EU Puts An End To The Open Internet: Link Taxes And Filters Approved By Just 5 Votes

from the a-sad-day-for-the-open-internet dept

Well, it was a nice run while it lasted, but the EU Parliament has just put an end to the open internet. By the incredibly thin margin of just five votes, the Parliament voted against any amendments to the proposal -- which was a necessary step to fixing or deleting Articles 11 and 13. After that, they voted to approve the EU Copyright Directive, including the terrible versions of both Article 11 and 13. This is an inauspicious day and one that the EU will almost certainly come to regret. While we now need to see how each of the member states will implement the actual laws put forth in the Directive (meaning the damage in some states may be more mitigatable than in others), on the whole the EU Copyright Directive requires laws that effectively end the open internet as an open communications medium. Sites that previously allowed content creators to freely publish content will now be forced to make impossible choices: license all content (which is literally impossible), filter all content (expensive and failure-prone), or shut down. Sites that used to send traffic to news sources may now need to reconsider, as doing so will inexplicably require payment.

At best, the EU--for all its complaints about Google and Facebook--has just locked both companies into a dominant position. They can afford this. Others cannot. And, the legacy gatekeepers in the media and entertainment business will quickly pivot to seeking to export this model elsewhere.

The MEPs who voted for this are up for election in two months, and hopefully the EU shows them the door, but in the meantime, today is a sad day for the open internet. I am sure that some will be celebrating on the false belief that this will magically "help artists." It will not. You just handed more power to giant companies, and took it away from creators. In time, one hopes, those who mocked the protesters and activists and actual experts will come to realize just how much they destroyed today.

Filed Under: article 11, article 13, censorship, closed internet, copyright, eu, eu copyright directive, eu parliament, filters, free speech, link tax, open internet


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  1. identicon
    Anonmylous, 26 Mar 2019 @ 12:16pm

    Re: Re:

    But there isn't any regulation here. Regulations have tightly defined definitions and rules. They spell out the exact steps and processes and goals that must be achieved. Articles 11 and 13... don't. They are vaguely worded rants screaming "Pay us money" and nothing more. Pay us money for our stuff, don't use our stuff, get off my lawn.

    Hell half the wording leads the casual reader to believe these people literally have no idea how the internet actually works. Somehow this is the fault of said internet and not the fault of myriad businesses that have failed to keep up with the market.

    The result of these two articles when added to the whole of European copyright law means that no sight can allow user posts. NONE. Because in the EU you are granted a copyright automatically upon creation of a work. You do not need to file. Every user post is copyrighted. Quote the poster above you and now you've committed copyright infringement. The website is now legally liable, and if the OP doesn't like your reply, they can demand the post be removed. Since removing the quote is tedious, they set can either set up a system to automatically accept such submissions and delete content, spend thousands of man-hours manually removing such content, or simply stop allowing comments.

    That's also why there will be no more social media, giants or otherwise. The potential hassle is simply too great. Hosting your own becomes too big a potential risk, after all anyone can claim they own copyright on your stuff too, and the only way to prove them wrong is spend a lot of money taking them to court.

    That is not regulation. Regulation requires a standards body somewhere to determine compliance with the rules and punish those who break them. There is no body for this, its all on the courts to decide in the end. That is not regulation. There are not ombudsmen, regulators, inspectors or anything else involved in first-line compliance checking for the standards body (that again, does not exist).

    This is greed by decree. This is an attempt to force the market to bend to the whims and wishes of a small group with outsized monetary representation by another group with an inferiority complex and a chip on their shoulders regarding the home country of the primary market leaders.


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