Copyright

Europe Delays Plan to Destroy the Internet With Terrible Copyright Enforcement Proposal

Lawmakers resist plan that would likely lead to widespread censorship of online media sharing.

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European Union flags
Artjazz / Dreamstime.com

It turns out the European Union will not be destroying the internet with a harsh copyright enforcement system, at least not yet.

Today the European Parliament turned away a set of proposed regulations called the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. These regulations raised alarm bells among free speech and digital activists because they would greatly expand the reach and breadth of copyright laws for the benefit of media and entertainment companies in a way that is likely to result in massive amounts of online censorship.

Two articles within the directive were causing the biggest headaches. Article 11, designed to protect established media outlets in Europe, would have granted them the authority to demand that anybody who wanted to excerpt even small parts of their stories get (and potentially pay for) a license or permission from them. That requirement would have extended even as far as the "previews" that show up on social media sites when people share a link to a news story.

The larger threat came from Article 13. That section, designed for the benefit of the entertainment industry, would require any online outlet where users can share content (everything from YouTube to dating sites) to create an automated system of filters to prevent the posting of copyrighted material. Experts warned that such a system, which would rely on databases, would have no way of telling whether copyrighted material was being used legally under the "fair use" exceptions allowed by various countries.

The end result of both provisions could be a wide regime of online censorship that only the larger online companies would have to resources to successfully navigate. It would encourage scams and threats falsely accusing sites of copyright violations to shut them down or entangle them in court cases. Scholars, tech experts, and free speech advocates have been warning the European Union not to move forward with this plan. As a vote approached this week, Wikipedia shut down access to versions of its site in Spanish, Italian, and Polish as a protest and warning. These proposed rules would be a compliance nightmare for the free online encyclopedia, which relies heavily on fair use of media content and freely shared images.

While the new regulations passed a committee vote in late June, today E.U. lawmakers rejected it in by a vote of 318 to 278. That vote means the proposal will be debated by the full parliament in September and probably will be revised significantly. European media outlets and entertainment industry representatives plan to keep pushing for the regulations, which they say will provide much-needed "leverage" with big tech companies like Google and Facebook. But copyright enforcement mechanisms are often used against the little guy to try to censor criticism or other types of speech that people don't like.

Read more about the awfulness of this E.U. proposal here.

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  1. The EU was afraid what the Space Force would do it.

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            Mythical job, mythical pay.

    2. I, too, am afraid of what the Space Force would do to me!

      (Bleed me dry of yet more wasted tax dollars).

      1. It’s a reverse communion as GAWD drinks upon our blood. Hallowed be it’s name.

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    1. How about a law requiring bots to learn how to translate?

      1. Forget a law, I’ll do that for you. I’ll just need you to go to walmart and get me a $500 green dot debit card in the name of Miriam Abacha.

  3. Or the EU is forcing IT companies to set up IP address filters to deny access to the web based on country of origin – – –

    1. Which would take them out of the market and leave it open to home-grown competitors, which I don’t think they want to do.

  4. established media outlets in Europe, would have granted them the authority to demand that anybody who wanted to excerpt even small parts of their stories get (and potentially pay for) a license or permission from them. That requirement would have extended even as far as the “previews” that show up on social media sites when people share a link to a news story.

    It’s rather amazing how scared shitless the old media is of “new” media, and how dangerous they’re becoming to protect themselves.

    1. They’ll gladly kill free speech if it buys them more time before they go under.
      Or whatever it takes. News tariffs?

      1. They’ll gladly kill free speech if it buys them more time before they go under.

        You mean ‘old media’ or the EU? Yes!

  5. Who wants to lay odds on it coming back even worse?

    Terrible Law Sematary?

    1. As long as Traci Lords isn’t in this one. I’m betting she hasn’t aged well.

  6. Okay, smart guy: If the EU can’t regulate everything its citizens do and say, how will them build their Progressive Utopia? Huh?

  7. “”would have granted them the authority to demand that anybody who wanted to excerpt even small parts of their stories get (and potentially pay for) a license or permission from them”‘

    the National Football League?

  8. I think they should pass it and that, in retaliation, most sites simply refuse to display content to I.P. addresses originating from Europe.

    “I’m sorry, you wanted to read slashfic? You’re in Europe, fuck you.”
    “I’m sorry, you needed Wikipedia to research your term paper? You’re in Europe, fuck you.”
    “I’m sorry, you wanted to look at pictures of underaged girls’ feet? You’re in Europe, fuck you.”

    FUCK Europe. North, South, and in the mouth.

  9. Compliance with idiotic, draconian laws is going to bring western civilization to a halt…assuming that’s not already happening. It probably happened before when the most powerful man in the world was in Rome.

    1. Compliance with idiotic, draconian laws is going to bring western civilization to a halt.

      This. I’ve been saying this for decades, and it’s only gotten worse over time. I have a pretty good imagination, and frankly, I can’t even imagine how much further advanced and wealthy we’d all be if the goddamned government would just get the fuck out of the way.

  10. Moar draconian lawz needed!

  11. When the Europeans get tired of all this E.U. nonsense they keep trying force, we may see a new wave of European immigration.

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