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. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 26 Mar 2019 @ 6:50am

    Re: Re:

    "The main target of this law is piracy, and it should remain the primary target. Memes, free speech, and fair use should not "break.""

    Piracy was never the target of this law - in fact, piracy can not be touched by this law in any way. So given that this law will not touch any pirates other than those rare few who upload movies to youtube, what sort of wishful thinking are you indulging in?

    You keep harping on how this is a law against pirates. Is that because you think it's an incantation from Harry Potter and sreaming "Article 13!!" will cause lightning to strike some guy copying a file somewhere?

    On the contrary, article 13 will indeed break fair use, leaving piracy once again as the sole convenient source of entertainment. We're basically back to the 1990's.

    "My hope is that Article 13 will be enforced logically, not overburden any sites, allow for swift review of blocked content, etc., and maybe even a registration system similar to YouTube's partner system..."

    Enforcing article 13 logically will break all of those examples you refer to. Youtube may be able to keep operating because they have the money and filtering tech...anyone else will have to buy clearance from filtering companies, most of which means - youtube.

    You can hope all you wish but the reality is that legitimate use of the internet has become crippled and that leaves piracy to carry all the slack.

    No skin off my nose, Baghdad Bob, but come tomorrow I'll be watching for your hysterics when the only outcome of this is a sudden surge of VPN use concomitant with the collapse of the european indie market.


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