Latest EU Copyright Plan Would Ban Copyright Holders From Using Creative Commons

from the because-that's-how-stupid-things-have-gotten dept

We recently noted that the latest version of the EU's copyright directive, being pushed by MEP Axel Voss (though the metadata showed that it actually came from the EU Commission), would bring back horrible censorial ideas like mandatory filtering. As we noted, such a plan would likely kill important sites like Github, which would have trouble functioning as a repository for sharing code if it had to block... sharing of code. But the plan keeps getting worse. As MEP Julia Reda recently explained, with each new version that Voss puts out, the end results are more and more ridiculous. Under the latest, it includes:

  1. News sites should not be able to give out free licenses (an “inalienable right to remuneration”)
  2. Press agencies should also be granted this right – effectively giving them control over the spreading of facts
  3. Money publishers make from the law should be shared with journalists in some cases
  4. There should be an exception for individuals who share news content for “legitimate private and non-commercial uses”
  5. A newly added justification of the law is to supposedly fight fake news

Many of these ideas are similar to what Spain implemented back in 2014, as a form of a "link tax" with the goal of forcing Google to pay any publication that it sent traffic to (which, you know, sounds kind of backwards, especially given how much emphasis sites put on search engine optimization). In response to that, Google News pulled out of Spain entirely, and a study a year later found that the law ended up doing quite a lot of harm to Spanish publications -- especially smaller ones.

However, as Creative Commons noted in response to this latest proposal, the most ridiculous part of all of this is that it doesn't allow sites that want to share their content to do so:

This press publisher’s right (also commonly known as the “Link Tax”) already poses a significant threat to an informed and literate society. But Voss wants to amplify its worst features by asserting that press publishers will receive—whether they like it or not—an “inalienable right to obtain an [sic] fair and proportionate remuneration for such uses.” This means that publishers will be required to demand payment from news aggregators.

This inalienable right directly conflicts with publishers who wish to share freely and openly using Creative Commons licenses. As we’ve warned before, an unwaivable right to compensation would interfere with the operation of open licensing by reserving a special and separate economic right above and beyond the intention of some publishers. For example, the Spanish news site eldiario.es releases all of their content online for free under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. By doing so, they are granting to the public a worldwide, royalty-free license to use the work under certain terms. Other news publishers in Europe using CC licenses that could also find themselves swept up under this new provision include La Stampa, 20 Minutos, and openDemocracy.

Forcing publishers who use CC to accept additional inalienable rights to be remunerated violates the letter and spirit of Creative Commons licensing and denies publishers the freedom to conduct business and share content as they wish. The proposal would pose an existential threat to the over 1.3 billion CC-licensed works online, shared freely by hundreds of millions of creators from around the world.

Once again this appears to be copyright policy driven solely by the interests of a single party: big publishers who are annoyed at Google for aggregating news and are demanding payment. It doesn't take into account (1) whether or not this is necessary (2) whether or not this makes sense (3) what will be the impact on other aggregators (4) what will be the impact on tons of other publications and (5) what will be in the best interest of the public.

It's a pretty bad way to make policy, though it's all too common when it comes to copyright.


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  • icon
    Jeff Green (profile), 11 Apr 2018 @ 3:40am

    The proposal strikes at another "fundamental right". If intellectual property is property, which is of course debatable, the law should not ban its owner from giving it away freely.
    I would be more than a little upset if the EU were to tell me that I wasn't allowed to give my money away to a charity or a friend.

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    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 11 Apr 2018 @ 5:50am

      Re:

      Silly Jeff! Property rights are for big players, not little peons like you and I.

      Good job Pirate MEP Julia Reda is fighting our corner.

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

    • icon
      ShadowNinja (profile), 11 Apr 2018 @ 10:14am

      Re:

      But if people could just give their money away for free then criminals could claim you were just donating your money at gun point!

      Next thing you know we'd have people selling themselves into temporary slavery for 8 hours a day in exchange for 'wages'!

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

    • icon
      btr1701 (profile), 11 Apr 2018 @ 11:56am

      Re:

      "This means that publishers will be required to demand payment from news aggregators."

      I'm trying to figure out how this works in practice. If Google doesn't pay the blurb tax, and the publisher doesn't care because it's getting the traffic, who sues whom?

