Free Software Foundation Europe Comes To Its Senses After Calling For EU To Fund Open Source Upload Filters

from the producing-better-shackles dept

Most EU digital rights groups are still reeling from the approval of the EU Copyright Directive and its deeply-flawed idea of upload filters, which will seriously harm the way the Internet operates in the region and beyond. Matters are made even worse by the fact that some MEPs claim they blundered when they voted -- enough of them that Article 13 might have been removed from the legislation had they voted as they intended.

But one organization quick off the mark in its response was the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), the local offshoot of the main Free Software Foundation. Shortly after the EU vote, it issued a press release entitled "Copyright Directive -- EU safeguards Free Software at the last minute". This refers to a campaign spear-headed by the FSFE and Open Forum Europe called "Save Code Share" that sought successfully to exclude open source software sharing from Article 13. As the press release said:

We are glad we were able to raise awareness and understanding of what drives software development in Europe nowadays among many policy makers. The exclusion of Free Software code hosting and sharing providers from this directive is crucial to keep Free Software development in Europe healthy, solid and alive.

It went on to say:

As upload filters are now introduced, we urge the European Commission to avoid filtering monopolies by companies this directive actually intended to regulate.

That is, indeed, a real threat: Google has spent over $100 million developing its Content ID filtering system for YouTube. Few other companies will be able to match that. Rather ironically, Article 13 may end up giving Google a near-monopoly over large parts of the upload filtering market. Here’s how the FSFE proposed to tackle that problem:

We call on the European Commission to promote the dissemination of Free Software filter technologies, including financial support, for instance within the framework of research programmes Horizon2020 and Horizon Europe.

Perhaps the FSFE was so keen to promote free software everywhere that it didn't really think this through. Anyway, a couple of days later, the FSFE came to its senses, and deleted the call for "Free Software filter technologies", and half-apologized:

The original version of this press release urged the European Commission to act to avoid filtering-monopolies, but our description of our position on filters was unclear and incomplete. The FSFE is not, and has never been, in favour of developing "fundamentally flawed filtering technologies". The FSFE has been fighting against upload filters since the beginning, e.g., as a signatory of Copyright for Creativity or Create Refresh, and joined more than 80 organisations asking the EU member states to reject the harmful Article 13 (now, Art. 17). The FSFE will support solutions to preserve users' right to be in control of technology and ethical standards for service operators.

That's more like it: the correct response to the authorities making shackles compulsory is not to try to make better shackles, but to point out how bad any kind of shackle is. The FSFE now seems to agree unequivocally.

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

Filed Under: copyright, eu, eu copyright directive, filters, free software, open source
Companies: fsfe


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  • icon
    ArkieGuy (profile), 29 Mar 2019 @ 6:38am

    Government Provided Upload Filters

    Sounds to me like the EU should provide a free upload filter that any company can CHOOSE to use... Then when it doesn't work (like we all know it WILL), the EU itself would be responsible for the failure and the fines. :)

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Mar 2019 @ 7:20am

      Re: Government Provided Upload Filters

      I find your comment both insightful and hilarious. There is no way they would allow the failure of this to reflect back onto the people who caused the mess. They will blame others and pretend they didn't understand what they were pushing.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Mar 2019 @ 8:43am

        Re: Re: Government Provided Upload Filters

        Indeed. If the filters don't work, that will just indicate to the A13 crowd that software companies need to nerd harder.

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

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 1 Apr 2019 @ 2:36am

        Re: Re: Government Provided Upload Filters

        "They will blame others and pretend they didn't understand what they were pushing."

        Well, the company supplying the filter will be in the clear - the harm will come to the platform daring to use it.

        ...so the assumption is that platforms will actually dare to operate with a government-built content filter in place while still retaining all the accountability when that filter fails.

        It's a nice idea but it fails on there simply not being enough suicidal IT company CEO's around.

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

  • icon
    FlatZOut (profile), 29 Mar 2019 @ 6:51am

    The EU ends The Open Internet, but for a Deeper Reason?

