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 @ 1:06pm

    No, they actually can't.

    Stupid thoughts behind Articles 11 & 13: We'll just force them out and make our own!

    No, they won't. People made Google and Facebook popular, not governments. They can sponsor theirr own Google and Facebook alternatives, but they cannot make people use them. Oh wait they can't do that, because they've actually made it incredibly difficult if not downright illegal to do it themselves with the GDPR.

    That's right, they can't legally collect all the data Google and Facebook hold on their citizens, the data that is needed to run the ad networks their news outlets depend upon for income.

    Even if they repeal it and build their new services, they can't make people use it. And even if the people begin to switch, they are still a full decade behind today anyways. They've literally set themselves back a decade (maybe more) with these moves.

    But let's say they start getting data sources somehow, illegally becuase we know they are not going to repeal the GDPR. How much do you think their new Google and Facebook are going to cost? Whatever you are thinking, multiply it by at least 10, and then withdraw that money from their banks and just burn it. It'll much faster than waiting another decade for it to be declared a failed project riddled with corruption and cost overruns, and shuttered.

    Oh hey, by the way, which EU country is going to host and control those? I mean, they're all gonna say "Can't someone else do it?" when the idea comes up, and try to shove it off on "the rich members" to do, then demand an equal share in any revenue becuase "We're all equal members". Not to mention at least 12 of them will start grumbling anytime things begin to look like they might actually happen becuase they're jealous and see it as a rise in power. So I guess add stupidity, laziness, and greed to the list of reasons this project will get shuttered.

    tl:dr - They won't build their own because any monkey that tries to climb the ladder will get yanked down by the rest.


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