A plan to update copyright requirements – which has been called “a grave danger” to the internet and a “gift” for “every petty troll” out there – is returning to debate in the European Parliament.
And the U.S..-based Electronic Frontier Foundation is warning it could be a catastrophe worldwide.
WND reported in July that the strategy had been considered but delayed – until now.
The legislation proposes a “link tax,” requiring companies such as Facebook or Google to pay a news source for any stories they link.
It also would require a filter on any content uploaded to the web that would block any copyrighted content.
In July, the Verge reported the European Parliament vote was 318-278 to return the measure to the drawing board.
But it forecast, at that time, a September follow up.
“The draft law, known as the Copyright Directive, was intended as a simple update to copyright for the internet age. But it attracted substantial criticism for the inclusion of two key provisions: Articles 11 and 13. The first, Article 11, was a ‘link tax’ that would force online platforms like Facebook and Google to pay news organizations before linking to their stories; while the second, Article 13, proposed an ‘upload filter’ that would have required all content uploaded online to be checked for copyright infringement,” the report said.
Explained EFF, “These extreme, unworkable proposals represent a grave danger to the internet. The link tax means that only the largest, best-funded companies will be able to offer a public space where the news can be discussed and debated. The censorship machines are a gift to every petty censor and troll (just claim copyright in an embarrassing recording and watch as it disappears from the Internet!), and will add hundreds of millions to the cost of operating an online platform, guaranteeing that Big Tech’s biggest winners will never face serious competition and will rule the internet forever.”
The organization blackly warned, “It can only be called an extinction-level event for the internet as we know it.”
The changes are proposed to the 17-year-old copyright regulations for the 28 member states of the EU.
No controversy developed until “a German MEP called Axl Voss quietly changed the text of the directive to reintroduce two long-discarded proposals — ‘Article 11’ and ‘Article 13,'” which had been dismissed by the EU’s own experts, EFF reported.
Under 11, “online services are banned from allowing links to news services on their platforms unless they get a license to make links to the news.”
Under 13, “Anyone who allows users to communicate in public by posting audio, video, stills, code, or anything that might be copyrighted — must send those posts to a copyright enforcement algorithm. The algorithm will compare it to all the known copyrighted works (anyone can add anything to the algorithm’s database) and censor it if it seems to be a match,” EFF reported.
It should be alarming for all internet users, because, “the internet’s current winners — Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Amazon — are overwhelmingly American, and they embody the American regulatory indifference to surveillance and privacy breaches.”
“But the Internet is global, and that means that different regions have the power to export their values to the rest of the world. The EU has been a steady source of pro-privacy, pro-competition, public-spirited internet rules and regulations, and European companies have a deserved reputation for being less prone to practicing ‘surveillance capitalism’ and for being more thoughtful about the human impact of their services.
But EFF said the new rules would require billions in expenditures and only the biggest companies could pay.
“Europe’s much smaller internet companies need not apply,” it said.
Which would leave with “America’s tech giants the right to permanently rule the internet.”
Similar legislation already has failed in Spain and Germany, and Raegan MacDonald, EU principal at Mozilla, said the EU measure is poorly conceived.
“I think there’ll probably be a lot of negative implications that we haven’t even thought of right now because the system is so confusing and so ill thought out. There’s no upside to it. I think we’ll see a lot of damaging effects there,” she said in the Next Web article.