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Destroying European livelihoods...

The text of Article 13 and the EU Copyright Directive has just been finalised in its worst form yet


Link Here 16th February 2019
Full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe

In the evening of February 13, negotiators from the European Parliament and the Council concluded the trilogue negotiations with a final text for the new EU Copyright Directive.

For two years we've debated different drafts and versions of the controversial Articles 11 and 13. Now, there is no more ambiguity: This law will fundamentally change the internet as we know it -- if it is adopted in the upcoming final vote. But we can still prevent that!

Please click the links to take a look at the final wording of Article 11 and Article 13 . Here's my summary:

Article 13: Upload filters

Parliament negotiator Axel Voss accepted the deal between France and Germany I laid out in a recent blog post :

  • Commercial sites and apps where users can post material must make "best efforts" to preemptively buy licences for anything that users may possibly upload -- that is: all copyrighted content in the world. An impossible feat.

  • In addition, all but very few sites (those both tiny and very new) will need to do everything in their power to prevent anything from ever going online that may be an unauthorised copy of a work that a rightsholder has registered with the platform. They will have no choice but to deploy upload filters , which are by their nature both expensive and error-prone .

  • Should a court ever find their licensing or filtering efforts not fierce enough, sites are directly liable for infringements as if they had committed them themselves. This massive threat will lead platforms to over-comply with these rules to stay on the safe side, further worsening the impact on our freedom of speech.

Article 11: The "link tax"

The final version of this extra copyright for news sites closely resembles the version that already failed in Germany -- only this time not limited to search engines and news aggregators, meaning it will do damage to a lot more websites.

  • Reproducing more than "single words or very short extracts" of news stories will require a licence. That will likely cover many of the snippets commonly shown alongside links today in order to give you an idea of what they lead to. We will have to wait and see how courts interpret what "very short" means in practice -- until then, hyperlinking (with snippets) will be mired in legal uncertainty.

  • No exceptions are made even for services run by individuals, small companies or non-profits, which probably includes any monetised blogs or websites.

Other provisions

The project to allow Europeans to conduct Text and Data Mining , crucial for modern research and the development of artificial intelligence, has been obstructed with too many caveats and requirements. Rightholders can opt out of having their works datamined by anyone except research organisations.

Authors' rights: The Parliament's proposal that authors should have a right to proportionate remuneration has been severely watered down: Total buy-out contracts will continue to be the norm.

Minor improvements for access to cultural heritage : Libraries will be able to publish out-of-commerce works online and museums will no longer be able to claim copyright on photographs of centuries-old paintings.

 

How we got here Former digital Commissioner Oettinger proposed the law

The history of this law is a shameful one. From the very beginning , the purpose of Articles 11 and 13 was never to solve clearly-defined issues in copyright law with well-assessed measures, but to serve powerful special interests , with hardly any concern for the collateral damage caused.

In the relentless pursuit of this goal , concerns by independent academics , fundamental rights defenders , independent publishers , startups and many others were ignored. At times, confusion was spread about crystal-clear contrary evidence . Parliament negotiator Axel Voss defamed the unprecedented protest of millions of internet users as " built on lies ".

In his conservative EPP group, the driving force behind this law, dissenters were marginalised . The work of their initially-appointed representative was thrown out after the conclusions she reached were too sensible. Mr Voss then voted so blindly in favour of any and all restrictive measures that he was caught by surprise by some of the nonsense he had gotten approved. His party, the German CDU/CSU, nonchalantly violated the coalition agreement they had signed (which rejected upload filters), paying no mind to their own minister for digital issues .

It took efforts equally herculean and sisyphean across party lines to prevent the text from turning out even worse than it now is.

In the end, a closed-door horse trade between France and Germany was enough to outweigh the objections... so far.

What's important to note, though: It's not "the EU" in general that is to blame -- but those who put special interests above fundamental rights who currently hold considerable power. You can change that at the polls! The anti-EU far right is trying to seize this opportunity to promote their narrow-minded nationalist agenda -- when in fact without the persistent support of the far-right ENF Group (dominated by the Rassemblement/Front National ) the law could have been stopped in the crucial Legal Affairs Committee and in general would not be as extreme as it is today.

 

We can still stop this law

Our best chance to stop the EU copyright law: The upcoming Parliament vote.

