be in a strong position, because it already has the content ID technology in place that will allow it to comply. Although McNamee suggests that as a result Google would be "uniquely placed to license such software to European internet providers," it's more likely that it would keep it for its own exclusive use. However, the US company Audible Magic would doubtless be more than happy to license its widely-used content identification system as an alternative. And irrespective of whether it's based on technology from Google or from Audible Magic, it's hard to see how this outcome helps the European tech industry. Moreover, McNamee is certainly right about the likely outcome of bringing in an insane "ancillary copyright" in the EU, which would require Internet companies to pay a fee to use news snippets:
In Germany, where this policy has already been adopted, Google has the economic muscle to simply refuse to pay and suddenly it is not Google, but the publishers, who have a problem. Publishers put their content online in order for people to view it and to make money from advertising that is on their sites. They need Google News more than Google News needs them. So, the outcome is that everybody pays except Google. The Spanish government came up with a cunning plan, they passed a similar law to the one in Germany, but required Google News to pay. Result: Google News Spain shut down, to the detriment of smaller Spanish news outlets in particular and, again, everyone except Google loses.
The rest of the EDRi post points out other fundamental flaws in the proposed EU Copyright Directive. But the key point is that far from stimulating the European digital economy, the EU's deeply-flawed plans are likely to boost the power and the profits of the largest US Internet companies. That may be good news for them and their shareholders, but it isn't really the European Commission's job.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2016 @ 8:46am

    and isn't this just another example of how industries, particularly the (mainly) US entertainment industries are doing everything possible to shape the Internet into what they want? add in how they have, bit by bit, managed to bribe the right people, in the right governments, in the right countries to get laws changed and new laws implemented so that in the not too distant future, they will control the best distribution method invented on the planet to date, the Internet? it has always been their aim and that goal is not far off, when we will have to pay to access the 'net, pay to put a site up, after getting permission from those industries, pay to upload and download anything again, after getting permission.

    it was said many times that these industries wouldn't be able to get this, to do that and every time, they have done exactly what they wanted! the main thing being fucking everyone else!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2016 @ 9:08am

    Trump made this same point in the debate last night...

    big online companies can weather more or less anything: it's the smaller ones -- particularly startups -- that will have difficulties

    Trump made this exact point in the debate last night. The Dems are killing US companies with taxes and regulation. But it fell on Hillary's and the left's deaf ears.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 27 Sep 2016 @ 10:03am

      Re: Trump made this same point in the debate last night...

      The comedy... There is no left in the US, just the right and the fascist right. As for the rest.. bullshit man, bullshit. Both parties are killing the US and regulation isn't the problem.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2016 @ 10:15am

      Re: Trump made this same point in the debate last night...

      This particular article is about regulations in *Europe*. You might want to read it before commenting

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2016 @ 10:46am

        Re: Re: Trump made this same point in the debate last night...

        Uh, the same regulation overload that kills companies in Europe is killing companies in the US. You might want to understand the point before replying.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 28 Sep 2016 @ 2:44am

          Re: Re: Re: Trump made this same point in the debate last night...

          Regulation isn't killing companies per se; some companies actually benefit from regulation, particularly when they're the ones writing the regulations.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 27 Sep 2016 @ 10:57am

      Re: Trump made this same point in the debate last night...

      Big companies have never been more profitable. The tax cuts proposed by Trump don't target the small businesses that are supposedly overburdened by taxes, and in gives the lion's share of the benefit to the Big companies who we want to tax. High taxes encourage investment in a business, because the investment back into the business reduces the tax burden. Lowering tax burdens has never been shown to increase business investment, and we can clearly see that wage growth has significantly slowed since the tax cutting Reagan era.

      Freeing up big business to be even more anti-competitive by giving them more cash and less regulation does not necessarily help the small businesses that the regulation and taxes are supposedly destroying.

      As for regulatory burden - trump has listed a few problems he has with regulation. Like Farm Health and safety standards, the lack of which lead to several major health crisis in his restraunts. Or Food Preperation standards like not serving meat 6 months after its prime - again something trump restraunts have a problem with. Or not contaminating streams that feed into larger water sources with toxic chemicals? He has a problem with that, i guess thinking that small streams are independent from bigger sources.