      Neither party, obviously, will sue, or even complain, so is the government going to step in and sue Google on behalf of the publisher? How will the government even know there's been a violation if the publisher hasn't complained? How does an unrelated third party even have standing to sue and how can such a suit be successful if the 'aggrieved party' isn't cooperative?

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

      • icon
        btr1701 (profile), 11 Apr 2018 @ 11:58am

        Re: Re:

        And what's to stop the publisher from just giving the money back to Google after Google fulfills its obligation to pay?

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 11 Apr 2018 @ 10:47pm

        "You'll make use of that 'right' whether you want to or not!"

        With the push to make the fees mandatory I suspect that a 'link-tax collections agency' would be installed that would act as middle-man to ensure that companies are taking advantage of their 'right' to be paid(like it or not), with the agency taking a cut for 'administrative purposes' such that even if a company simply refunded the money Google would still be losing some.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2018 @ 2:28pm

          Re: "You'll make use of that 'right' whether you want to or not!"

          And then that agency would require mandatory registration of every website, blog or Facebook page etc. page, so that they know where to send bills and payments for the use of links.

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    • identicon
      eol, 16 Apr 2018 @ 3:01am

      Re:

      "I would be more than a little upset if the EU were to tell me that I wasn't allowed to give my money away to a charity or a friend."

      I don't know if it's the EU thing, or is it just my country, but where I live, if you give your money to a charity or a friend, then they have to pay a "donation tax".

      Even if we're talking about measurable, physical things such as money and goods, it sometimes leads to absurd results. For example, when farmers from my country produced too much food and due to market changes and some political sh*tstorm could not sell all of it, they wanted to give the excess amount to charities, orphanages and the like. Except they couldn't - the charities would then have to deal with a legal nightmare of determining how much they would then have to pay in taxes. If they miscalculated, they could then loose official funding, so most of them refused. The food rotted and the children went hungry.

      Trying to implement something like a "link tax" for something as fuzzy and nonphysical as IP will suuurely yield much better results...

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

  • icon
    Richard (profile), 11 Apr 2018 @ 3:49am

    how about?

    How about asking for 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000001 Euros and allowing the sum to be rounded down to the nearest Euro?

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

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 11 Apr 2018 @ 7:02am

      Re: how about?

      If people did that, the gov would just establish collection agencies "for your own good" and set "reasonable" rates. You know they would.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 11 Apr 2018 @ 5:29pm

        Re: Re: how about?

        Not 'would', will.

        Any time they bring out the 'inalienable right'(which is dishonest language in that it's taking away the copyright owners right) you can be sure that a parasitic 'collection agency' will be introduced to handle the fees(and only take a modest cut of course).

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  • identicon
    Yes, I know I'm commenting anonymously, 11 Apr 2018 @ 3:58am

    He is just as absurd as de vos

    Anyone still wondering why foxes have such a bad rep?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2018 @ 4:05am

    Once again this appears to be copyright policy driven solely by the interests of a single party: big publishers who are annoyed at Google for aggregating news and are demanding payment.

    Insert

    User-agent: googlebot-news # only the news service Disallow: / # disallow everything

    in robots.txt and their precious new stories will not appear in Google news.

    or

    User-agent: * # everybody Disallow: / # disallow everything

    and they disappear from Google new, or disappear from all search engines.

    The fact that these simple lines of text are not used shows just how valuable Google actually is to their bottomline.

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

    • identicon
      spodula, 11 Apr 2018 @ 5:47am

      Forcing news sites.

      The reason they do, is because it doesnt work (At least in the big publisher's point of view) unless everyone is forced to charge.
      Otherwise, you will end up with most of the publishers charging, so not getting any hits, but everyone going to the free content, where they rake it in with ads.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2018 @ 6:02am

        Re: Forcing news sites.

        In't that known as competitions, and people selecting which businesses to support, whereas a link tax is a subsidy created by law, and in effect a tax to keep a failing business going.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2018 @ 7:37am

          Re: Re: Forcing news sites.

          Sure but this link tax is welfare for corporations. and the "conservatives" are for welfare for corporations and against welfare for the little guy.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2018 @ 7:41pm

      Re:

      They don't want to block Google. They want the views and benefits that come from Google, and to charge Google for giving them those benefits.

