Latest EU Parliament Votes On Copyright: Fuck The Public, Give Big Corporations More Copyright

from the that's-not-good dept

The weird and persistently silly copyright reform process in the EU Parliament continues to get more and more bizarre and stupid. Last month, we told you about the first committee vote, which we feared would be terrible, but turned out to be only marginally stupid, as the worst parts of the proposal were rejected. Now, two more committees -- the Culture and Education (CULT) and Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committees -- have voted on their own reform proposals and the results are really, really bad if you support things like culture, education, research and the public. And, yes, I get the irony of the fact that the Culture and Education Committee in the EU just declared a giant "fuck you" to culture and education with its vote.

Among the many problematic aspects approved by these committees is a filter requirement that would block users from uploading legally obtained media into the cloud. This makes no sense -- especially given that the EU already has additional "you must be a pirate" taxes on situations where individuals are making copies of their legally acquired works.

And then there's the whole "snippet tax" which legacy newspapers are demanding because they've failed to adapt to the digital age, and they want Google News to send them money for daring to send them traffic without monetary compensation. The whole concept is backwards... and here, it's been expanded. As Copybuzz explains:

  • The press publishers’ right went from applying to ‘digital’ uses of press to all uses, including print. Aside from the fact that this seems a violation of Article 10(1) of the Bern Convention (which establishes a mandatory exception for ‘press summaries’), the impact of such a massive extension is unfathomable.
  • The definition of press publications has become so broad that infringements to article 11 are impossible to predict and hence prevent. The ‘exceptions’ to the applications of this new right just add to the potential legal uncertainty, as the CULT text states ‘The [publisher] rights granted under this Directive should be without prejudice to the authors’ rights and should not apply to the legitimate uses of press publications by individual users acting in a private and non-commercial capacity. The protection granted to press publications under this Directive should apply to content automatically generated by an act of hyperlinking related to a press publication without prejudice to the legitimate use of quotations.’ This paragraph alone opens such a Pandora Box of unanswered questions, such as:
    • What is a legitimate use of press publications? And who’s the judge of the legitimacy?
    • When are you acting in your private and non-commercial capacity?
    • Content automatically generated by an act of hyperlinking related to a press publication: so that mean that when you share a link on social media and that triggers automatically the appearance of a snippet, you are now officially in trouble?
    • When are you ‘legitimately’ quoting? Is that a new criteria imposed on top of the only mandatory exception globally? And if so, who judges if you comply?
  • None of that sounds good or well thought out. It sounds like the kind of thing that someone not very knowledgeable about the subject would put together after just hearing one side from a bunch of whining newspaper execs.

    And then there's this nonsense, as summarized by Parliament Member Julia Reda:

    Incredibly, the ITRE committee – responsible for research and usually a staunch defender of open access – even voted to extend the extra copyright to academic publications, which would make open access publishing virtually impossible. It would stop people from linking to academic content, despite the content itself being free. This would apply to both online publications and print journals. The chilling effects on the spread of academic works and information would be substantial.

    Yes, linking to academic content will now require payment -- even if it's open access. That's... nuts.

    And, finally, on the "text and data mining" issue -- which is one of the key points that the EU has been fighting over with this new copyright reform effort, ITRE again severely limited who can do data mining to tiny startups. Again from Copybuzz:

    The ITRE Committee for example has in its extreme generosity decided to leave the benefit of the Text and Data Mining exception limited to research organisations and ‘start-up companies’, defined as ‘any company with fewer than 10 employees and an annual turnover or balance sheet below €2 million and which was established not earlier than three years before benefiting from the exception’. The message for European start-ups is clear: don’t dare scale up your first three years of business if you want to mine content and if you do, move away from the EU (and move anyway after 3 years)! Never mind jobs and growth, the EU mantra we keep on hearing. Oh, and please do not be innovative any longer once you are an established player: we would not want our economy to be competitive on the international scene.

    This is really a killer for innovation. There's a massive industry now being built up around machine learning and AI and autonomous machines -- and an awful lot of it actually relies on the ability to do text and data mining on the internet. With this proposal, the (of all things) "Industry & Research" committee is basically saying there shall be no such industry or research in Europe. It's pushing one of the most promising up and coming industries out of the EU entirely. Incredible.

    It's almost stunning how bad these decisions were. But, of course, some of the legacy copyright industry folks decided to celebrate, claiming that the votes showed that the EU Parliament "would not tolerate free-riding platforms." That's complete nonsense and an insult. Again: things like news aggregators and search engines have been enormously helpful in creating new markets and expanding attention and traffic to sites. If anything, legacy content producers have been "free riding" on those platforms.

    Hopefully saner heads will prevail as this process moves forward, but the EU seems to be going down a dark and dangerous road on copyright policy.


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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Jul 2017 @ 11:01am

      Among the many problematic aspects approved by these committees is a filter requirement that would block users from uploading legally obtained media into the cloud. This makes no sense -- especially […]

      …because there is no way a service can actively and knowingly filter for such media without the foreknowledge of existing copyrights, licensing agreements, and context (e.g., parody, Fair Use).

