Jeroen Hellingman’s Techdirt Profile


About Jeroen Hellingman

Jeroen Hellingman’s Comments comment rss

  • Feb 7th, 2019 @ 8:33am


    Talked to one populist MEP about this. His reasoning for voting against was different from both. Much of the favorite music of his followers is actually not made by the large labels, but by smaller bands (using national languages), who also suffer from the current take-down regime on the large platforms; similarly, a lot of the news sources favored by his followers already suffer from restrictions and thus are harder to find in the news groups -- which he (rightly) considered a form of censorship.

  • Feb 7th, 2019 @ 8:18am

    Re: Re: Populist parties who actually keep faith with the people

    The populists in France, unfortunately, support article 13 and 11; the populists in The Netherlands are against it. I didn't check the remainder, but lobbying focus should also go to these MEP's.

  • Jan 18th, 2019 @ 1:00am

    (untitled comment)

    It would make more sense to attack the GDPR on this horrible legal outcome: Google must remove sanctioned docter from search engine -- hereby undermining the safety of medicine. (in Dutch)

  • Jan 18th, 2019 @ 12:49am

    Another instance of companies abusing the GDPR name

    If anything, the GDPR would require the opposite: since there is no legitimation for sharing the information of the return with the original purchaser, it would be illegal to inform him under the GDPR. This is just a misguided tactic of some traders who do not want to take back goods sold.

  • Jan 17th, 2019 @ 4:13am

    A Blessing in Disguise...

    Wasn't the old mantra that the internet sees censorship as a system failure and will try to route around it?

    Article 11 and 13 provide an opportunity to reinvigorate the decentralized nature of the Internet that has been lost with the raise of the internet giants as Google and Facebook, and my message to traditional publishers in this regard will be "be careful what you wish for"

    Article 11 will be relatively easy to work around. Publishing parties that wish to have their snippets displayed with search results simply set up a "snippet server"; the search engine will only return pointers to those snippets, and the end-user's browser will retrieve them, directly from the server under control of the publisher. A few safeguards may be needed to stop rogue publishers from gaming the system, by using cryptographic hashes of the content, but after that, those publisher who want snippets in search results can have them, pulled directly from own their service. Search engines only need to provide the address of the server and the hash, the browser will retrieve the rest, and compose a view indistinguishable from the current search results. Search engines can provide a further service of summarizing articles and uploading snippets to those servers, and even provide completely configured servers as docker images or something similar. Publishers who do not want this can simply not participate and become irrelevant.

    Working around article 13 may take a little more time. Here the idea is that we do not need the giants to build a social network. Already we see a rapidly growing market for NAS devices. Such devices are actually much more than just a NAS. They can also run web services. It is fairly easy to envision running software on these that provide functionality the likes of LinkedIn or Facebook provide today, but then without much of the privacy concerns or advertising overload. I envision within a few years, small NAS devices will emerge with a "Facebook-in-a-box" application configured ready-to-go. Key features will be privacy and ease-of-use. Owners can add friends and control their access, software can pull together "walls" from the servers of all friends they have access to, and friend-of-friend items can be copied (if so configured) to create the same experience without a central server. Legally, owners of such NAS boxes/servers will of course remain fully liable for copyright infringement (as they are today when they post on social networks), but since there is no intermediary (except of course the ISP's, who cannot see the data, as everything will be end-to-end encrypted), intermediary liability is not an issue. Sharing memes, holiday pictures and funny cat movies will remain possible without any filter, and a thing going viral will now not just involve sharing a link, but the physical copying of files between connected people. As NAS with several terabytes can be had for a couple of hundred dollars or euros, and such as NAS boxes have many great features beyond sharing holiday pictures, I give them a great future.

    Of course, such a fully decentralized social network will quickly be found to be perfectly tailored to also share copyrighted materials between friends. Given six degrees of separation, popular stuff will continue to spread fairly rapidly and many authors will be happy with it. but the stream of revenue publishers now get from Facebook and YouTube will dry up.

    So maybe we should thank the EP for this...

  • Jan 15th, 2019 @ 6:14am

    (untitled comment) (as Jeroen)

    Can you please preserve this page as evidence for future legal proceedings. This is a document to help courts establish the intention of the EP with this directive: NO NEW OBLIGATIONS; all the words apparently to the contrary in article 13 and 11 are just meaningless blah blah blah to be ignored.

  • Jan 8th, 2019 @ 1:00am

    (untitled comment) (as Jeroen)

    LV is already infamous for its abuse of shady legal procedures, for example this ugly case: (which was later overturned, after some legal wrangling involving a judge being assigned to handle his own appeal, which of course also is unacceptable.)

    I guess, the attack here is the best defence.