      He wants to 'rank' saftey standards. So whats more important - Food Storage Temperatures requirements for Beef that help prevent E-Coli outbreaks or Cooking Temperature standards for Pork to help prevent parasite infection?

      He complains about regulations for dog food, implying that we shouldn't care. But pets tend to be well loved companions whose loss is deeply personal and can be as bad as the loss of any other family member. Medical costs for pets are just as bad as the costs for humans, but insurance is a lot harder to come by. Food safety for pet food to prevent readily preventable disease or parasite infections, and prevent feeding your pet toxic chemicals makes sense, and I am unsure why these costs are supposedly not being borne by consumers. I guarantee you if these regulations are repealed you aren't going to see significant reduction in consumer cost.

      It probably fell on deaf ears because his examples of burdensome regulation always seem to have a clear reason they exist, and his details always seem to not match muster. He wants to reduce Tax revenue by nearly a Trillion a year (but he assures us the economy will boom and so he'll only reduce federal revenues by a Half a trillion a year), while at the same time funding the largest infrastructure investment since the initial creation of the Highway system. I dont understand how he plans to get our trade partners to agree to terms which expressly and intentionally favor the US over their own interests. His economic policy assumes that he can, and if he fails his budget doesn't work at all.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2016 @ 11:41am

        Re: Re: Trump made this same point in the debate last night...

        Government regulation is not needed because the markets are self regulating ... lol

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 27 Sep 2016 @ 12:50pm

        Re: Re: Trump made this same point in the debate last night...

        Why should I care about things I don't like, eh? Clinton is bad but heck, she looks like the paragon of democratic politics compared to Trump. It's shocking he actually has any chance of ruling the country.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 27 Sep 2016 @ 1:54pm

        Re: Re: Trump made this same point in the debate last night...

        As for regulatory burden - trump has listed a few problems he has with regulation. Like Farm Health and safety standards, the lack of which lead to several major health crisis in his restraunts. Or Food Preperation standards like not serving meat 6 months after its prime - again something trump restraunts have a problem with. Or not contaminating streams that feed into larger water sources with toxic chemicals? He has a problem with that, i guess thinking that small streams are independent from bigger sources.

        Perfectly good logic there, I mean the biggest indicator that a regulation is bad is when it impacts the profits of a company, and if those regulations have done so it's obvious they need to go.

        No need to worry, after all the violation of the regulations and the resulting health issues stem entirely from the regulations themselves, I've no doubt whatsoever that without the regulations to get in the way companies that were violating them before will immediately step up and demonstrate even more care for public health and safety... so long as doing so doesn't negatively impact their profits of course.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2016 @ 9:22am

    A Wonderful Gift

    Such a wonderful gift, isn't it. I must say, it's very bigly of them.
     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2016 @ 9:34am

      Bigly [was Re: A Wonderful Gift]

      Such a wonderful gift, isn't it. I must say, it's very bigly of them.
      Oh, just in case anyone didn't catch it: “Bigly”.

      But, without resorting to dictionaries, I'll state that the usage illustrated —in roughly similar context— is the only prior circumstance where I have heard the the word, and truly felt its cromulence.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bob, 27 Sep 2016 @ 10:34am

    adapt or die.

    No the publishers don't need Google News, they need to get their heads out of their butts and compete. Sure they could use Google News or the could make their own news aggregate service that competes with Google.

    Nothing is stopping a publisher from advertising their product, it is that they were lazy and relied on a third party to promote them for free for too long. Soon they became reliant on the third party instead of making sure they did their own promoting.

    The same thing is happening with comments on news publishers websites.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    crade (profile), 27 Sep 2016 @ 11:28am

    It hardly counts as a gift if you have to buy it yourself.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2016 @ 7:18pm

    Think of the U.S. internet giants!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Sep 2016 @ 8:48pm

    It is becoming painfully clear who is in charge of the EU.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
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    see my blogs i post in my blogs hacking tips and trick chakout now for hacking

    The one and only destination to hack any Facebook account.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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