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2017 @ 11:18am

        Re:

        Exactly, but those proposing these laws have an objective, stop individuals uploading any content whatsoever.

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

        • icon
          JoeCool (profile), 17 Jul 2017 @ 1:34pm

          Re: Re:

          Yes, anyone who uploads ANYTHING to the net is in competition with some segment of the old gatekeepers, and they want to get rid of all competition.

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2017 @ 11:02am

      Well, to start: a "press summary" is not a "snippet"; the former is presumably new text requiring (perhaps machine) effort, the latter is just copying bytes.

      Again, as in the (US) Meltwater decision, scraping headlines is NOT "fair use", it's just copying bytes. Putting ASCII bytes into a particular order requires effort, not least in gathering the facts. Why should Google get to gain value from effort of others? -- You need an actual positive reason here: it's not enough to claim that the sites scraped are benefitting; that's irrelevant. From Napster through Meltwater to Aereo, Techdirt simply does not grasp that it's ILLEGAL to use the content others make.

      I read only first three paragraphs, as the points above cover enough area, in fact, are an absolute obstacle that you must argue past, not just assert that Google is doing the fools a favor.

      OOH, OMINOUS: "the EU seems to be going down a dark and dangerous road on copyright policy"! -- Yeah, it'd be horrible if Google were at all limited or taxed.

      And evidently your "concern" of last week about its power has faded again.

      I predict more comments by fanboys that Google should now use its power to damage countries. The NERVE of some people, believing that they OWN content merely because made it!

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 17 Jul 2017 @ 11:05am

        Well, shit.

        it's ILLEGAL to use the content others make

        Damn, I guess I need to prepare for the lawsuit you are about to file against me for quoting a snippet of the content you made.

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

        • icon
          crade (profile), 17 Jul 2017 @ 11:34am

          Re: Well, shit.

          According to new EU law It's only illegal to make use of content others make on Mondays between 4:00-10:00 and tuesdays 8:00-13:00, so you are ok. Maybe.. depends on the timezone that the author of the content currently resides in.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 18 Jul 2017 @ 6:32am

            Re: Re: Well, shit.

            Yeah but corporations own the copyright for all employees and they exist in all timezones sooo....

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2017 @ 11:44am

        Re: Well, to start: a "press summary" is not a "snippet"; the former is presumably new text requiring (perhaps machine) effort, the latter is just copying bytes.

        You have no idea what you're talking about, as usual.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2017 @ 1:12pm

        Re: Well, to start: a "press summary" is not a "snippet"; the former is presumably new text requiring (perhaps machine) effort, the latter is just copying bytes.

        Another fact free rant brought to you by a muppet of the RIAA.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2017 @ 11:40am

      Now, two more committees -- the Culture and Education (CULT) and Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committees

      Hmm... maybe it's just me, but I would have seriously rethought the name of any committee that can be abbreviated as CULT.

      Especially coming from the continent that brought us multiple fascist dictatorships that caused WW2. And those fascist dictatorships were when you get right down to it a lot like a cult.

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

    • icon
      Dave Cortright (profile), 17 Jul 2017 @ 12:22pm

      robots.txt

      It seems worth mentioning in all of these "you need to pay me for advertising our content on your search engine" articles that anyone may opt out of unauthorized snippets simply by configuring their robots.txt file and then doing licensing deals for people who want to pay. Of course they'd rather get all the same traffic AND some extra for free cash too and let the govt manage the deals.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 17 Jul 2017 @ 12:33pm

      "We only care about one of the parties getting stuff for free, the other side's fine."

      But, of course, some of the legacy copyright industry folks decided to celebrate, claiming that the votes showed that the EU Parliament "would not tolerate free-riding platforms."

      Great, so when are they going to go after the now parasitic publishers who are demanding to be paid for the traffic sites like Google sends them for free?

      What's that? You have no plans at all of going after the parasitic publishers that are demanding to have their links and be paid for them too?

      Those are't 'free-riding platforms' for some reason?

      In fact it would be downright unfair if Google were to simply drop the snippets entirely and refuse to pay you, despite that being what you claim to want('No snippets without pay').

      Funny that, it's almost as though this has nothing at all to do with 'free-riding platforms' and everything to do with 'They have money. We want money. Make them give us money'.

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

    • identicon
      Bruce C., 17 Jul 2017 @ 12:39pm

      I guess the good news...

      is that these regulations are so onerous for any major company that isn't in the publishing business that there will be plenty of lobbying money thrown at getting the drafts shot down.

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

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 17 Jul 2017 @ 12:45pm

      Right, make access to knowledge more difficult. It's working wonders for some underdeveloped countries.

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

    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 17 Jul 2017 @ 1:01pm

      Bear in mind

      That these are the same sort of people from the same sort of culture that believes it's a good idea to put Morocco into the governing body of a UN organization that is supposed to be opposing human trafficking and slavery.

