The law would “destroy the internet as we know it” warn the campaigners
June 19, 2018 4:28 AM   Subscribe

Campaigns have been mounted against Article 13, which aside from banning memes will have all kinds of consequences if passed. Voting is being held tomorrow.
posted by whorl (41 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
You'd think having their own channel banned by an algorithm would hint that this is bad, but apparently not. Good luck, EU.
posted by shapes that haunt the dusk at 4:54 AM on June 19, 2018 [3 favorites]


Memes are become incredibly significant in regard to political education. It's suprising, and I'm always wary about ascribing memetic content more real-world value than is fair, but it really seems to be the case. Some of my coms are surprised that contacts are coming to us with concrete conceptions of things like the alienation of labour built upon information received from memes. Valuable information about the untrustworthiness of liberal politics and electoral socialism is being transferred through these memes though. It's still surprising to me, but since they formed a part of my political education, along with articles and heavier readings, it's not shocking in the same way.
I know we focus a lot on how much the alt-right communicates through memes, etc, but it's how an awful lot of youth culture is being shared. That includes anti-capitalist ideology. I can't pretend to fully understand how Gen-Z learns things, but I'm a very tail-end millenial and amount of things I've learned from memes is absurd. It would seem that we ignore their value at our own peril.
MeanTrots isn't perfect by any means, but I'd take them over any mainstream media org.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 5:00 AM on June 19, 2018 [10 favorites]


I like it. If they pass that how long will it take everybody to learn how to use Tor?
posted by schemaphi at 5:12 AM on June 19, 2018 [4 favorites]


Seems article 11 (also part of that legislation) has caused some consternation. "Under the proposal, using a 'snippet' with headline, thumbnail picture and short excerpt would require a (paid) license - as would media monitoring services, fact-checking services and bloggers." Here's an informative sticky from the Europe subreddit on the whole subject.
posted by whorl at 5:19 AM on June 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


How on earth can they *require* a paid license? If newspapers want to let Google show snippets for free (and I expect they will want to) what's the enforcement of payment supposed to look like?
posted by the agents of KAOS at 5:32 AM on June 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


If newspapers want to let Google show snippets for free (and I expect they will want to) what's the enforcement of payment supposed to look like?
This seems to be a pattern with EU internet regulation: they really hate Google and Facebook, and they end up creating legislation that will be a headache for Google and Facebook, but that will destroy smaller, independent platforms. They want to take on the monster companies, and instead they're just consolidating the power and dominance of those companies.

What would this mean for Metafilter? Would they try to enforce the link tax on companies that don't have a physical EU presence?
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:35 AM on June 19, 2018 [19 favorites]


Well this will certainly spur innovation in P2P E2E-encrypted social media.

Oh no it won't.
posted by PMdixon at 6:06 AM on June 19, 2018 [5 favorites]


This is the dumbest...

I mean. Google and Facebook and Twitter have to be actually happy about this, right?
posted by schadenfrau at 6:09 AM on June 19, 2018 [6 favorites]


Sure, because now they can sell the licensing platforms.
posted by mephron at 6:29 AM on June 19, 2018 [7 favorites]


I wrote to my six MEPs about this last week, and have been keeping track of replies at that link. At least two-thirds of my MEPs are opposed to one or both of these articles, which is heartening. The JURI vote tomorrow may not go the right way, but if it doesn't there could yet be a showdown at the Plenary vote of the full parliament.

Haven't had more than an auto-reply yet from my Conservative MEP, and nothing at all from my UKIP one. Well, I say "my"—a delightful feature of the D'Hondt list system of proportional representation is that I get to claim representatives from the full range, from A-list to Z-list.
posted by rory at 6:46 AM on June 19, 2018 [4 favorites]


A couple of key passages from my letter to MEPs:

The potential [of Article 13] for a chilling effect on online debate is great. I’m concerned that it will limit the scope for ordinary people to make their voices heard online, returning us to a time when only those published through official, vetted channels are heard.

[Article 11] promises to have a counterproductive effect on the visibility of news online, as we have already seen in Spain and Germany where such schemes have been attempted. ... This is surely a particularly bad moment in history to be discouraging popular traffic to legitimate news sources.
posted by rory at 6:53 AM on June 19, 2018 [6 favorites]


UK Mefites: I used WriteToThem to contact my MEPs. Made it all very straightforward.
posted by rory at 6:55 AM on June 19, 2018 [5 favorites]


Seriously, WTF is up with Europe and it's weird 'hey, let's wreck the internet' type laws? First the whole "right to be forgotten" nonsense, now this.