    It saddens me that the EU managed to pass this directive despite millions of opposition. This affects not just the EU, hut the rest of the world as well. Even in countries like the U.S.A, China, Russia, Japan, Kuwait, and especially every country in every continent. But I have a theory as to why our governments are trying to end the open internet, and it’s a very deep and tragic theory. Feel free to reply and share your thoughts. This is only a theory, but here we go:

    Back in 2017, Donald Trump placed Ajit Pai as the Chair of the FCC, and he eventually repealed Net Neutrality despite millions of opposition. Net Neutrality prevents our internet turning into a high price TV-Cable system. Trump even wanted to close the open internet, even stating this during his campaign (look it up). Ajit Pai’s determination and ignorance sparked a bad influence and presented a terrible attitude model for future governments to follow.
    Now keep in mind that at the same time we were fighting ISIS and trying to keep North Korea from nuking us.
    The European Union also added to the destruction of the internet by passing a heavily flawed directive that basically (in a nutshell) says: “If it’s content, then it’s illegal to put online”.
    Thailand has also started their spiel with making the internet worse, and Japan also attempted to do the same (though they were smart in holding it off)
    Now, there have been threats concerning the possibility that out world leaders have been secretly given the power to ban the internet (possibly even if it wasn’t a national emergency)

    With all of the attacks that have been occuring, it is possible that our governments are planning World War III behind our backs, and they want to keep us off the internet so that we don’t find out about it. They could be planning a nuclear war that threatens the existence of mankind, and it sure sounds like this is what’s going on. They want to keep us from the truth, and they’re using dirty tactics to do so. We all remember how the EU tried to rush the vote two weeks early.

    I could be entirely wrong, but it sure sounds like we’re in for a war bigger than World War II, and a decimation unlike any other. Let me know what you think. I’m open for debate.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Mar 2019 @ 7:29pm

      Re: The EU ends The Open Internet, but for a Deeper Reason?

      ''Thailand has also started their spiel with making the internet worse, and Japan also attempted to do the same (though they were smart in holding it off)
      Now, there have been threats concerning the possibility that out world leaders have been secretly given the power to ban the internet (possibly even if it wasn’t a national emergency)''

      I might be out of the loop on this one, but what are you referring to when you're talking about Thailand and Japan making their internet worse?
      Are you talking about censorship or something similar to Articles 11 & 13?

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

      • icon
        FlatZOut (profile), 30 Mar 2019 @ 3:39am

        Re: Re: The EU ends The Open Internet, but for a Deeper Reason?

        There have been articles about these despicable acts on Techdirt. I would advise looking them up. Thailand is currently attempting to make the internet worse by increasing “Cyber Security” which basically will cage the internet by destroying the freedom of data privacy. This means that the government would be allowed to search every computer without a warrant, and thus compromizes our personal data and privacy.

        Japan attempted to alter its own Copyright Laws earlier this month (which in a way reflects what Article 13 and 11 would do). However, they held off because they were concerned about free speech. But that doesn’t mean Japan’s safe from being censored by their own governments. It’s only a temporary, yet not-so-safe safe haven, for now.

        Don’t you see the crisis our world is devolving into. There is no doubt the distinct possibility that we are heading into World War III, and our governments don’t want us to know about it.

        If it hadn’t crossed your mind, then it should.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Mar 2019 @ 4:50pm

        Re: Re: The EU ends The Open Internet, but for a Deeper Reason?

        The sheer possibility of all the government agreeing on anything at all is less than infinitesimal, much less keep it in secret. Now, if you all of them are going to play out a nice little nuclear war, while 1) there are very different governments 2) most gov'ts aren't monolithic which means their very members actively try to screw each other 3) many of the supposed co-conspirators don't even have any nukes 4) an all-out nuclear war isn't a precision game - you're basically proposing a huge amount of people who aren't capable of getting their pants on are somehow holding up a global conspiracy to play a version of Russian roulette where most of them will die horribly along with their loved ones, most of the surviving players will be ousted from power, and the tiny minority who can cling to the power will rule over wastelands with nowhere to go, having no place whatsoever for a vacation or retirement. Fundamentally, you're saying all the politicians in all the governments are very clever and capable, and entirely unselfish, all aiming for the same undisclosed purpose.

        ...Yeah, that's entirely plausible, no doubt about it.

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

    • icon
      morganwick (profile), 30 Mar 2019 @ 1:02am

      Re: The EU ends The Open Internet, but for a Deeper Reason?

