New European Copyright Proposal Blasted As Internet Threat

After the decisive victory for the Internet, Article 11 and Article 13 are back. The copyright proposal is once again being denounced as a threat to the Internet.

It sparked massive protests and major websites shut down. It was universally denounced as a major threat to the Internet as we know it. After a massive worldwide campaign by internet advocates and Internet users, European lawmakers ultimately voted to reject article 11 and article 13. Those laws notoriously would usher in the the infamous link tax and the censorship machine respectively.

Despite the resounding defeat, major corporations vowed to fight on and do everything in their power to make sure link taxes and Internet censorship becomes a reality in Europe back in July. That ominous threat by those behind this signaled that the battle may be won to save the Internet, but the war is far from over.

Yesterday, EDRI reminded everyone that we are now closing in on the next round of this fight. From EDRI:

Last Friday, Rapporteur Axel Voss MEP sent his colleagues a proposal for a “compromise” that he characterised as “balanced”. Mr Voss claims the new text does not contain obligatory filtering and therefore is a real compromise.

It is true that the text no longer contains the wording of “prevent the availability” or “content recognition technologies”. Instead, the ”compromise” states simply that any platform that helps users to share content (“content sharing service providers”) will have full liability for every piece of content hosted at their servers.

If adopted, platforms that host content would have no option other than to implement upload filters, as they would be liable for every single upload from every single user – a risk that no commercial company could afford. Platforms have no choice other than to filter in an unaccountable regime that offers users no real redress mechanisms. This is not a compromise, but a more insidious effort to achieve the same result – mass filtering.

That ominous analysis just before the amendment deadline appears to be the beginning of things to come.

Just today, we are seeing various platforms blast the proposal. YouTube is already denouncing this proposed copyright laws, saying that innovation and online creators could be at risk thanks to these proposals. From Music Business worldwide:

In its current form, the Directive risks “discouraging or even prohibiting platforms from hosting user-generated content” said Kyncl speaking in a blog post.

He continued: “This outcome would not only stifle your creative freedom, it could have severe, negative consequences for the fans, the communities and the revenue you have all worked so hard to create.”

Kyncl cites the role of user-generated content in the success of videos by Drake, Dua Lipa and Alan Walker, explaining: “Creators and artists have built businesses on the back of openness and supported by our sophisticated copyright management tools, including Content ID and the recently launched Copyright Match Tool that manages re-uploads of creators’ content.

“Copyright holders have control over their content: they can use our tools to block or remove their works, or they can keep them on YouTube and earn advertising revenue. In over 90% of cases, they choose to leave the content up.

“Enabling this new form of creativity and engagement with fans can lead to mass global promotion and even more revenue for the artist.

Meanwhile, Wikipedia is also blasting the proposal as a threat to online innovation. This in spite of specific proposals that say that Wikipedia-like sites would be exempt from some of these laws. From BoingBoing:

In a new post, Wikimedia Foundation Chair María Sefidari Huici describes the proposals as a threat to “the vibrant free web” that gave rise to Wikipedia and calls next week’s vote the “last few moments of what could be our last opportunity to define what the internet looks like in the future.”

The Foundation wants the EU to create copyright rules for the 21st century that take account of the “dramatically larger, more complex digital world and to remove cross-border barriers” — not to continue the path of focusing only on “the market relationships between large rights holders and for-profit internet platforms.”

SaveYourInternet, a major website that helped spearhead the global movement to stop the previous laws, is ramping up calls for European citizens to contact their representatives and urge them to reject this latest effort to greatly restrict the Internet. It is evident that they don’t want to leave anything to chance and will make sure that these proposed laws is once again stopped from breaking the Internet.

Strap yourself in, this is going to be one bumpy ride.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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