In America I can at least comprehend the motive behind the internet destroying laws: the big telecoms hate the internet and want to cableize it and charge us extra for everything. It's evil, but it's comprehensible.

But the EU laws are just baffling, they're not merely horrible ideas but I don't see any big beneficiary who'd be pushing for them. Is it just the MEP's are technophobes or luddites who have no clue about the internet but want to be seen to be doing big important things, or what?
posted by sotonohito at 7:05 AM on June 19, 2018 [4 favorites]


It's going to be interesting to see how Google and Facebook react to yet another provocation.

In 2010, Google stopped doing the Chinese government's bidding. All google.cn searches from Chinese domains were rerouted to Hong Kong servers, where there were few, if any censorship restrictions and sites were not blocked from user access for political reasons. Google left behind an R&D division. They also maintained servers in mainland China for their map services and a free music portal. And GMail, Google Docs and Calendar continued to function.

In doing so, they gave up a massive market and a huge source of revenue. They stayed out for a few years and lost out on a piece of the huge, growing smartphone market. They're still working on strategies to get back into the market.

A few years ago, both Germany and Spain attempted to make Google pay for listing and linking to news stories located on local websites through Google News:

In 2013, Germany tried to get Google to pay copyright fees for Google News links to German publishers. They passed a law. Google responded by making the service opt-in. You want your links on Google News, you waive copyright claims.

In 2014, Spain passed a similar law. It had been lobbied for by the Spanish Newspaper Publishers' Association (AEDE) and made summarizing any story located on a newspaper site (using the blurb and thumbnail photo in a Google News search,) copyright infringement and a taxable offense.

In response, Google shut down Google News completely and the AEDE panicked. Amusingly, they then lobbied the government to try to force Google News to stay in Spain and pay the tax. Worth noting that they didn't try to get the law rescinded. They wanted to have their pastel and eat it too. Obviously that didn't work.

Who got hurt by the Spanish law? Well, external traffic plummeted immediately. Big newspaper sites already had a lot of site traffic and didn't rely as much on Google News to help keep their visitor / ad revenue numbers up. But smaller news publishers struggled and some shut down.

Those who don't learn from history are destined to repeat it, etc., etc., ad nauseum.
posted by zarq at 7:07 AM on June 19, 2018 [27 favorites]


Seriously, WTF is up with Europe and it's weird 'hey, let's wreck the internet' type laws? First the whole "right to be forgotten" nonsense, now this.

The internet sucks and it destroys lives and governments. Memes are propaganda. I'm all for wrecking the current internet. Down with Google and Facebook and Twitter.
posted by dilaudid at 7:48 AM on June 19, 2018 [10 favorites]


This can be coded around, build a meme builder in javascript. The clever image is built in code from original file/link. If the original site does not want the image shown, well don't put it on the internet.

Or google and the other major search engines just shut out EU companies. Everyone in the EU gets VPNs.
posted by sammyo at 8:08 AM on June 19, 2018


I'm all for wrecking the current internet. Down with Google and Facebook and Twitter.

Whatever these proposals end up doing, that's one thing that won't happen: I think ArbitraryAndCapricious's take is spot on -- this isn't going to shutter Google, or Facebook, or Twitter, or any other entrenched tech company, although it might be a hassle; but it will absolutely make it harder for other, newer, tech companies to compete with those existing companies. And it will be a huge hassle for every-day citizens, who -- if YouTube's capricious copyright system is any indication -- will have to deal, in aggregate, with a lot of frivolous frustrations over not-actually-copyrighted copyright blocks.

This might wreck parts of the current internet, for users, but it's not going to make for a better internet in the aftermath.
posted by cjelli at 8:09 AM on June 19, 2018 [19 favorites]


But the EU laws are just baffling, they're not merely horrible ideas but I don't see any big beneficiary who'd be pushing for them. Is it just the MEP's are technophobes or luddites who have no clue about the internet but want to be seen to be doing big important things, or what?

So, this is not a good law, but the EU is actually sensitive to the problem of monopoly power and how it operates through the Internet--a very real problem.
posted by praemunire at 8:14 AM on June 19, 2018 [13 favorites]


It's funny that in one of the articles they mention Berners-Lee and a bunch of other people as 'responsible for the current form of the Internet' and my first reading was as blaming them rather than crediting them for the Internet.
posted by signal at 8:18 AM on June 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


THEY'RE IMAGE MACROS

*dies on hill*
posted by GuyZero at 8:22 AM on June 19, 2018 [29 favorites]


Macros? They're just captioned images!