      I knew when this comment adopted a solemn tone with regards to the increasing restrictions on the open internet and the "deeper reason" behind it, and when it twice used the grammatically incorrect phrase "millions of opposition", it was going to lead to some bonkers conspiracy theory. But even after mentioning the US military situation in Syria and North Korea, I wasn't prepared for it to jump all the way to "the world's governments are planning World War III and trying to shut down the Internet so we don't know about it until they actually launch the nukes and wipe out mankind". Presumably the reason why all these governments are planning World War III at the same time with no one knowing about it, despite the fact that they too would perish as part of "mankind", is because they're actually lizard people that would survive a nuclear war to become the new dominant species on Earth, and my questioning of this narrative is just because I've let their chemtrails infect my mind and prevent me from seeing The Truth(tm) because I don't wear a tinfoil hat like this one guy that has alone stumbled onto their plot to start World War III by locking down the Internet and wake up sheeple.

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

      • icon
        FlatZOut (profile), 30 Mar 2019 @ 10:04am

        Re: Re: The EU ends The Open Internet, but for a Deeper Reason?

        “...because they’re actually lizard people that would survive a nuclear war to become the new dominat species on Earth...”

        morganwick, what type of documentaries have you been watching? Star Wars? (That’s not a documentary by the way).

        And I’m not trying to make up a conspiracy theory. I’m just stating my own personal theory using critical thinking, based off of past events and knowing that at times these events can connect in a particular way. And the image after building this giant puzzle-piece of a conundrum is more than unsettling. It’s a grim one.

        While I know I’m probably not going to be entirely correct (most likely), it is always a good idea to look at a situation from every side (because there’s not just two sides to every situation) and understand that there may be Rival Causes to this scenario.
        —-
        I also had other theories as to why this all is happening (in case my WW3 theory didn’t nail properly)
        Some of them include:
        -prevention of the illegal leaking of government documents
        -most of the money goes to online stores, which is why many physical stores are going bankrupt, so they’re maybe trying to bring physical businesses back
        -outright corruption because of their lust for power and authority
        -Preventing the discovery of secret projects and tests that the governments are performing behind our back

        Or to put it bluntly:
        -They got no common sense

        But hey, I’m always up for interpretation. Not looking for fights, but I was just providing my input.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Mar 2019 @ 3:39am

      Re: The EU ends The Open Internet, but for a Deeper Reason?

      Don't be silly: it's not WWIII, just an asteroid that's making a beeline to strike Earth in 2027 or 2029. They said they miscalculated and it won't hit...right...I saw Deep Impact.

      "Ellie" is real!

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 31 Mar 2019 @ 3:40am

        Re: Re: The EU ends The Open Internet, but for a Deeper Reason?

        This is also why we've been running up debt...no need to pay it back!

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 1 Apr 2019 @ 2:48am

      Re: The EU ends The Open Internet, but for a Deeper Reason?

      "I could be entirely wrong, but it sure sounds like we’re in for a war bigger than World War II, and a decimation unlike any other."

      Both yes and no. The "war" in question is one of citizenry vs state. It's been fought for most of human history and this time around we've seen what happens often enough to predict the outcome.

      I'd advise you take a look through history, especially 13th to 14th century european history surrounding a fellow named "Gutenberg" and his invention of the movable-type printing press. Also another check around the 16th century - the time of the protestant reformation.

      Every time civilization passes a technology treshold toward a new tier there is a predictable result; Encumbent power structures start fighting a desperate rearguard struggle against the flood of opportunities and freedoms afforded the citizenry which now threatens a great many of the systems the existing power structure uses to hold and maintain power.

      The end result is always the same. Banning or restricting the offending technology makes the affected region unable to compete with those who choose to utilize the new technology, thus ensuring the powers in charge are weakened until they collapse.

      Allowing or using the new technology means existing power structures are built around until they have weakened enough to collapse.

      You don't stop progress. I very much doubt even the current crop of politicians hell-bent on putting the genie back in the bottle even think they'll succeed. But as long as their jobs are riding on fighting a losing war that's just what they'll do. Backed, needless to say, by any con man and fraudulent businessman who sees their old business model collapsing under the new tech and who wants to grind out as much money as they can before their schemes collapse around their ears.

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

      • icon
        FlatZOut (profile), 24 Apr 2019 @ 3:40pm

        Re: Re: The EU ends The Open Internet, but for a Deeper Reason?

        The “war” in question is one of citizenry vs state.

        No. The war in question is World War III. And governments will stop at nothing to ensure that freedom is taken to the grave in order to cover up their secrets.

        Progress is always able to be stopped. And they’re stopping creative progress every day. And what is it all fueled by? Their lust for money and greed.

        And I am not a European. I am an American, born in America, and I hope you don’t get any misunderstandings about my residence.

