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After Insisting That EU Copyright Directive Didn't Require Filters, France Immediately Starts Promoting Filters

from the because-of-course dept

For months now we've all heard the refrain: Article 13 (now Article 17) of the EU Copyright Directive would not require filters. We all knew it was untrue. We pointed out many times that it was untrue, and that there was literally no way to comply unless you implemented filters (filters that wouldn't work and would ban legitimate speech), and were yelled at for pointing this out. Here's the MEP in charge of the Directive flat out insisting that it won't require filters last year:

Over and over and over again, this is what they insisted. Of course, we all knew it wasn't true, and the German government quietly admitted that filters were necessary a few weeks ago. That didn't stop the vote from happening, of course, and the Parliament questionably moving forward with this plan. Still, it's rather striking that just a day after the vote, as pointed out to us by Benjamin Henrion, France's Minister for Culture gave a speech in which he admits that it requires filters and hopes that France will implement the law as quickly as possible in order to start locking down the internet. The quotes here are based on Google translate, so they may not be perfect, but you get the idea. Incredibly, in talking about the Directive, Riester starts off by saying that the passing of the Directive was "despite massive campaigns of misinformation" which seems rather ironic, since it's now clear the misinformation came from those who insisted it didn't require filters, because soon after that he says:

I also announce that the Higher Council of Literary and Artistic Property, the HADOPI and the CNC will jointly launch in the coming days a "Mission to promote and supervise content recognition technologies".

In other words, now that the law is passed, it's time for everyone to install filters.

Riester also suggests that France may be the first to transpose the Directive into French law, meaning that it may be implemented long before required under the Directive. As he said: "there is no time to lose on this subject." If you're a site that has any user-generated content in France, good luck. Your government just sold you out. Of course, if you're a company selling filters, I guess send your lobbyists over to Paris quick and cash in.

Filed Under: article 13, copyright, eu copyright directive, filters, france, franck riester, minister of culture


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  1. icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 2 Apr 2019 @ 4:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Filters are censorship

    "Common sense says "of course a web site can't be held liable for not knowing a VPN user is in Europe" but who wants to bet the future of their business on the intersection of European law and common sense?"

    Actually it's pretty clear cut that a lawyer will say the same.

    Because the terrible thing is that if that liability exists then american citizens and companies will similarly have to be held liable under the very european article 13.

    "Does the article specify that the penalties don't apply to VPN users?"

    The law doesn't specify the user at all. It targets the platform. It also only applies to the platform being forced by law to implement extremely stringent filtering under EU law.
    So unless they radically rewrite and amend the entire directive to include user liability the user and VPN do not come into this equation. Should the directive be so amended it's pretty clear that's a violation of the EU charter and the directive will fall due to the ECJ, the same way the data retention directive did.

    "I can easily see a prosecutor setting up a demonstration for a judge involving unlicensed copyrighted material accessed from Europe via a VPN, followed by massive fines."

    At which point, if the platform is american, it asks why there were no takedown requests, gains safe harbor, and the case dies.
    Or if it was a european platform, the platform dies because there is no excuse.

    So the argument still stands; If a european citizen accesses a US-based platform from a US exit node then there is no issue. If the EU citizen uploads material to youtube(US) there is no issue, if the material in question survives takedown processes.

    If the european tries to access youtube from the EU pot odds are he won't be able to upload - or view - anything on it.


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