  • Dec 12th, 2018 @ 1:40am

    (untitled comment) (as Jeroen)

    Looking at this incredible mess with utter disgust. Sometimes I think some parties are deliberately steering this towards an article that will be so bad, the European Court of Justice will have scrap it -- in fact that is my last straw of hope at this time, to see them scrap Article 11 and 13 as in violation of multple Human Rights as guarantied by the ECHR -- as they did with equally idiotic compulasory retention policies two years ago.

    One of the problems here is that both articles grossly reduce the value of copyrights held by smaller authors, and utterly distort the playing-field in favour of current publishing cartel. In that respect, they are extremely anti-copyright and anti-creativity.

  • Nov 21st, 2018 @ 7:59am

    We need your presentation at the EP.

    We currently see a widely carried aversion against the internet giants, and the result is that we see significant support for extremely stupid laws justified by the "need" to limit those giants, but in fact harmful for all innovation. It is as if people and law-makers think: does it harm Google or Facebook, then it is okay, damn it the consequences.

    Another factor is the idiotic idea that "more IP" = "more innovation," whereas in practice, there is an optimal level of protection against freeloaders, and any more protection will actually go against innovation, and we are way beyond that level. The rediculous scope of IP laws in Europa, and the horrible national patchwork make it hard to grow. Once you're big enough to pay for a couple of 100 employees to deal with it, you can manage.

    I would love it if you could give that presentation to a group of current MEP's. Should I raise the idea with some Dutch MEP's?

    No matter how stupid the trends are, I think the emergence of those internet molochs is a disturbing trend; they become single points of failure in the internet, and allow the concentration of far too much power in a few hands. However, the way to deal with these is via antitrust law, and by redesigning international tax treaties, such that income generated in one jurisdiction can be taxed in that jurisdiction, irrespective of the locations of head-offices, etc. I love to point at this little article by Steven Pemberton, already 10 years old, but still very relevant:

    In some respect, the disaster-in-making called the new EU copyright directive might promote this, as it will open up a market for NAS-like devices that can provide many of the services Facebook and Youtube currently provide, but in a far more decentralised way. They can interconnect with friends and family using strong encryption, and even use micro SD cards to exchange data (128GB can an awful lot of holiday snaps). The problem is, they are harder to run, and require an up-front investment.

  • Oct 17th, 2018 @ 3:01am

    (untitled comment)

    Interesting approach that will put copyright infringment criteria on its head! Or will it? I don't think so.

    How fast can I have a computer generate sequences of musical notes (an area where copying even a very short sequence can be considered infringing). Lets give it a try and generate several petabytes of tunes.

    Publish the entire generated set.

    Then "validate" the generated note sequences against the actual tune you want to re-use.

    Got a hit: bingo, go ahead: claim independent creation.

    I am afraid a judge will pierce through it easily, as an essential part of the creative effort is in selecting what elements to keep and use (copyright on photographs rely a lot on that aspect), so the infringement will happen because of the validation, which cannot be considered "independent" in any way.

    (BTW, in case discussed in the article, there is very little similarity, so from that point of view, no infringement should be found.)

    But wait, didn't you publish that huge generated set of sequences?

    Now wait until somebody publishes a new tune afterwards that matches with one of the sequences. Sue for infringment. Again, I think that won't fly unless you cannot proof actual infringment, unless you can somehow demonstrate the accussed actually used your huge publication to copy the tune from. (Similarly, Google doesn't have copyrights of photographs taken from any street because of streetview...)

  • Oct 2nd, 2018 @ 6:58am

    Re: Re: The Wild West days are OVER. So too the non-corporate!

    What you propose here is a severe form of taking, that is taking away the right from people to do with what they create as they wish. That is exactly a growing problem in the EU. What you can better agitate against is the growing inequality between authors and publishers, which allow the latter to take more from the former than they should -- but solving this by taking away rights from authors is counterproductive.

  • Oct 2nd, 2018 @ 2:07am

    (untitled comment)

    So, to be save, an ISP simply has to have a repeat infringer policies that says that it will terminate a customer when it has collected at least three final convictions for copyright infringement using the ISP's infrastructure. When a copyright holder starts knocking on the door, just send them away with a "get your convictions first, then our repeat infringer policy will jump in."

  • Sep 26th, 2018 @ 8:51am

    (untitled comment)

    There are several significant problems with the GDPR, one is its serious conflict with freedom of press, and the other is its general vagueness, which means a lot of what it actually means still has to be established by the courts. With regard to the latter, you see a lot of panic with various parties, restricting things where you can fully justify processing data under the GDPR, and on the other hand, parties who totally ignore the GDPR. A number of US sites even completely block whoever they deem coming from the EU: I find myself using Tor far more than before.

    I think the case mentioned in this article shouldn't be attributed to the GDPR. If services would treat data more as a toxic asset (see Bruce Schneier's blog), much less of it would be available to leak. Sites need to get over their hoarding mentality. Then, if sites would take account security more serious, the second part of this problem would be less of an issue. Just keep data on people's devices (or use a cloud storage of their choice for that purpose, making sure access codes always remain at the user's end of the line) will greatly reduce the information Spotify would hold and thus can leak.