*digs grave alongside GuyZero, gets in*
posted by Dysk at 8:38 AM on June 19, 2018 [12 favorites]


We need the IETF to admit the internet as designed does not socially scale and we need to build another internet and kill this one. The postulations set forth by the mythical man month apparently scale.

(I’m referring to the idea that you build the first system to kill it, over engineer the second with too many features and get caught in the tar pits, then finally get it just good enough on the third system. I think we are entering the end of the first phase and realizing the internet as a first system needs to be killed.)
posted by nikaspark at 8:38 AM on June 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I think this is a case of good intent but misguided application. They've diagnosed a problem that is a real problem, but the cure is going to have a lot of unintended consequences and may make it worse.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:39 AM on June 19, 2018 [3 favorites]


Between Article 13, MS-13, and Romans 13, I think we can guess what number the writers are hung up on.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:43 AM on June 19, 2018 [7 favorites]


#triskadekaphilia
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:44 AM on June 19, 2018 [3 favorites]


Macros? They're just captioned images!

*digs grave alongside GuyZero, gets in*


FINALLY A CAUSE I AM WILLING TO DIE FOR
posted by PMdixon at 8:45 AM on June 19, 2018 [6 favorites]


The EU is good at identifying emergent problems caused by monopolistic corporations, and legislating a solution to them ... five years after it would have done any good, by which point things have moved on and the 'solution' is going to kneecap smaller companies/individuals while not even making the radar of GoogleFaceWitter.

The real underlying problem is the legal conceit that corporations are people and have the same right to free political speech that people have (in the United States — the US definition of "free speech" is fetishistic and extreme by EU standards). The US exported its corporate law world-wide by way of the WTO and other treaty bodies, and the EU is therefore not free to deal with the oligopolies appropriately, that is, in a non-US-legislative-code-compliant manner (e.g. by brutally direct anti-trust directives and/or nationalization and conversion into public services).

I suspect this clause will be killed in this vote or the final reading. Trouble is, it exists to address a very real problem (ahem: talk to me about ebook piracy on services such as scribd some time) so something like this is going to keep coming back ... although, hopefully, as with GDPR it'll eventually return in a form that only libertarians with business models based on "disrupting" someone else's livelihood can object to.
posted by cstross at 8:52 AM on June 19, 2018 [16 favorites]


I was wondering when this would show up on the Blue - I first learned about it a few weeks ago and texted a friend of mine who works in a space very close to this issue: "What's your take?" Their response: "It's bad."

I've seen a lot from the detractors of Article 13, and so have come to the tentative conclusion that I don't support this legislation. I got a bit of pushback from a European friend who concedes that Article 13 is poorly-written, but denies that it is censorship. Rather, they say, Article 13 is intended to extend European copyright law to the digital domain and prevent commercial interests from using copyrighted materials.

On preview, ArbitraryAndCapricious has it; good intent, bad implementation.

I've kind of got a vested interest in the continued propagation of memes. They inject a bit of fun into my teaching; not the image macro kind but the "Galaxy Brain"/"American Chopper" kind. A few of my students have told me how much they appreciate them (and I hope they remember and learn something from them.)
posted by invokeuse at 8:55 AM on June 19, 2018 [3 favorites]


I just want to say that during my time at Google the most used and most efficient way for employees to find out, organize and protest all the shady stuff that the execs were doing was an internal 'meme generator' with a voting and comment section.

Way better thsn G+, email, portal sites, etc...

It got to the point where if any internal tool broke one would not go to the tool's page, which can take many minutes to update. One would go see if there were any memes about the broken tool.

I remember one time when our dear leaders refused to acknowledge an important and embarrassing issue, and the place was walk to wall pictures of elephants in rooms being ignored with hundreds of thousands of upvotes. I had no idea so many pictures of elephants in rooms existed.
posted by Dr. Curare at 9:21 AM on June 19, 2018 [22 favorites]


Maybe the World Wide Web is the second version, nikaspark, and we can get directly on to building the one that works. There! My optimism for the day!
posted by clew at 10:32 AM on June 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


We need the IETF to admit the internet as designed does not socially scale and we need to build another internet and kill this one.