      Remember that after they got their way and got a 'link tax' from Google, Google stopped indexing their sites. They then complained Google was holding them to ransom and sued to force Google to link to (and pay) them.

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

  • identicon
    Daydream, 11 Apr 2018 @ 4:12am

    ...Does it specifically have to be monetary compensation?

    Or can you seek compensation in other ways, such as a return service? Even if it's as small as voting for/positively reviewing someone's work on one of those music/movie sites?

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

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 11 Apr 2018 @ 5:51am

      Re: ...Does it specifically have to be monetary compensation?

      The actual problem is "compensation." This is nothing more than a giveaway request to big publishers, the rest of us be damned.

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

    • icon
      Bluegrass Geek (profile), 11 Apr 2018 @ 10:55am

      Re: ...Does it specifically have to be monetary compensation?

      >Or can you seek compensation in other ways

      I'm not sure VR sex has progressed quite that far yet.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2018 @ 6:12am

    [jk]

    so that the real reason the EU raided FOX EU and some other media groups is to pick up the right envelopes
    [/jk]

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2018 @ 7:14am

    how's about checking what he is being offered for continuously bringing this to the table in the first place and what extra he is gonna get for making the proposal increasingly worse?

    he is supposed to be on the Committee on Legal Affairs, a substitute on the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and a substitute on the Committee on Petitions.

    isn't there one of these where he is supposed to NOT be looking after the interests of a particular section of the entertainment/copyright industries and instead, watching out for the ordinary people?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2018 @ 7:24am

    Monetization is 'their' bread n butter

    All I see is a salty group trying to control the,flow of information. They afraid, and rightly so people banding together to give free access to information for the benefit of the public. After all they aren't makeing a single cent of what's essentially being given away.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2018 @ 7:36am

    So what's that worth?

    So 1.3 Billion creative commons articles, what's that worth? IT sells for 0, so it's not even worth as much as one copy of one XXAA product (I mean one "copy" costs end users $150,000, but 1.3 billion costs zero)...

    I can see why those interested in making money don't want to have to compete with free... so lets just legislate free out of existence (free speech, free information, nobody needs free, I mean if someone isn't making a profit off of it then it's obviously worth nothing)...

    /s

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 11 Apr 2018 @ 7:38am

    If the big copyright morons out there had their ways every time they'd be fighting to scale back a lot of those things. Sometimes I wonder if we shouldn't just let them produce their copyright swords and turn those swords mercilessly against them.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2018 @ 8:32am

    tp coming to the defense of such a plan with a rousing speech about how creative commons is evil, evil, evil in 3, 2, 1...

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2018 @ 8:40am

    Inalienable =!= Unwaivable

    The only problem I have with this story is the conflation of the terms "inalienable" and "unwaivable."

    If a right to something is inalienable it means that the choice to use or have it can not be restricted or blocked.
    If a right is unwaivable it means that it is not a right but a requirement.

    The simple fact that the proposal describes it as a right instead of a requirement obviously shows that the choice to receive payment is in the hands of the publisher. In addition it describes "fair and proportionate remuneration" which the publisher could always decide to set at $0.

    To be fair, it still seems like a pretty crappy directive and has no business being made law. But, please, do not misrepresent what it is actually saying.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 11 Apr 2018 @ 6:19pm

      In this case, it kinda is

      As the attempt in Spain showed 'inalienable' was equal to 'unwaivable', and in fact that was the entire point of including that language, such that those that didn't want to charge had no choice.

      They can already demand to be paid for snippets/links, and Google can already decide that nah, they won't pay, they'll just remove them from their search(something they've done before).

      As I note in a comment below the 'inalienable right' shtick is an attempt to prevent greedy fools from suffering the natural consequences for their actions by preventing other, less greedy people from benefiting from a service they decided to cut themselves off from.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2018 @ 8:52am

    If this passes, does this mean they have to pay people for the photos and videos from social media that they use, or will they continue as strong supporters of fair use when they use such works, and insist that any use, no matter how small the quote, of what they publish is paid for?

    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, 11 Apr 2018 @ 9:17am

    No, GOOGLE deliberately did harm and refused to pay small tax!