The Parliament and Council negotiators who agreed on the final text now return to their institutions seeking approval of the result. If it passes both votes unchanged, it becomes EU law , which member states are forced to implement into national law.

In both bodies, there is resistance.

The Parliament's process starts with the approval by the Legal Affairs Committee -- which is likely to be given on Monday, February 18.

Next, at a date to be announced, the EU member state governments will vote in the Council. The law can be stopped here either by 13 member state governments or by any number of governments who together represent 35% of the EU population ( calculator ). Last time, 8 countries representing 27% of the population were opposed. Either a large country like Germany or several small ones would need to change their minds: This is the less likely way to stop it.

Our best bet: The final vote in the plenary of the European Parliament , when all 751 MEPs, directly elected to represent the people, have a vote. This will take place either between March 25 and 28, on April 4 or between April 15 and 18. We've already demonstrated last July that a majority against a bad copyright proposal is achievable .

The plenary can vote to kill the bill -- or to make changes , like removing Articles 11 and 13. In the latter case, it's up to the Council to decide whether to accept these changes (the Directive then becomes law without these articles) or to shelve the project until after the EU elections in May, which will reshuffle all the cards.

This is where you come in

The final Parliament vote will happen mere weeks before the EU elections . Most MEPs -- and certainly all parties -- are going to be seeking reelection. Articles 11 and 13 will be defeated if enough voters make these issues relevant to the campaigns. ( Here's how to vote in the EU elections -- change the language to one of your country's official ones for specific information)

It is up to you to make clear to your representatives: Their vote on whether to break the internet with Articles 11 and 13 will make or break your vote in the EU elections. Be insistent -- but please always stay polite.

Together, we can still stop this law.

 

 

Article 13 is Not Just Criminally Irresponsible...

It's Irresponsibly Criminal. By Glyn Moody


Link Here 12th February 2019
Full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe

 

 

 

What have Donald Trump and Donald Tusk got in common?...

Apart from the name Donald, and securing a place in hell, both put American corporate interests above European livelihoods. The Council of the EU approves copyright law that will suffocate European businesses and livelihoods


Link Here 8th February 2019
Full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe

The Council of the EU headed by Donald Tusk has just adopted as the common position, the deal struck by France and Germany on the controversial EU Copyright Directive that was leaked earlier this week .

While Italy, Poland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Luxembourg maintained their opposition to the text and were newly joined by Malta and Slovakia, Germany's support of the "compromise" secretly negotiated with France over the last weeks has broken the previous deadlock .

This new Council position is actually more extreme than previous versions, requiring all platforms older than 3 years to automatically censor all their users' uploads, and putting unreasonable burdens even on the newest companies.

The German Conservative--Social Democrat government is now in blatant violation of its own coalition agreement , which rejects upload filters against copyright infringement as disproportionate. This breach of coalition promises will not go down well with many young voters just ahead of the European elections in May. Meanwhile, prominent members of both German government parties have joined the protests against upload filters.

The deal in Council paves the way for a final round of negotiations with the Parliament over the course of next week, before the entire European Parliament and the Council vote on the final agreement. It is now up to you to contact your MEPs, call their offices in their constituencies and visit as many of their election campaign events as you can! Ask them to reject a copyright deal that will violate your rights to share legal creations like parodies and reviews online, and includes measures like the link tax that will limit your access to the news and drive small online newspapers out of business.

Right before the European elections, your voices cannot be ignored! Join the over 4.6 million signatories to the largest European petition ever and tell your representatives: If you break the Internet and accept Article 13, we won't reelect you!

 

 

Commented: Censorship machines roll on to lay waste European business...

Article 13 is back on -- and it got worse, not better


Link Here 6th February 2019
Full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe

Contrary to some reports A rticle 13 was not shelved solely because EU governments listened to the unprecedented public opposition and understood that upload filters are costly, error-prone and threaten fundamental rights.