This is... incorrect. As technology, the Internet scales perfectly well and despite some problems is a reasonably good network. The problem is centralization as the result of runaway capital and poor regulation. This is a social issue and upgrading to Internet II: Electric Boogaloo would leave us right where we are now, only with more corporate control rather than less.
posted by suetanvil at 1:05 PM on June 19, 2018 [11 favorites]


These laws are just sticking thumbs in genie bottles. "Memes are propaganda" is a senseless statement. Like saying "Books are propaganda."

What we need is critical multimedia education, plain simple. Everywhere. Everywhere that public schools and democracy happen. We started teaching written language and literature in school because that was the currency of ideas 200 years ago. It's time to teach kids to be savvy consumers of all the various voices targeting them.

This is something I've said for years, but I've kinda backed off, because a lot of 'meme culture' consists of children and adolescence having fun educating each other by making jokes at the expense of sloppy marketing, education, political, and propaganda communication. The basic skepticism of the coming generation made me figure that the kids are alright.

But if we MUST put government forces and laws into play, it's education, not obfuscation and obstruction, that will work. And, perhaps, education for kids isn't that important. Perhaps, we should be focusing on teaching adults and the elderly to engage critically with new media.
posted by es_de_bah at 3:35 PM on June 19, 2018 [5 favorites]


This is... incorrect. As technology, the Internet scales perfectly well and despite some problems is a reasonably good network.

Hence why I used the term "socially scale". I am referring to Conway's Law here, and saying that the protocols designed to facilitate communication over the internet were designed to support a use case that was not social in nature. My ultimate point being, to take from the wikipedia page linking to Conway's Law:

"If the parts of an organization (e.g., teams, departments, or subdivisions) do not closely reflect the essential parts of the product, or if the relationship between organizations do not reflect the relationships between product parts, then the project will be in trouble... Therefore: Make sure the organization is compatible with the product architecture."

Here, the product being the internet, is not compatible with a social network. It is compatible with a data network.
posted by nikaspark at 4:37 PM on June 19, 2018 [3 favorites]


Memes are propaganda.

Can you explain more? All memes have political intent?
posted by Squeak Attack at 6:35 PM on June 19, 2018


We need the IETF to admit the internet as designed does not socially scale and we need to build another internet and kill this one.

What would be different about this new internet that would make it "socially scale" better? The idea of scrapping the whole internet because you don't like how some people use it sounds, to me, a lot like saying we should scrap all aviation technology and rebuild everything from the ground up to be more passenger-friendly: a drastic "solution" that doesn't include any plan to for how to avoid recreating the same problems.
posted by shponglespore at 6:47 PM on June 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


To be clear I’m talking about the IETF looking at the routing and communication protocols and approaching them from the perspective of carrying information that is primarily focused on carrying social networks not surviving nuclear war.

I’m not really suggesting anything drastic, I’m asking the IETF to develop more meaningful protocols.

The condescension is pretty appalling.
posted by nikaspark at 9:06 PM on June 19, 2018 [3 favorites]


Perhaps you could elaborate on how you think the structure of tcp/ip results in a socially detrimental network organization.
posted by Pyry at 10:53 PM on June 19, 2018 [2 favorites]


I find it fascinating that as a Solidarity member, we actively talk about putting out propaganda. I tend to think we're just being more honest though, as everyone is putting out propaganda, just under different names.
Also, the many wonders of the internet not withstanding, I don't find it hard to believe at all that it's constructed in such a way as to lend power to bourgeois institutions. I'm sure many will have great technical arguments as to why this is not so much the case, but in our world, nothing that's created with the consent of the bourgeoisie really challenges their hegemony. To quote MeanTrots, "Boo, it's not my fault if reality is Marxist".
posted by AnhydrousLove at 4:19 AM on June 20, 2018


Damn it, the Legal Affairs committee passed it 13 votes to 12, with all contentious articles intact. The battle now turns to the full parliamentary vote.

(As an aside, it annoys me that The Guardian has headlined their article "EU votes for copyright law that would make internet a 'tool for control'". They wouldn't headline an article about a vote in a UK parliamentary committee as "UK votes for copyright law", even if that committee vote made the ultimate adoption of the law more likely. It's this sort of conflation of the entire EU with everything done anywhere in the EU system that helped Euroskeptics bring us Brexit.)
posted by rory at 5:58 AM on June 20, 2018 [4 favorites]


Sorry, I should have said that Article 11 (the "link tax") passed 13 to 12, not the whole directive. Article 13 (upload filters) passed 15 to 10.
posted by rory at 6:50 AM on June 20, 2018 [2 favorites]


A spectre is haunting Europe: the spectre of Galambosianism.
posted by acb at 7:07 AM on June 20, 2018


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