    "Google News pulled out of Spain entirely, and a study a year later found that the law ended up doing quite a lot of harm to Spanish publications"

    Techdirt re-writers NEVER see anything objectively in full context, ONLY GOOGLE'S WAY.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2018 @ 9:30am

      Re: No, GOOGLE deliberately did harm and refused to pay small tax!

      That simply shows that being in Google news was a benefit for the publications, and the big ones did the damage by trying to extract money from a service that was helping their business.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2018 @ 10:04am

      Re: No, GOOGLE deliberately did harm and refused to pay small tax!

      Let's see if I can simplify this for you:

      Google.com is a search engine that crawls the web and provides links back to the original site based on your search query. It does not produce any content of its own.

      When Spaniards searched for news on Google, they got links back to their local news sites.

      These local news sites demanded Google pay them for this free advertising and search service.

      Google said "No, that's dumb." and shutdown all operations in Spain. This means that Spaniards searching on Google.com no longer can find links back to their local Spanish news sites.

      The end result of this is that every Spanish news site lost massive amounts of traffic and visibility they were getting for free because Google was indexing their sites and allowing people to find them in their search results. Now they aren't and all that money coming in from that is lost.

      What was that about full context?

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 11 Apr 2018 @ 6:28pm

      'Refusing to pay my ludicrous demand is harming me!'

      This was explained to you the last time you made this hilarious claim. Google was given terms, google didn't like those terms, and therefore google 'did without'.

      Google(or any company) has no obligation to continue to offer service in a country if the terms it would be required to operate under are ones they consider unfair or unsustainable, though as always it's entertaining to watch the positions your hate for the company results in you defending.

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2018 @ 9:18am

    Driven by interests of PRODUCERS not wanting to FEED GOOGLE.

    NOT: "Once again this appears to be copyright policy driven solely by the interests of a single party: big publishers who are annoyed at Google for aggregating news and are demanding payment."

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2018 @ 10:09am

      Re: Driven by interests of PRODUCERS not wanting to FEED GOOGLE.

      Did you miss the part where the "producers" are now making massively less amounts of money because of their idiotic decisions because they don't understand (like you) how the internet and search engines work?

      In fact, one could argue that they actually fed Google MORE because now Google doesn't have to worry about paying them one red cent for anything, in addition to not having to do any work to crawl their sites to display in search results. (Not that that takes a ton of work anyway.)

      Yep, they sure showed Google...NOT.

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

  • icon
    royleith (profile), 11 Apr 2018 @ 9:28am

    Bye-bye and Thanks for all the Fish

    Software is copyright.

    Bye-bye, Android, Firefox, Linux, MySQL, LibreOffice...

    Oh, so are computer languages (even the lists of functions),

    Bye-bye, C, C++, Ruby, Python, OpenJava...

    Oh, there is copyrighted open-source hardware,

    Bye-bye, Ardunino, Raspberry Pi...

    Those wicked, freeloading, Raspberry Pi-using kids better start saving up their pocket money and pay their dues to Ubuntu, Raspberry Pi.org, Python...

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

  • identicon
    FF22, 11 Apr 2018 @ 12:00pm

    The article has it all backwards on "link tax"

    The author obviously doesn't understand what this is and why it's being considered. So, let me explain this to you.

    This is an effort to stop the parasitic aggregator sites from siphoning off profit from the web economy, which they do contribute nothing to, but try to reap all the rewards for.

    Most aggregator and sharing sites are direct competitors (for ex. on the market of advertisements) of original content creators and publishers, and make tons of money from the work of the latter, without paying anything back and contributing to their efforts. They generate no content on their own, just monetize the content created by others. Because of that they have lower - if any - costs, and can undercut the actual content creators with their prices.

    Calling this a "link tax" is obviously an attempt to frame this something it isn't, because this is obviously neither a tax (but a fee, payable between two commercial entities), nor something that's to be paid on linking, but rather on re-using and re-packaging content generated by others.

    It might not be a perfect solution, but is the first step in the right direction to get and force the parasitic entities of the web (which include Facebook, Google Search, and practically all other content sharing and aggregating services) to actually pay the real content creators for their work, that they make their money off.

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

    • identicon
      Thad, 11 Apr 2018 @ 12:16pm

      Re: The article has it all backwards on "link tax"

      ...did you seriously just suggest that the internet would be better off without search engines?