Without doubt, the consistent public opposition contributed to 11 member state governments voting against the mandate, instead of just 6 last year, but ultimately the reform hinges on agreement between France and Germany , who due to their size can make or break blocking minorities. The deadlock is the direct result of their disagreement, which was not about whether to have upload filters at all; they just couldn't  agree on exactly who should be forced to install those faulty filters :

The deadlock hinged on a disagreement between France and Germany

  • France's position: Article 13 is great and must apply to all platforms, regardless of size . They must demonstrate that they have done all they possibly could to prevent uploads of copyrighted material. In the case of small businesses, that may or may not mean using upload filters -- ultimately, a court would have to make that call . (This was previously the majority position among EU governments , supported by France, before Italy's newly elected government retracted their support for Article 13 altogether.)

  • Germany's position: Article 13 is great, but it should not apply to everyone. Companies with a turnover below ?20 million per year should be excluded outright, so as not to harm European internet startups and SMEs. (This was closer to the European Parliament's current position , which calls for the exclusion of companies with a turnover below ?10 million and fewer than 50 employees.)

What brought France and Germany together:

Making Article 13 even worse In the Franco-German deal , which leaked today, Article 13 does apply to all for-profit platforms. Upload filters must be installed by everyone except those services which fit all three of the following extremely narrow criteria:

  • Available to the public for less than 3 years

  • Annual turnover below ? 10 million

  • Fewer than 5 million unique monthly users

Countless apps and sites that do not meet all these criteria would need to install upload filters, burdening their users and operators, even when copyright infringement is not at all currently a problem for them. Some examples:

  • Discussion boards on for-profit sites, such as the Ars Technica or Heise.de forums (older than 3 years)

  • Patreon , a platform with the sole purpose of helping authors get paid (fails to meet any of the three criteria)

  • Niche social networks like GetReeled , a platform for anglers (well below 5 million users, but older than 3 years)

  • Small European competitors to larger US brands like wykop, a Polish news sharing platform similar to reddit (well below ? 10 million turnover, bur may be above 5 million users depending on the calculation method)

On top of that, even the smallest and newest platforms, which do meet all three criteria , must still demonstrate they have undertaken " best efforts " to obtain licenses from rightholders such as record labels, book publishers and stock photo databases for anything their users might possibly upload -- an impossible task . In practice, all sites and apps where users may upload material will likely be forced to accept any license a rightholder offers them , no matter how bad the terms, and no matter whether the y actually want their copyrighted material to be available on the platform or not , to avoid the massive legal risk of coming in conflict with Article 13. In summary: France's and Germany's compromise on Article 13 still calls for nearly everything we post or share online to require prior permission by "censorship machines" , algorithms that are fundamentally unable to distinguish between copyright infringement and legal works such as parody and critique. It would change the web from a place where we can all freely express ourselves into one where big corporate rightholders are the gatekeepers of what can and can't be published. It would allow these rightholders to bully any for-profit site or app that includes an upload function. European innovation on the web would be discouraged by the new costs and legal risks for startups -- even if they only apply when platforms become successful, or turn 3 years old. Foreign sites and apps would be incentivised to just geoblock all EU users to be on the safe side.

Now everything hinges on the European Parliament

With this road block out of the way, the trilogue negotiations to finish the new EU copyright law are back on. With no time to lose, there will be massive pressure to reach an overall agreement within the next few days and pass the law in March or April. The most likely next steps will be a rubber-stamping of the new Council position cooked up by Germany and France on Friday, 8 February, and a final trilogue on Monday, 11 February.
MEPs, most of whom are fighting for re-election, will get one final say. Last September, a narrow majority for Article 13 could only be found in the Parliament after a small business exception was included that was much stronger than the foul deal France and Germany are now proposing -- but I don't have high hopes that Parliament negotiator Axel Voss will insist on this point. Whether MEPs will reject this harmful version of Article 13 (like they initially did last July) or bow to the pressure will depend on whether all of us make clear to them: If you break the internet and enact Article 13, we won't re-elect you.

Update: Now made even worse

6th February 2019. See  article from eff.org by Cory Doctorow

As the German Government Abandons Small Businesses, the Worst Parts of the EU Copyright Directive Come Roaring Back, Made Even Worse

 

 

Copyrighting hope...

The EU's disgraceful law enabling censorship machines and link tax may be running out of time


Link Here 30th January 2019
Full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe

After the last-minute collapse of negotiations over the new EU Copyright Directive , things have only gone from bad to worse for the beleaguered (but deadly and far-reaching) internet regulation.

