Free Software, Open Access, And Open Science Groups Join Fight Against EU Copyright Directive's Terrible Ideas

from the how-to-destroy-Europe's-science-and-tech-future-in-one-easy-move dept

Techdirt has been covering the EU's plans to "modernize" copyright law for years now, and noted how things seem to be getting worse. Two ideas -- the so-called link tax and the upload filter -- are particularly one-sided, offering no benefits for the public, but providing the copyright industry with yet more monopolies and powers to censor. That much we knew. But two new initiatives reveal that the harmful effects are much, much broader than first thought.

The first, dubbed "Save Code Share", comes from the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), and the open source organization OpenForum Europe (disclosure: I am an unpaid Fellow of the associated OpenForum Academy, but have no involvement with the new project). The two groups are concerned about the impact of Article 13 of the draft text (pdf) -- the upload filter -- on coding in Europe, as they explain in a white paper:

large businesses, SMEs and individuals relying on current tools to develop software, especially in FOSS [free and open source software] or collaboratively, could be faced with automated filtering which could engender 'false positive' identifications of infringing software, which in turn could cause developers' dependencies randomly to disappear and so literally "break" their builds, resulting in lost business, lost productivity, less reliable software, and less resilient infrastructure.

The problem they identified is that widely-used version control systems (VCS) like GitHub seem to meet the definition of "information society services" laid down by the proposed EU Copyright Directive, and as such would be required to filter all uploads to block copyright infringements. Moreover, as the white paper points out, developer Web sites would not only be held responsible for any material uploaded by users without permission of the copyright holders, but would also seem liable for illegitimate distributions of derivative works in violation of the applicable license.

GitHub and other similar services could also be required to sign licensing deals with other copyright holders, although what kind and with whom is totally unclear. That's because the ill-thought-out Article 13 was designed to catch unauthorized uploads of music and videos, not of software; but its current wording is such that it would seem to apply to VCS platforms as much as to YouTube -- a ridiculous situation. Destroying the indigenous software industry in Europe is presumably not the EU's intention here, and so the FSFE and OpenForum Europe call for Article 13 to be deleted completely.

The other new initiative, an open letter from a coalition of European academic, library, education, research and digital rights organizations, agrees, and wants Article 11 -- the link tax -- thrown out too. Here's why:

The extension of this controversial proposal [the link tax] to academic publications, as proposed by the [European Parliament's Industry, Research and Energy] Committee, significantly worsens an already bad situation. It would provide academic publishers additional legal tools to restrict access, going against the increasingly widely accepted practice of sharing research. This will limit the sharing of open access publications and data which currently are freely available for use and reuse in further scientific advances. If the proposed ancillary right is extended to academic publications, researchers, students and other users of scientific and scholarly journal articles could be forced to ask permission or pay fees to the publisher for including short quotations from a research paper in other scientific publications. This will seriously hamper the spread of knowledge.

Similarly, the coalition believes that the upload filter required by Article 13 of the current Copyright Directive draft will have a major, negative impact on the world of open access and open science:

The provisions of Article 13 threaten the accessibility of scientific articles, publications and research data made available through over 1250 repositories managed by European non-profit institutions and academic communities. These repositories, which are essential for Open Access and Science in Europe, are likely to face significant additional operational costs associated with implementing new filtering technology and the legal costs of managing the risks of intermediary liability. The additional administrative burdens of policing this content would add to these costs. Such repositories, run on a not-for-profit basis, are not equipped to take on such responsibilities, and may face closure. This would be a significant blow, creating new risks for implementing funder, research council and other EU Open Access policies.

These latest interventions are important because they show that the reach of the Copyright Directive's worst elements is much wider than originally thought. They emphasize that, by lobbying for these extreme measures, the copyright industry seems not to care what collateral damage it causes in the EU, whether to the public at large, to the local software industry, or to the entire process of scientific research. The white paper and open letter provide additional, compelling reasons why both Article 11 and Article 13 should be dropped from the final legislation. If they aren't, the danger is that the full potential of the huge and rapidly-growing high-tech ecosystem in Europe will be sacrificed in order to prop up the relatively small and sclerotic copyright industries that refuse to adapt to today's digital environment.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and +glynmoody on Google+


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 14 Sep 2017 @ 4:00am

    Look at the bright side:

    Supporters of stronger copyright laws in the US no longer look like the biggest clowns in the parade.