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

      • identicon
        FF22, 11 Apr 2018 @ 12:45pm

        Re: Re: The article has it all backwards on "link tax"

        "...did you seriously just suggest that the internet would be better off without search engines?"
        No, I did nothing alike. Please re-read what I wrote, because you obviously didn't understand it. Thanks.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2018 @ 2:58pm

          Re: Re: Re: The article has it all backwards on "link tax"

          Actually you did and we understood it just fine.

          For reference:

          force the parasitic entities of the web (which include...Google Search

          Care to explain how that is not suggesting the internet would be better off without search engines?

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2018 @ 7:38am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: The article has it all backwards on "link tax"

            Spidering is not the same as aggregating.

            A search engine scrapes data from websites and provides results to queries based on that data.

            An aggregator copies and pastes the entire content of a news article while removing (and sometimes replacing) all of the ads and affiliate links contained within. I've seen some really shitty aggregators that don't even bother to copy the byline, but still copy all the content and attribute the article to themselves. From that perspective, I can see how some see aggregators as thieves.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2018 @ 8:08am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The article has it all backwards on "link tax"

              I've seen some really shitty aggregators that don't even bother to copy the byline, but still copy all the content and attribute the article to themselves.

              That is outright copyright infringement, and a DMCA notice, followed by a lawsuit would solve that problem.

              Have you looked at Google News? What it does is show a snippet of an article, and sends the reader onto the actual site if they want to read the full article.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2018 @ 11:52am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The article has it all backwards on "link tax"

                Agreed. Google is not an aggregator, it's a search engine, even on its news section.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2018 @ 12:17pm

      Re: The article has it all backwards on "link tax"

      The screams coming out of Spain say the Google was providing a valuable service to the newspapers without charging them for it, that of sending viewers to their sites, whether through search, or via Google news.

      Also, it is trivial to keep snippets out of Google news, in fact so simple that even a pointy haired boss could do it after 5 minutes of Wikipedia, looking at their article on robots.txt.

      Being out competed as the place for getting adverts in front of people is not grounds for demanding money.

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

      • identicon
        FF22, 11 Apr 2018 @ 12:53pm

        Re: Re: The article has it all backwards on "link tax"

        "The screams coming out of Spain say the Google was providing a valuable service to the newspapers without charging them for it, that of sending viewers to their sites, whether through search, or via Google news."
        Google is not sending any surplus of users. Google is not increasing the number of readers. Google is merely re-shaping and re-distributing the already existing base of readers. Google is sending only readers to news sites that are already keen on reading news, and would have read news anyway, even if Google News didn't or wouldn't have existed.

        "Also, it is trivial to keep snippets out of Google news, in fact so simple that even a pointy haired boss could do it after 5 minutes of Wikipedia, looking at their article on robots.txt."
        Yes, but unless all publishers unionize, Google will be able to play them against each other, (ab)using his market power and monopoly position. That's why this new law proposal does not allow publishers to waive the fees, so they can't be played against each other.

        "Being out competed as the place for getting adverts in front of people is not grounds for demanding money."
        Nobody said it is. But competition has to be fair. It is definitely not if your competitor is allowed to sell a product that he took from you without your permission and/or without paying you for that.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2018 @ 12:58pm

          Re: Re: Re: The article has it all backwards on "link tax"

          Citation for any of that bullshit you just spewed?

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

          • icon
            FF22 (profile), 11 Apr 2018 @ 1:10pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: The article has it all backwards on "link tax"

            Citation on what? On my thoughts? On logic? You do not really understand what this word means and how formal logic works, do you?

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

            • icon
              Matthew Cline (profile), 11 Apr 2018 @ 2:27pm

              Re: Citations

              Citation on what?

              Well, I'd like a citation for this:

              Google is not increasing the number of readers. Google is merely re-shaping and re-distributing the already existing base of readers.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2018 @ 3:35pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The article has it all backwards on "link tax"

              I’ll try again for your dumb ass. Citation for any of the bullshit that you typed.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2018 @ 1:14pm

          Re: Re: Re: The article has it all backwards on "link tax"

          Twist words all you like, but unless they can find a way to force Google to pay them they will have to do without Google if this sport of law is passed.

          Also note, when an industry unionizes, it is known as a cartel, and is always results in a worse deal for the consumers.