Under the proposal, online platforms would have to spend hundreds of millions of euros on algorithmic copyright filters that would compare everything users tried to post with a database of supposedly copyrighted works, which anyone could add anything to, and block any suspected matches. This would snuff out all the small EU competitors to America's Big Tech giants, and put all Europeans' communications under threat of arbitrary censorship by balky, unaccountable, easily abused algorithms.

The proposal also lets newspapers decide who can link to their sites, and charge for the right to do so, in order to transfer some trifling sums from Big Tech to giant news conglomerates, while crushing smaller tech companies and marginalising smaller news providers.

With EU elections looming, every day that passes without resumed negotiations puts the Directive further and further away from any hope of being voted on in this Parliament (and the next Parliament is likely to have a very different composition, making things even more uncertain). Already, it would take heroic measures to take any finalised agreement into legislation: just the deadlines for translation, expert review, etc, make it a near impossibility. Within a couple of weeks, there will be no conceivable way to get the Directive voted on before the elections.

That's why it's so important that opposition is continuing to mount for the Directive, and it certainly is.

Last week, the German Minister of Justice agreed to receive a petition signed by more than 4.5 million Europeans opposing the Directive, the largest petition in European history, and a close second to the largest-ever internet petition.

This week, the Association of European Research Libraries came out against the Directive, saying that the "premises both Articles are built on are fundamentally wrong" and calling on negotiators to "delete Articles 11 and 13 from the proposal."

Update: 89 organisations call for the scrpping of the link tax and censorship machines

See open letter from edri.org

Your Excellency Deputy Ambassador,
Dear European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip
Dear MEPs Voss, Adinolfi, Boutonnet, Cavada, Dzhambazki, Geringer de Oedenberg, Joulaud, Mastálka, Reda, Stihler,

We are writing you on behalf of business organisations, civil society organisations, creators, academics, universities, public libraries, research organisations and libraries, startups, software developers, EU online platforms, and Internet Service Providers.

Taking note of the failure of the Council to find a majority for a revised negotiation mandate on Friday 18 January, we want to reiterate our position that the manifest flaws in Articles 11 and 13 of the proposal for a Copyright Directive in the Digital Single Market constitute insurmountable stumbling blocks to finding a balanced compromise on the future of Copyright in the European Union. Despite more than two years of negotiations, it has not been possible for EU policy makers to take the serious concerns of industry, civil society, academics, and international observers such as the UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression into account, as the premises both Articles are built on are fundamentally wrong.

In light of the deadlock of the negotiations on Articles 11 and 13, as well as taking into consideration the cautious stance of large parts of the creative industries, we ask you to delete Articles 11 and 13 from the proposal. This would allow for a swift continuation of the negotiations, while the issues that were originally intended to be addressed by Articles 11 and 13 could be tackled in more appropriate legal frameworks than this Copyright Directive.

We hope that you will take our suggestion on board when finalising the negotiations and put forward a balanced copyright review that benefits from wide stakeholder support in the European Union.