    U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 4:17am

    Destroying the indigenous software industry in Europe is presumably not the EU's intention here

    No, only free software.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 4:33am

    There needs to be a movie where copyright propagators are psychopathological predators. They go around feeding on innocent people, who are studying in the park, sharing their latest images (that squirrel sure looks like the Eiffelturm).

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    mpaa is shit and cunty shitty cunts fuck them with, 14 Sep 2017 @ 4:58am

    shit holes full of shit and cunt shit the cunts

    Fuck the mpaa the cunts and shit cunts and cunty cunty cunts f cunts and black indian liars are cunts and cunty cunty cunts. the cunts.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 6:35am

      Re: shit holes full of shit and cunt shit the cunts

      I think you might have Tourette's Syndrome. You need to see a doctor.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 14 Sep 2017 @ 11:00am

      Re: shit holes full of shit and cunt shit the cunts

      Quit workshopping your new material here, Quentin Tarantino.

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

    • icon
      stderric (profile), 14 Sep 2017 @ 4:02pm

      Re: shit holes full of shit and cunt shit the cunts

      And The Profane Zorro comes to the rescue! Without bowing to the manners or logic that rule ordinary men, hear him fight for what the powerless call "The End of Copyright Tyranny!"

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

  • icon
    hij (profile), 14 Sep 2017 @ 5:08am

    Joining the anti-science crowd

    The number of geographical areas becoming more hostile to science and the open exchange of ideas continues to grow. If you do not want to share information then the Internet is not for you. You can control your own information, but you cannot simultaneously share it with the public. The goal of making information available and restricting it at the same time is an oxymoron.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 5:30am

    To them, copyright is above everything, human rights, knowledge, privacy, security, etc. All because of money.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 6:35am

    the whole idea is that same here as has happened in other areas and in other countries, certain government or other official people will gain financially by pushing for new laws and changes in existing laws that have been written by the movie and music industries with the explicit purpose of making their industries able to control everything that is available on the Internet. anything that these industries disagree with will be removed and banned and those who uploaded it will be arrested, taken before the courts and sentenced with unbelievably extortionate fines and jail time. people seem to be unable to grasp the seriousness of the situation the whole Planet is in, one of being run by the entertainment industries! be honest, they have been gradually, slowly moving closer and closer to achieving this goal by their continuous assault on the Internet and it is widely agreed that whoever controls the Internet will control the Planet! we are so close that being the situation but it baffles belief that every government in almost every country is not only agreeing with what these industries are doing, they are actively encouraging them! they have even been given their own police forces for fucks sake! why the hell is it so important to have our Planet, our only home, run by industries that rely on nothing more than make believe? it's as ludicrous as it is outrageous!!

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

    • icon
      McGyver (profile), 14 Sep 2017 @ 3:20pm

      Re:

      I'm sure quoting Marx (Karl, not Groucho) will piss some people off, but if I'm not mistaken he once said something to the effect of "Religion is the opium of the masses"... Well, in his day there were a lot of religious people...
      Today you have fewer people who are religious and more who are addicted to Hollywood movies, sports, and everything social media... All of which to some degree are connected to the Internet.
      These are today's "opiate of the masses".
      What surprise is it then that there are those who wish to seize as much control of that as possible, for their own purposes?
      Let politicians go about their business as usual and they will do what their kind does naturally, which is sell out the interests of the people to the highest bidder and then say it was in the best interest of the people.

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

  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 14 Sep 2017 @ 1:40pm

    Should Copyright Apply Uniformly To All Copyrightable Works, Or Shouldn’t It?

    If software is not the same as videos, pictures or music, why should the same principles of copyright apply to it?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Sep 2017 @ 2:31pm

      Re: Should Copyright Apply Uniformly To All Copyrightable Works, Or Shouldn’t It?

      One of the problems with copyright in software is that for any large program there will be hundreds or thousands of copyright holders invested in the work. Independent works of software authorship ceased to exist as soon as tape libraries and operating systems came into existence.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.