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

        • icon
          Matthew Cline (profile), 11 Apr 2018 @ 2:42pm

          Re: "Google is not sending any surplus of users"

          Google is not sending any surplus of users. Google is not increasing the number of readers. Google is merely re-shaping and re-distributing the already existing base of readers. Google is sending only readers to news sites that are already keen on reading news, and would have read news anyway, even if Google News didn't or wouldn't have existed.

          Well, according to a study by the Spanish Association of Publishers of Periodical Publications, the law did hurt the Spanish news media.

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

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 11 Apr 2018 @ 6:11pm

          Would you prefer 'Google has money. Make them give it to us'-tax

          Google is not sending any surplus of users. Google is not increasing the number of readers. Google is merely re-shaping and re-distributing the already existing base of readers. Google is sending only readers to news sites that are already keen on reading news, and would have read news anyway, even if Google News didn't or wouldn't have existed.

          Which of course is why every other time some short-sighted fool has tried to shake down Google for providing snippets, and google responded by dropping those snippets they cried foul and all but begged to be re-listed.

          Because of the traffic google isn't sending them.

          Right.

          Yes, but unless all publishers unionize, Google will be able to play them against each other, (ab)using his market power and monopoly position. That's why this new law proposal does not allow publishers to waive the fees, so they can't be played against each other.

          'You are demanding that we pay you to list you on our platform, therefore we won't list you. You are not demanding that we pay to list you on our platform, therefore we will list you.'

          That's not 'playing publishers against each other', it's refusing to pay to increase someone else's traffic. The 'inalienable right' crap has nothing to do with 'protecting publishers from being taken advantage of', and everything to do with keeping greedy fools from suffering the repercussions of their greed by not being listed, while others who aren't so greedy are still able to benefit from the symbiotic relationship.

          If everyone must charge then those who aren't greedy can't simply decide not to charge, and therefore keep the traffic that google is sending them, while those that are greedy decide to demand payment and lose that traffic.

          Nobody said it is. But competition has to be fair. It is definitely not if your competitor is allowed to sell a product that he took from you without your permission and/or without paying you for that.

          By all means, what product are they selling, and if what they are doing is so bad why is it that every other time they've been forced to 'stop selling' it the 'victims' have come crawling back to them to get them to 'start selling it' again?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2018 @ 11:13pm

          Re: Re: Re: The article has it all backwards on "link tax"

          Google is not sending any surplus of users.

          Then disappearing from the search results won't hurt at all. Use robots.txt.

          Yes, but unless all publishers unionize, Google will be able to play them against each other

          That's neither here or there - how does this relate to the 'robots.txt'? Not at all - I thought so.

          But let's fight your straw-man for fun of it: 1) Why would they unionise? How would Google play them, if Google's services are useless to them? You just stated they could all pull out of them and it would change a thing. 2) well, when Google is forced to pay, then Google will do what all publishers do when average Joe wants to post an advert: charge for every word. So every word appearing in the search results will cost every publisher. Now this will offset the costs for Google at the same time killing-off smaller publishers (as happened in Spain) and smaller web search engines (that won't be able to charge for appearing in them), nicely cementing Google's position. Well done.

          Nobody said it is. But competition has to be fair. It is definitely not if your competitor is allowed to sell a product that he took from you without your permission and/or without paying you for that.

          Utter BS - as it was pointed out to you already, publishers gave their permission. It is very easy to rescind it: robots.txt. Just put your precious content in a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory...

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 11 Apr 2018 @ 11:41pm

      Re: The article has it all backwards on "link tax"

      The author obviously doesn't understand what this is and why it's being considered. So, let me explain this to you.

      Heh. Interesting assertion. Wrong, but interesting.

      This is an effort to stop the parasitic aggregator sites from siphoning off profit from the web economy, which they do contribute nothing to, but try to reap all the rewards for.

      Oh really?

      Most aggregator and sharing sites are direct competitors (for ex. on the market of advertisements) of original content creators and publishers, and make tons of money from the work of the latter, without paying anything back and contributing to their efforts. They generate no content on their own, just monetize the content created by others. Because of that they have lower - if any - costs, and can undercut the actual content creators with their prices.