      Is it any surprise to anyone that what their stated purpose is bears no resemblance to what they actually do?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2017 @ 1:10pm

      Abolish Copyright

      Abolish Copyright

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2017 @ 1:57pm

        Re: Abolish Copyright

        I was about to write the same. Ditto.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Jul 2017 @ 6:24am

          Re: Re: Abolish Copyright

          I would have, but it was copyrighted.

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

          • identicon
            tp, 18 Jul 2017 @ 11:45am

            Re: Re: Re: Abolish Copyright

            Well, would you like to read the same copy-pasted piece of text million times? Wouldn't it be nicer if everyone just
            invents their own trolling, instead of cloning someone elses successful rants? It might be a little bit more work for the authors to create the rant from scratch, but it's significantly better than replicating "Hasta la vista, baby" or "resistance is futile" million times without any reason.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2017 @ 2:15pm

      So the eu will fall behind china and the us as scientific research will be hidden behind paywalls .This is a big F U to copyright as the purpose of copyright is the advancement of the arts and science for the benefit of the public not to pay big companys over and over again for science research .
      This vote is an attack on fair use ,
      will journalists and bloggers be able to qoute headlines or parts of an article without getting permission from the publication or the company that
      owns the website.
      Will journalists need permission to link to a video
      or an article on another website.
      Companys can already put articles behind a paywall
      or just set it so that a user can only read a few articles unless they are paying a subscription
      ,
      So there is no need for complex laws about linking
      and quoting content .
      The people who wrote this law or stupid or ignorant
      or simply dont care about the public and the arts
      and the concept of fair use.
      They seem to just want to give more money to big
      corporations even if it breaks the concept of linking on the web without asking permission .
      Small companys or startups wont be able to afford to pay for a licence to link to 1000,s of website .
      Google or facebook have the legal staff to get around
      these new laws.

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

    • identicon
      justus league, 17 Jul 2017 @ 2:30pm

      Next anyone doing any research with ai will have to be standing at least 50 feet ahead of and behind the computer or robot waving a red flag to worn everyone around them because it worked so well with the automobile.

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

    • icon
      Maxwell (profile), 17 Jul 2017 @ 3:23pm

      North America is open for business! Just bring all of your innovation here!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2017 @ 4:21pm

      snippets gone

      The new google news redesign has no snippets, only titles.

      Seemed pretty obvious to me why they disappeared...

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

    • identicon
      Daydream, 17 Jul 2017 @ 4:41pm

      Turn it around, make it an endorsement deal.

      Here's an idea, what if instead of this snippet tax thing, companies paid Google to endorse their products? Like a celebrity endorsement thing?

      The idea is, let's say a news company pays; when someone uses Google to search for news on so-and-so, Google brings up links and samples of the paying company's site to entice users to visit it. Google gets paid, the news company gets visitors and recognition, everybody wins.

      ...Wait, Google's already doing these endorsements for free? Wow, count your blessings, they could be charging monthly fees to keep pages indexed in their search engine.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Jul 2017 @ 5:57pm

        Re: Turn it around, make it an endorsement deal.

        Paid search results? That's what killed off Google's early competitors.

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

    • identicon
      Trollificus, 18 Jul 2017 @ 4:13am

      "Google gets paid, the news company gets visitors and recognition, everybody wins."

      Meh. I'm starting to think anything more subtle than "Me get money." is beyond the "thinking" that goes on at a lot of these 'gatekeeper' and 'legacy' businesses.

      "everybody wins"?
      "No, we win, they lose."

      "visitors and recognition?"
      "Not money. Get money, keep money."

      "adapt, monetize, innovate"?
      "Too complicated. We have good plan, called "Get Money Plan". Step 1: Buy Congress........Step 3: PROFIT!! Much get money. Much win."

      Except for the expenditure of funds to make the above sound legalistic and convoluted (a testament to the obfuscatory capabilities of corporate lawyers), that seems to accurately reflect a common mindset.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 18 Jul 2017 @ 5:38am

        Re:

        While I think the underlying motives are simple, I don't think they're quite that simple.

        As I see it the two driving motivations behind 'snippet/Google taxes' can be summed up as a combination of 'greed' and 'our stuff'.

        They see Google making piles of stuff using 'their stuff'. They want some/most/all of that money, and at the same time hold to the idea that anyone using 'their stuff' needs to pay them for it monetarily.

        That they benefit from the increased traffic is something they completely ignore, likewise the opportunities said increased traffic presents them with. Unless they are getting paid for the use, however minor, of 'their stuff' they claim that they are being ripped off, and to a very real extent seem to hold the belief that they are owed both the money and the traffic(just listen to the howls when Google responded to the extortion attempts by removing the content in question), demonstrating a greedy, self-centered and short-sighted mindset.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Jul 2017 @ 2:00pm

      And, yes, I get the irony of the fact that the Culture and Education Committee in the EU just declared a giant "fuck you" to culture and education with its vote.

      Maybe the "Culture and Education Committee" is not so much about "Culture and Education" and much more about "Culture and Education Industry"?

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


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