  • Sep 19th, 2018 @ 7:49am

    Re: Re:

    Have been reading too many very old books... modern spelling is quagmire. For the rest, consult a dictionary.

  • Sep 19th, 2018 @ 7:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: First amendment

    The first amendment reads:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    It does not say: The Government of France ..., so no violation of the First Amendment.

  • Sep 18th, 2018 @ 7:21am

    (untitled comment)

    The long-term solution to this quackmire is that companies set up legally separate entities (i.e. split). That way, the line of defense would become: yes, we notice this and that company in the US does something you don't like, but that isn't us and we have no control over what that company does, because we are separate, and even if you totally destroy us, that will not bother the US party at all or resolve your issue.

    The case involving Microsoft and data stored in Ireland is different in that the US court order would force Microsoft employees in Ireland to break Irish (EU) laws. Those employees are thus required to disobey any Microsoft order to do so, and Microsoft can rightly claim to be unable to comply. Again, the US court can still punish Microsoft for that, but that will not resolve the issue and will not enable Microsoft to comply.

    With regard to Google: it not against US law to remove certain results from search results, so it could comply to the order without getting in legal trouble.

    It would be nice though if there was a law that would require parties to disclose foreign censorship attempts, and a site with strong US backing where such reports must be published, as to make the foreign censorship attempts moot (and force foreign governments to use blocking at the ISP level; thereby giving up the pretence of supporting an uncensored internet).

  • Sep 14th, 2018 @ 12:38am

    Right to Remember

    Google is actually fighting this because it has significant interests in the EU, and thus is within reach of EU courts.

    If the EU Court of Justice grants itself extra-territorial jurisdiction in this case, Google will probably comply, but that will open up a strong business-case for splitting up companies along national borders, such that companies can serve their own public without undue interference from foreign courts.

    An example: I regularly download public domain books using Google, but in the EU books published after 1868 are blocked. Many of these are PD in the EU as well, but since it is significantly harder to establish death dates instead of publication dates, Google can't be bothered. Even PD books scanned by Google in European libraries are blocked!

    The Internet Archive, which has no European interests does not block those same books, and helpful people have been busy copying books from Google books to The Internet Archive in bulk. Furthermore, when books are not so copied, it also isn't very hard to use Tor or a VPN to get to the data on Google.

    Similarly, since the GDPR, I am encountering more and more sites that maintain a complete block of visitors from the EU. Again, Tor or VPN are normally enough to bypass those restrictions.

    The likely result of this war against the internet is that it teaches people to use those tools to get to information, making heavily encrypted and obfuscated connections the default, until such time countries are willing to disconnect themselves from the internet completely, with all the economic repercussions that will have.

  • Jun 18th, 2018 @ 8:36am

    (untitled comment) (as Jeroen)

    Norway indeed has to swallow much of the EU rules -- without having a say in it -- for access to the single market.

    Case law is not binding in civil law, but it is very important to inform a judge of precedents, and can significantly shape the outcome of cases. If this is indeed an ex-parte decision, I hope it will be reverted when handled on appeal; if not, I hope the public outcry will be such that the Norwegian government will take its responsibility and publish all those cases itself on a government site, where they do belong.

    We should praise Haakon Wium Lie for his contributions to CSS!

  • May 25th, 2018 @ 1:00am

    (untitled comment) (as Jeroen)

    Let's hope the old saying still holds true: "The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly" Let those bad actors try to enforce their claims until they become such a PITA that the law will be changed. The more ridiculous copyright becomes, the quicker bad actors will be tempted to abuse it.

    Preferably new laws will be following the philosophy that since copyright is a trade regulation, nothing that happens within the privacy of the home or within the circle of relatives and friends, including postings on personal websites and social media, is relevant to it.

    We already see some courts in some countries take the position that the copyright interest in private copying using torrent sites, etc., does not balance against the privacy rights of the person involved in such copying, and it would be good to have that encoded in law.

  • Mar 18th, 2018 @ 4:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Web to blame (as Jeroen)

    It has always been a pet theory of me that publishers want such outrageous copyright terms just to do this: avoid competition, so they can keep milking in a world of artificial scarcity. It is the first time I see this crazy idea so brazenly advertised.

    The exact problem Project Gutenberg is trying to resolve is preservation of historical and cultural artifacts: keeping culture alive, and offering a fertile field on which new artists and authors can build. Of course, we won't be teaching electronics from books published in the 50's. That is not the point. Preserving is more than just keeping a few copies in an archive never to be touched. Preserving means that it is accessible, can be used and reused by whoever wants it, so it can stay culturally relevant (if that is what the current or future public wants).

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