      1. If you're a publisher whose business model is undermined by someone else aggregating your work, then YOUR WORK ISN'T THAT VALUABLE. If it's so easily competed against by someone putting in no effort as you claim.

      2. You're also just plain wrong. Aggregators send a ton of traffic to publishers, and it's up to those publishers to monetize it.

      3. Google News isn't competing for ad dollars -- it doesn't use ads in most parts of the world. So, no it's not monetizing the works of others.

      4. Billions of dollars are spent on Search Engine Optimization by publishers looking to get links from Google. And you're telling me that getting links from search engines really provides no value? If so, why is so much spent on SEO?

      So... honestly, I think I understand this issue better than you think. I'm also quite sure I understand it better than you do.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2018 @ 2:23pm

    Goodbye, European users of Wikipedia.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2018 @ 6:31pm

    What if an EU publisher simply refuses to charge and tells that to the government's face ("We're not charging, and that's final!")? What's the government actually going to do about it?

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 11 Apr 2018 @ 6:40pm

      Re:

      'For blatantly violating the law the court hereby issues a fine of X to Company Z, to be paid immediately. Refusal to pay will result in an additional fine, as well as possible legal sanctions. Refusal to properly follow the law will also result in additional fines and possible legal sanctions.'

      Something along those lines I suspect, can't have people undercutting the demands of greedy fools by not demanding money from the people sending them free traffic.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 11 Apr 2018 @ 6:32pm

    'You have these rights whether you want them or not!'

    Claim to be defending the 'rights' of publishers.

    Propose law that takes away right of publisher to not charge for their content.

    Oh yeah, they are just so very concerned about the rights of publishers.

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

  • icon
    Hugo S Cunningham (profile), 11 Apr 2018 @ 9:35pm

    Force Google out of news aggregation. Make it an EU monopoly.

    /sarc/ Once an EU government monopoly controls Internet news links, the social utility of making publishers pay for previously free links and advertising will become obvious./s/

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2018 @ 6:01am

    You're all paranoid.

    This is unenforceable. The only way to make sure that every hyperlink on a website has been financially compensated is through grueling, manual auditing. There are no algorithms that can inspect every link on a webpage, connect up with the financial records of the website operator and all of the financial records of the websites linked to, to verify that payments have been made. It would have to be done by hand, by people, one website at a time, one page at a time.

    There isn't enough manpower to enforce this on every webpage in Europe. There just isn't. This isn't the death of Linux or Github or any of that. I predict a hell of a lot of civil disobedience on this one, and the only time I could see this law being used is when websites are shut down for other, bigger violations that actually elicit a police response, and then they throw the link tax crap on there for purposes of stacking charges.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2018 @ 6:23am

      Re: You're all paranoid.

      What you're missing is they don't have to enforce every link. Two or three big ones would be enough to bankrupt a site like Github.

      They don't have to enforce payment on every link, just enough to force the company into bankruptcy and cause them to shut down. And that will take FAR less than enforcing every link.

      the only time I could see this law being used is when websites are shut down for other, bigger violations that actually elicit a police response, and then they throw the link tax crap on there for purposes of stacking charges.

      Allow me to introduce you to Spain. Spain passed a law very similar to this. They then used it to try to force Google to pay them for serving up links to their sites for free. Google said "Why should we pay you for giving you free traffic and advertising?" and closed up shop in Spain altogether. Spain news sites have been suffering ever since.

      The end result would not be the same here since it would apply to the entirety of the EU, instead of just one country. Though honestly it would be their just desserts if websites such as Github and Google shut down all operations in the EU if this passes.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2018 @ 7:28am

        Re: Re: You're all paranoid.

        The very article states...

        "News sites should not be able to give out free licenses"

        Since when was Github a "news site"?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2018 @ 11:57am

          Re: Re: Re: You're all paranoid.

          It's not, but apparently you can't be bothered to read the first paragraph of the article.

          We recently noted that the latest version of the EU's copyright directive, being pushed by MEP Axel Voss (though the metadata showed that it actually came from the EU Commission), would bring back horrible censorial ideas like mandatory filtering. As we noted, such a plan would likely kill important sites like Github, which would have trouble functioning as a repository for sharing code if it had to block... sharing of code.