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

  • icon
    Kyle Reynolds Conway (profile), 29 Mar 2019 @ 9:03am

    Incompatibility

    Yeah. Free Software implementation of an upload filter would be fascinating. Imagine the legal battles over what options an individual company set or modified. Imagine the public sharing of that codebase, the pull requests, and it's maintenance. Imagine the forks!

    <sarc> It's best we leave this to closed, proprietary alternatives. Then we can just imagine that they work. </sarc>

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 1 Apr 2019 @ 2:50am

      Re: Incompatibility

      "Imagine the public sharing of that codebase, the pull requests, and it's maintenance. Imagine the forks!"

      Good Gods, it'll be like trying to merge every linux distro in existence. O_O

      "<sarc> It's best we leave this to closed, proprietary alternatives. Then we can just imagine that they work. </sarc>"

      Good Gods, you're talking about Windows Vista, closed beta, aren't you?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Mar 2019 @ 9:45am

    Here is my filter suggestion

    • s/*//g

    It will stop all infringing content.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Mar 2019 @ 10:44am

    The Copyright Directive passed 348-274. If those MEPs supposedly disliked Article 13 so much, then why did the Directive pass so easily?

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

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 29 Mar 2019 @ 11:05am

      Re:

      If you're a regular Techdirt reader (and we both know you are, Mr. Smith), then you already know the answer to that question.

      While the overall directive passed 348-274, the move to amend (mostly driven by a desire to remove Articles 11 and 13) only failed by five votes -- and MEPs are now claiming that they didn't mean to vote that way and were confused by the order of the votes being switched at the eleventh hour.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Mar 2019 @ 12:04pm

        Re: Re:

        Aware of all that.

        They couldn't have been too upset though, because the final vote for the actual directive was 348-274.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Mar 2019 @ 7:14pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yes, 348 MEPs voted to give Google a monopoly on filtering, thereby solving what Article 13 was meant to destroy: Google's monopoly!

          ...Wait.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 31 Mar 2019 @ 3:56am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Either Google will become a neutral umbrella for those smaller outfits who can't afford compliance (much like YouTube already is for individual creators who don't want to build and market a video site), or some consortium or large company will enter the space to offer competition. The costs of compliance create an economy of scale which benefits large groups of content creators sharing that burden, whether through Google or another service.

            Individual creators can also just market through their own sites, and even traditional media. They aren't going anywhere.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 1 Apr 2019 @ 2:17am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              So let the large corporations continue to have the largest piece of the pie and push individual creators out of the benefits, got it.

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

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 1 Apr 2019 @ 2:55am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "...or some consortium or large company will enter the space to offer competition. The costs of compliance create an economy of scale which benefits large groups of content creators sharing that burden, whether through Google or another service."

              Nice idea, except that's what we had before Article 13(17). After that it's pretty clear that this is exactly what won't work. Your "economy of scale" somehow fails to consider that as demand scales so does the cost of filtering. So an unsurpassable fiscal hurdle will remain such no matter how many individuals cluster under that "umbrella".

              "Individual creators can also just market through their own sites, and even traditional media."

              If they can afford to spend a hundred million USD in software development yes, otherwise no.
              Or they can go with the "soft" option which means leasing filtering tech from Youtube at a cost which will be a high multiple of what youtube asks as percentage today.

              So, Baghdad bob, would you care to offer any further demonstration as to how you don't understand the economy involved, nor the law suddenly about to surround it?

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Al, 30 Mar 2019 @ 2:41pm

    google jews and co

    Loads of soros puppets in the eu totalitarian dictatorship AN INFESTED NEST OF ZIONIST PUPPETS... The jews are creating the current ilsamic invasion to divide us so they can keep being a minority and still in power jew money, jew controlled oliticians (trump, may, macron) and jew media Time to send them back where they belong

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Mar 2019 @ 3:36am

    E-books are now basically worthless unless sponsored or backed by something that doesn't involve copyright.

    Amazon now offers paperback printing on demand, and even without it, an author would be wise to use this option (with them or another site), have the books mailed (at the cost of the reader), and include an NDA which strictly punishes the reader for disseminating the material (the books can be "fingerprinted" relatively easily), and in which the reader agrees to waive service of a lawsuit in the publisher's jurisdiction, or do without a book which will help them, perhaps financially. The price? $99.95 a copy, to cover the cost of piracy.

    There's your "new business model." A single theft of the book can pay up to $150,000, in addition to the sales. Maybe "discount" it from time to time at $24.95.

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


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