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EU copyright directive to kill independent critical media

 
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TonyGosling
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 1:22 am    Post subject: EU copyright directive to kill independent critical media Reply with quote

Article 11 and Article 13: What you need to know about the new copyright directive

Natasha Bernal 30 MARCH 2019 6:10PM
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/0/article-11-article-13-need-kn ow-new-copyright-directive/

Europe has taken a final step to rewrite copyright rules that could dramatically change the internet for the first time in 20 years.

In a tense vote in Strasbourg, MEPs voted in favour of a major upheaval that curb the power of internet giants including Facebook, Twitter, Google and YouTube.

The copyright reforms were first proposed by activists in the UK, who claimed that for too long internet giants like Google, YouTube or Facebook were profiteering off of artists' and publishers' material without giving them anything in exchange.

They argued that this unhealthy dynamic was helping to line the pockets of big tech but crippling the music, photography, publishing and cinema industries as well as individual artists.

MEPs voted on the measures three times: in July 2018 they were taken back to the drawing board as the majority voted against; in September they passed with a majority; and were then refined to their current form.

Now the European Council will vote once more on the final format of the proposals and turn them into law. By 2021, the internet will have changed forever.

But will these new copyright measures succeed? Here's everything you need to know about the most controversial terms agreed in Europe, and exactly how they might affect your life online.

What is Article 11?
Article 11 is one of the two most controversial laws approved by the European Parliament under these new copyright measures. It has been dubbed the "link tax" but in fact has nothing directly to do with using hyperlinks.

This measure aims to force companies (mainly search giants) who feature snippets of other people's content to pay them for using them.

This means that companies who use other people's headlines and first paragraph of text will be forced to pay in order to display them.

Article 11 was softened since it was last voted on in September of last year. Under current rules, websites will not be charged for using individual words of parts of sentences from other websites, nor will they have to pay for linking back to other people's work.

The row over this proposed law was intense. At one point last year, Google threatened to take down its Google News service from Europe in protest.

The fear is that search engines will stop displaying as much content online to avoid paying the link tax, depriving people of information at a quick glance.

What is Article 13?
This measure forces technology companies to police the contents on their sites for the first time, through the means of content filters that are able to scan what users are trying to upload for copyright violations.

Article 13 is easily the most debated proposal of the entire copyright directive. Critics have said it will "kill memes" and will destroy freedom of expression and satire. Backers claim that it will force technology companies to take responsibility for the content on their sites under law for the first time.

This proposal was counterproductive for many people because the only major website with a content filter in place is Google-owned YouTube, giving the company a competitive advantage over other players.

That doesn't mean that YouTube is happy - its chief executive Susan Wojcicki said last year that the measures were "unrealistic" because owners often disagree on who owns the rights to online material and puts too much pressure on websites to be the arbiter of who is right.

Why were people debating over copyright so much?
Proponents of these laws have argued that they will provide grounds for artists to recoup money from the technology giants who use their work to generate massive amounts of money, especially through advertising.

They claimed that technology giants have done little to stop ripped-off versions of their work being reproduced and distributed on a mass scale, and that they should be obligated to do so by law.

However, there is concern that the algorithms already in place aren't sophisticated enough to tell what is copyrighted or not.

While many critics of the proposals agreed that artists, musicians and writers have the right to be paid a decent wage for their work, they claimed that these copyright rules were not the way to do it.

Activists and angry MEPs have argued that the weakened version of Articles 11 and 13 gave ground to the likes of Google and Facebook, which the laws initially sought to penalise, and unfairly punished growing companies who don't have deep pockets.

More worryingly, some MEPs including Julia Reda have argued that these measures are likely to be another business opportunity for the likes of Google, because smaller businesses will be forced to hire their technology to filter content.

Stock images like this one have turned into well-known internet memes
Stock images like this one have turned into well-known internet memes
How these controversial copyright rules will affect you
You might struggle uploading content. The big concern that many internet users have is that content could be blocked before it is uploaded, hampering free speech with impunity under these copyright rules.

The temptation for many companies is to avoid any copyright disputes, so even if the claim is false, they could decide to block it. For many artists and writers who use the internet as a main means of publicising their work, this could have serious unintended consequences.

Your memes will be safe. The good news is that memes will not be banned, and will be allowed alongside quotation, criticism, review, caricature, parody and pastiche (like GIFs) will be specifically allowed.

Technology companies will change the way they work. The companies that run the sites you use will have to interpret these complex laws and decide what they have to do to comply with them. T&C updates are in your future...

Smaller websites will change. It's not your Google or your Twitter that is likely to tremble at the cost of implementing technology to pre-filter content, but smaller outfits with fewer resources. Some companies may no longer allow users to post information on a real time basis but force them to wait until it can be processed and verified - which could have long-term effect on their popularity.

Does the UK have to change its copyright laws?
Technically no. The new copyright rules are set to come into play in early 2021, when the UK will no longer be part of the European Union. However, the government has already said it plans to adopt these measures, in a move that will be led in the UK by the Intellectual Property Office.

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