Remember SOPA? It's back - in Euro form

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Remember SOPA? It's back - in Euro form

Post by Pocket (?) » Thu Apr 12, 2018 5:28 pm

There's a proposal in the EU Commission at the moment for a sweeping overhaul of how copyrights are enforced online, and it's all bad news. Under this proposal, every website that allows users to post content—presumably from YouTube and Twitter down to forums and comment sections on news sites—would be required to have their own ContentID-like database of all copyrighted material ever published. It would also establish a "Link Tax", which is exactly what it sounds like. If you so much as link to, say, a news article or presumably anything else (the article is, unfortunately, very unclear on this point), you have to pay a fee to the creator. Not for using their content, just for showing it to people even though it results in free hits for them.

I knew the EU was clueless about how the Internet works after that cookie warning mandate, but this just comes off as openly hostile to its very existence. Or at least its existence as a complicated thing that can't be as tightly controlled as state media.

Source: The EU's latest copyright proposal is so bad, it even outlaws Creative Commons licenses, BoingBoing.net

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Re: Remember SOPA? It's back - in Euro form

Post by West Filly (?) » Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:21 pm

I say this as someone who comes from a country who were far too late in the following regard:

If you are a citizen of an EU nation, please engage with EU politicians on matters that impact on you. You have members of European parliament to represent you in this. If this starts to become more than a proposal, then let's get a good old fashioned "spam your representative" going. Britain's mistakes are an example to everyone that we ought to become engaged in European politics rather than just seeing it as a source of obstructive regulations. If a mass movement against these proposals could form and stop these from coming forward, it'd be a great victory. Just think about who that victory would be for, and what it would represent: The people of Europe having done something together in the face of right wing separatism.
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Re: Remember SOPA? It's back - in Euro form

Post by Fizzbuzz (?) » Thu Apr 12, 2018 7:53 pm

Is the European Parliament being bought and sold by mega-corps and billionaires like Congress is, or do they just have no idea whatsoever on how things work online?
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Re: Remember SOPA? It's back - in Euro form

Post by West Filly (?) » Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:11 pm

The EU council is very much in the hands of corporations, but given that the EU is primarily about creating a shared trade agreement, there's actually good reason for there to be a level of business involvement in its decisions.

As for the Parliament, the issue isn't so much the presence of lobbying groups as it is the lack of people in Europe actually voting on MEPs or raising issues with them. The average turnout of an EU nation in the last parliamentary election is 42%, and I wonder why they don't have a statistic that is the sum of all voters as a percentage of the sum of all who are eligible to vote. That 42% is the mean of all the turnouts of all nations and isn't corrected for their voting populations.

Talking from experience of the conversations I have with the people around me, no one seems to have a sense of what the EU does or why it's important. Your average person isn't going to know who the Party of European Socialists are, or what its ties to the Labour party are, and what they promise to do in Europe. All that the average Joe knows is the occasional story about how some EU law means we have to weigh fruit in kilograms instead of pounds. There's a feeling that the EU just does what it does regardless of the people, there's no sense of a democracy even though there's a vote. It's not because corporations hold the reins, it's because the populace aren't on the wagon.
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Re: Remember SOPA? It's back - in Euro form

Post by Pocket (?) » Tue Jun 12, 2018 2:01 pm


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Re: Remember SOPA? It's back - in Euro form

Post by West Filly (?) » Tue Jun 12, 2018 4:28 pm

Thanks for the update. I'll draft my own letter given that my MEPs are UKIP and we're in the middle of Brexit. I think my letter needs to come from a place of "In the likely scenario that we see a soft Brexit, We can't let Europe take more freedoms away from us!" Rather than any reasonable left leaning argument such as presented in the letter above.
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Re: Remember SOPA? It's back - in Euro form

Post by Pocket (?) » Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:58 am

Welp... against all reason, this thing passed. There's one last vote in January, but that's mostly a formality.

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Re: Remember SOPA? It's back - in Euro form

Post by Perrydotto (?) » Thu Sep 13, 2018 6:53 am

I had contacted my reps and all that jazz about it. I'll keep doing that, really not sure how things will move forward with this though.
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Re: Remember SOPA? It's back - in Euro form

Post by West Filly (?) » Thu Sep 13, 2018 7:06 am

I was contacting my EU reps about this, but now I'm going to hit up my MP in the hopes of using Brexit as an excuse not to participate in this.
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Re: Remember SOPA? It's back - in Euro form

Post by Pocket (?) » Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:59 am

It was brought up on another forum just how devastating the "link tax" could be. Actually just posting a link to a news article wouldn't be subject to the tax, but a site copypasting any amount of text from the original article, even with attribution, would be. We have a big enough problem with misinformation spreading without forcing every single person relaying information to try to paraphrase.

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Re: Remember SOPA? It's back - in Euro form

Post by Pocket (?) » Wed Feb 06, 2019 4:05 pm

This deal just keeps getting worse!
The "compromise" that Merkel has agreed to is this: platforms don't have to add the filters until they have been in business for three years, or until they make €10m in a single year. That means that every single existing online forum that has been in operation for three years or more must immediately buy filters, even if it's a small online community run by volunteers, or a commercial site with a tiny niche -- like this little, longstanding community for people who like to fish. Even Patreon -- which exists solely to get artists paid! -- would have to buy filters or pull out of Europe.

But it gets even worse: under the terms of this deal, once a platform makes €5,000,000 in a year, it will be obligated to implement "notice and staydown" -- that is, copyright filters by another name.

And it gets even worse: the new deal requires that every site, no matter how small, noncommercial, or public spirited, must demonstrate that it has taken 'best efforts' to license anything their users might conceivably upload, which means that any time a rightsholder offers you a license for content your users might use, you are obliged to buy it from them, at whatever price they name.
What they're demanding is literally insane, and as far as I can tell, also literally impossible. If this passes, here's what I expect will happen:
  • A handful of huge websites—Facebook, Twitter, maybe a few I'm not even aware exist because they mainly do business outside of the US—will expend the necessary money to comply with this, and will apply it on a worldwide basis because it's easier that way. So say goodbye to posting screenshots or clips, but for everything else, the sites will continue to operate more or less as usual. Depending on how incompetent they are, there might be a lot of false positives like what's happening right now with Tumblr's adult content filter and people will just get fed up and stop posting pictures entirely.
  • All EU-hosted sites that rely on user-created content will move their operations to the US or maybe Russia, and continue operating more or less as usual.
  • Everyone else will just sit back and wait to see what happens, since they're not under the EU's jurisdiction and thus the worst that can happen is getting blocked. Some will probably use IP detection to pop up messages telling EU users "This site will probably be blocked soon, so get a VPN" possibly with a specific sponsored recommendation.
  • Sales of VPNs will skyrocket, possibly prompting further legislation attempting to ban them too.
  • In practice, enforcement is likely to not be automatic, because that would require setting up some kind of central body to monitor and police the entire internet. Rather, it'll probably work a bit like the DMCA, where the burden falls on rightsholders to find and report violators—except instead of just taking down the violating content in question, the whole site will get added to the EU-wide blocklist. The vast majority of sites, including nobodies like that fishing site, will remain active and life will continue more or less as usual. Forum engines will finally get their shit together and adopt a way to host images locally since Imgur is going to be one of the first things to go.
  • Because the terms of this law continue to be insane and near-impossible, it's unlikely that any new sites will spring up within the EU to meet demand, unlike in China where they have their own equivalents to sites blocked by the Great Firewall. Europe's internet culture will decline sharply as a result.

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