from the unfairly-taxing-a-single-Zelda-character dept.
Julia Reda, Member of the European Parliament representing Germany, writes about a EU study which finds that even publishers oppose the proposed "link tax" which is currently up for consideration by legislators. Interestingly, the report also finds that many journalists are afraid to cover the issue. Several publications declined to comment giving various reasons, including differences of view between the online editions and their parent publications. In other words, the subject is being silenced.
The report, a bit misleadingly entitled "Strengthening the Position of Press Publishers and Authors and Performers in the Copyright Directive" [warning for PDF], was commissioned by the European Parliament's Policy Department for Citizens' Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the JURI committee. Specifically it reviews Article 11 and Articles 14-16 of the proposed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. Julia Reda also notes that many of the MEPs are not in a position to find out about the report prior the vote. That puts them in a situation of making a less informed decision than is desirable.
University of Ottawa law professor, Michael Geist, writes on the copyright front that Canadian Heritage Minister, Steven Guilbeault, said the other day that it is immoral and unacceptable for web sites to link to other web sites without paying for each link.
Facebook has said that it will block all news sharing on its platform in Australia if the government proceeds with a mandated payment system, noting the limited value of the links and arguing that its referrals that are worth hundreds of millions to the news organizations. If Canada were to pursue the same strategy, Canadian news sites would also likely be blocked and a trade complaint under the USMCA would be a virtual certainty.
Yet despite the significant risks and survey data that this could lead to a less informed public, Guilbeault is aligning with Rupert Murdoch, the chief advocate for these payments in Australia. He characterizes non-payment as “immoral and unacceptable”, claiming that Facebook makes hundreds of millions of dollars from Canadian media content without fair compensation. This points to a showdown like the one taking place in Australia, even though Canada has announced significant support for the sector that Guilbeault has thus far largely failed to deliver.
He plans for new legistation sometime soon and is tangled with the use of the giants to spread disinformation and strife. Trouble has been brewing for some while as the CRTC tries to find ways for streaming companies to fund Canadian content. Guilbeault is expected to try to add new powers to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) to enable a "link tax" on the Canadian part of the web. Perhaps that is ignoring, or in ignorance of, RFC 1945, the Hypertext Transfer Protocol -- HTTP/1.0.
Andres Guadamuz has written a blog post analyzing why last Thursday's vote by the JURI Committee to reject fast-tracking the proposal concerning "harmonization" of copyright in the EU went as it did. The rejection of fast-tracking means that the issue will still come up for a general vote in parliament in September but the interesting part is that for the first time in Europe a wide coalition has managed to defeat powerful media lobbies, at least for now. He goes into how this was possible and what needs to happen in September.
The main result of this change from a political standpoint is that now we have two lobbying sides in the debate, which makes all the difference when it comes to this type of legislation. In the past, policymakers could ignore experts and digital rights advocates because they never had the potential to reach them, letters and articles by academics were not taken into account, or given lip service during some obscure committee discussion just to be hidden away. Tech giants such as Google have provided lobbying access in Brussels, which has at least levelled the playing field when it comes to presenting evidence to legislators.
Earlier on SN:
The EU's Dodgy Article 13 Copyright Directive has Been Rejected (2018)
EU Committee Approves Controversial Copyright Directive (2018)
Censorship Machines Are Coming: It’s Time for the Free Software Community to Use its Political Clout (2018)
Mulled EU Copyright Shakeup Will Turn Us Into Robo-Censors (2018)
EU Study Finds Even Publishers Oppose the "Link Tax" (2017)
Julia Reda, Member of the European Parliament representing Germany, writes about a proposed EU law which would require sites to monitor and censor posts and any other uploaded material. Leaked material shows that at least three governments are actively working to make this happen.
The governments of France, Spain and Portugal want to double down on a law proposed by the European Commission that would force all kinds of internet platforms to install a "censorship machine" to surveil all uploads and try to prevent copyright infringement. They want to add to the Commission proposal that platforms need to automatically remove media that has once been classified as infringing, regardless of the context in which it is uploaded ("staydown").
By law, every video clip of your cat that you share with an app would need to pass through filters controlled by media companies. Essentially, they would have a veto right to any upload to the internet. These filters would be unable to safeguard your rights to quote, to make parodies, and to use existing works in any other way allowed under copyright exceptions.
The examples most talked about are videos, but even comments and source code would be affected. As currently written, the proposed law would effectively ban a diverse range of sites, including SN or even Githhub. The relevancy for those outside the EU is that if the proposal goes through as is, then calls for "harmonization" would be used to spread the rules to other regions of the world.
EU Study Finds Even Publishers Oppose the "Link Tax"
Hidden 2015 European Commission Report on Copyright Infringement
EU Council Presidency Questions Extra Copyright, but Endorses Censorship
Pirate Party MEP Says That Current EU Piracy Filtering Proposals Are Being Sabotaged
Reda Report Adopted: A Turning Point in the EU Copyright Debate
Julia Reda, the Only Pirate in the European Parliament, Weighs in on Copyright