Yours sincerely,

Europe 1. European Digital Rights (EDRi) 2. Allied for Startups 3. Civil Liberties Union for Europe (Liberties) 4. Copyright for Creativity (C4C) 5. Create.Refresh 6. European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA) 7. European Internet Services Providers Association (EuroISPA) 8. European Network for Copyright in Support of Education and Science (ENCES) 9. European University Association (EUA) 10. Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche -- Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER) 11. Open State Foundation 12. Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition Europe (SPARC Europe) Austria 13. epicenter.works -- for digital rights 14. Digital Society 15. Initiative für Netzfreiheit (IfNf) 16. Internet Service Providers Austria (ISPA Austria) Belgium 17. FusionDirectory 18. Opensides 19. SA&S -- Samenwerkingsverband Auteursrecht & Samenleving (Partnership Copyright & Society) Bulgaria 20. BlueLink Foundation Czech Republic 21. Iuridicum Remedium (IuRe) 22. Seznam.cz Denmark 23. IT-Political Association of Denmark Estonia 24. Wikimedia Eesti Finland 25. Electronic Frontier Finland (EFFI) 26. Finnish Federation for Communications and Teleinformatics (FiCom) France 27. April 28. Conseil National du Logiciel Libre (CNLL) 29. NeoDiffusion 30. Renaissance Numérique 31. Uni-Deal 32. Wikimédia France Germany 33. Bundesverband Deutsche Startups 34. Chaos Computer Club 35. Deutscher Bibliotheksverband e.V. (dbv) 36. Digitalcourage e.V. 37. Digitale Gesellschaft e.V. 38. eco -- Association of the Internet Industry 39. Factory Berlin 40. Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft (FITUG e.V.) 41. Initiative gegen ein Leistungsschutzrecht (IGEL) 42. Silicon Allee 43. Wikimedia Deutschland Greece 44. Open Technologies Alliance -- GFOSS (Greek Free Open Source Software Society) 45. Homo Digitalis Italy 46. Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights 47. Roma Startup 48. Associazione per la Libertà nella Comunicazione Elettronica Interattiva (ALCEI) Luxembourg 49. Frënn vun der Ënn Netherlands 50. Bits of Freedom (BoF) 51. Dutch Association of Public Libraries (VOB) 52. Vrijschrift Poland 53. Centrum Cyfrowe Foundation 54. ePanstwo Foundation 55. Startup Poland 56. ZIPSEE Digital Poland Portugal 57. Associação D3 -- Defesa dos Direitos Digitais (D³) 58. Associação Nacional para o Software Livre (ANSOL) Romania 59. APADOR-CH (Romanian Helsinki Committee) 60. Association for Technology and Internet (ApTI) Slovakia 61. Sapie.sk Slovenia 62. Digitas Institute 63. Forum za digitalno druzbo (Digital Society Forum) Spain 64. Asociación de Internautas 65. Grupo 17 de Marzo 66. MaadiX 67. Rights International Spain 68. Xnet Sweden 69. Dataskydd.net 70. Föreningen för Digitala Fri- och Rättigheter (DFRI) United Kingdom 71. Coalition for a Digital Economy (COADEC) 72. Open Rights Group (ORG) International 73. Alternatif Bilisim Dernegi (Alternatif Bilisim) (Turkey) 74. ARTICLE 19 75. Association for Progressive Communications (APC) 76. Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) 77. COMMUNIA Association 78. Derechos Digitales (Latin America) 79. Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) 80. Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL) 81. Index on Censorship 82. International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) 83. Israel Growth Forum (Israel) 84. My Private Network 85. Open Knowledge International 86. OpenMedia 87. SHARE Foundation (Serbia) 88. SumOfUs 89. World Wide Web Foundation

 

 

Offsite Article: The fight over Europe's internet just got even messier...


Link Here 23rd January 2019
Full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe
A good write up noting that negotiations over the controversial Copyright Directive have hit a deadlock. By James Vincent

See article from theverge.com

 

 

Hollywood held at bay...

MEP Julia Reda reports that several nations are fighting for the livelihoods of Europeans by resisting the EU's disgraceful link tax and censorship machines law


Link Here 19th January 2019
Full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe

The European Council has firmly rejected the negotiating mandate that was supposed to set out Member States' position ahead of what was supposed to be the final negotiation round with the European Parliament. National governments failed to agree on a common position on the two most controversial articles, Article 11, also known as the Link Tax, and Article 13, which would require online platforms to use upload filters in an attempt to prevent copyright infringement before it happens.

A total of 11 countries voted against the compromise text proposed by the Romanian Council presidency earlier this week: Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Finland and Slovenia, who already opposed a previous version of the directive, as well as Italy, Poland, Sweden, Croatia, Luxembourg and Portugal. With the exception of Portugal and Croatia, all of these governments are known for thinking that either Article 11 or Article 13, respectively, are insufficiently protective of users' rights. At the same time, some rightsholder groups who are supposed to benefit from the Directive are also turning their backs on Article 13.

This surprising turn of events does not mean the end of Link Tax or censorship machines, but it does make an adoption of the copyright directive before the European elections in May less likely. The Romanian Council presidency will have the chance to come up with a new text to try to find a qualified majority, but with opposition mounting on both sides of the debate, this is going to be a difficult task indeed.

The outcome of today's Council vote also shows that public attention to the copyright reform is having an effect. Keeping up the pressure in the coming weeks will be more important than ever to make sure that the most dangerous elements of the new copyright proposal will be rejected.

 

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