          The new section wouldn't have anything to do with Github necessarily (though who knows given people are off their rocker for even considering this legislation in the first place), but the article never says the new section would kill Github, it says other parts of the legislation would.

          Learn to read. It will save you embarrassment in the future.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2018 @ 6:06am

    "0" is still a number.

    You could always just charge €0.00 and claim all compensations have been made. The CC licences could even be updated to include such a statement. I see no minimum compensation limit proposed in this law. How is this going to kill CC licences? This whole article is making a crinkly sound when I read it, must be the heavy layer of tinfoil surrounding it.

    Sure, people would have the right to charge more and then have happen to them what happened to the Spanish news companies, and that's their prerogative to kill their traffic in such a way.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2018 @ 6:26am

      Re: "0" is still a number.

      CC licenses, by default, do not require payment. Therefore, even if you charge $0, you can't use CC. Therefore CC = dead.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2018 @ 7:31am

        Re: Re: "0" is still a number.

        "does not require" != "does not forbid"

        You do realize you can burn a CD-ROM full of free software and charge money for the labour process and the physical medium, don't you?

        Not to sound like "that guy" but free licences have never been about controlling the price of a beer.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Apr 2018 @ 12:08pm

          Re: Re: Re: "0" is still a number.

          Some CC licenses do forbid charging.

          You do realize you can burn a CD-ROM full of free software and charge money for the labour process and the physical medium, don't you?

          Yes, but that has nothing to do with topic at hand.

          Not to sound like "that guy" but free licences have never been about controlling the price of a beer.

          What are you even trying to say here? We're not talking about setting prices of consumable, physical goods.

          We're talking about legacy news corporations trying to charge people for factual information about the world. It's no different than them saying "Hey! You can't tell people the sky is blue, we've got a copyright on that information. Only we can tell people the sky is blue, unless you pay us for the license.".

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 12 Apr 2018 @ 10:39pm

      "... but not one you're allowed to charge."

      If a site was able to set the amount at 0.00 then it would completely undercut the 'inalienable right' part of the law, such that it's all but a given that the sites would not be the ones setting the 'fair and proportionate remuneration', with another group/agency deciding what counts as 'fair'.

      It's possible that the ones writing it screwed up, forgot to close that loophole, and will not close it as the proposal progresses, but I doubt it, as it would leave the foolish to suffer the penalties for their greed, which the whole 'inalienable right' part is meant to prevent.

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

  • identicon
    John Tracy, 12 Apr 2018 @ 1:36pm

    Eurooe's copyright proposal

    I thought it was called COPYRIGHT, meaning you had the option whether to exercise those rights to the full extent the law allows or choose to not exercise those rights and effectively make it public domain.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 12 Apr 2018 @ 4:44pm

      'We just want to protect ou- I mean your content.'

      Yeah, they nicely destroy any credibility of 'caring about the publishers' when they claim that they care about the rights of said publishers one hand hand, and insist that publishers are not allowed to do what they want with their own content on the other.

      This has nothing to do with protecting publishers from being exploited, and everything to do with protecting greedy fools who are willing to throw 'donations' at politicians.

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

    • icon
      Talmyr (profile), 13 Apr 2018 @ 8:31am

      Re: Eurooe's copyright proposal

      Following that logic, look for the NRA to push that the government mandates that everyone in the US MUST carry/possess guns, or else they are "denying someone the 'right' to carry a murdertoy".

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

  • identicon
    Gino, 30 Jun 2018 @ 12:53am

    an inalienable right is not an unwaivable right

    This whole discussion continually mixes up 2 different terms: inalienable and unwaivable.

    In legal terms, an inalienable right is a right that cannot be bought, sold, or transferred to another person. It does not mean that the holder of that right is required to exercise it regardless of whether or not they want to do so. So by definition an inalienable right can still be waived by the holder. It is NOT an unwaivable right. Every article and blog post I've read on this subject seems to repeat this mix-up of definitions.

    Of course, even with this in mind article 11 is still an absurdity, since it would e.g. give rights to a scientist to demand payment whenever one of his scientific works is being quoted in another publication (which in the scientific world happens all the time, and is even used as a measure to calculate a scientist's scientific 'weight'). It would also make services like Giphy almost impossible, since the rights holders of the material on which a Giphy is based would be entitled to demand compensation.

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


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