copyright changes in EU
September 13, 2018 10:46 AM   Subscribe

 


This sounds like a nightmare, they should just cut off Europe from the Internet.
posted by exolstice at 10:50 AM on September 13 [9 favorites]


The Organization for Transformative Works, the nonprofit that runs the Archive of Our Own (Ao3), posted a warning about this a little while ago. If fanworks and transformative works are important to you, please consider supporting them.

(full disclosure I volunteered for Ao3 briefly a few years ago and ~all the porn I like is on that site)
posted by bagel at 10:55 AM on September 13 [12 favorites]


Likely result: YouTube and Facebook create sweeping filters that block content from thousands of creators who aren't breaking any laws, and every user-created-content company that doesn't actually rely on European dollars blocks all European ISPs rather than coming up with complex and expensive filters.

No idea what Twitter's going to do.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:58 AM on September 13 [4 favorites]


Seems like you could maliciously target a political rival's (of any shape or size) web presence by posting copy-written material clandestinely, then through another account filing a complaint about it. Maybe in a link just a comma, or punctuation mark that most folks wouldn't even notice.
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 11:02 AM on September 13 [4 favorites]


Pirate microwave links from Free Britain to transient endpoints on the Continent, providing the beleaguered subjects of Brussels with forbidden memes...
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 11:15 AM on September 13 [11 favorites]


First, let me post these overviews on Article 11 and Article 13. The Article 13 one is especially worth reading, as t points out the large carveouts limiting exactly who would be exposed - specifically, the targets are services where the primary purpose is the dissemination of material under copyright (so no, you can't go sneak a copyright time bomb onto your political rival's website.) In fact, if you look at both Article 11 and 13, there's a pretty clear overarching intent - to force major online content distributors, in particular Alphabet, to be more fair to content creators.

And why would that be necessary? Well, because they pretty much use their size to strongarm content creators now (as has been discussed in this thread.) YouTube in particular has always had an anti-copyright bent - if you're a small scale rightsholder trying to get your work being posted by someone else taken down, they make doing so difficult, in order to discourage you from persisting. And if you do finally get through the process, they follow it up with an attempt to shame you over doing so, by filing your request in the Chilling Effects database as a matter of policy. (This has only had the effect of destroying the value of the Chilling Effects program.)
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:25 AM on September 13 [37 favorites]


Bless you, NoxAeternum, for poking the hyperbole balloon with a little needle of reality. "Link taxes" and "censorship filters" are not where any of this is going. It's about the tech overlords hiding behind legislation never designed to help them (and originally written when no one imagined there would ever be creatures of their ilk ruling the internet).
posted by humuhumu at 11:33 AM on September 13 [6 favorites]


Le Monde needs Google more than Google needs Le Monde. If this were implemented, I doubt that Google would ever pay Le Monde a single cent. Rather, what happens if this passes is that Google et al. immediately block all content from Le Monde, Le Monde sees a substantial drop in traffic, and Google demands an unlimited license from Le Monde to re-list it and present it however Google sees fit, with no payment to Le Monde.

Oh wait, per the Article 11 analysis link from NoxAeternum above, that's exactly what happened when Germany tried it:
If this idea sounds familiar, it’s because we have seen it before. Various countries within the EU, including Germany, Belgium and Spain, have implemented versions of this idea in the past.

In Germany, most publishers simply opted in to Google News without receiving a license fee. This was because Google, rather than offer to pay, simply threatened to drop German publications if they didn’t opt in. This made Google News an opt-in service, rather than an opt-out one as it is in the rest of the world, but little else changed.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:36 AM on September 13 [13 favorites]


Which is a sign that we need to break Alphabet up.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:37 AM on September 13 [14 favorites]


the targets are services where the primary purpose is the dissemination of material under copyright

Metafilter: All posts are © their original authors.
posted by sfenders at 11:44 AM on September 13 [1 favorite]


Which is a sign that we need to break Alphabet up.

Exactly. What DevilsAdvocate (eponysterical) described could also apply directly to Wal-Mart. It is monopolistic behavior and is good for exactly nobody except the monopoly, even if it seems good because people love free stuff.
posted by grumpybear69 at 12:05 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


This legislation is completely ridiculous. It *might* have seemed realistic in the nineties, but to say that ship has sailed would be a major understatement. That ship and millions of others have sailed, new continents have been colonized, new cultures have flourished. There’s no undoing that.

YouTube in particular has always had an anti-copyright bent - if you're a small scale rightsholder trying to get your work being posted by someone else taken down, they make doing so difficult, in order to discourage you from persisting.

This is so completely the opposite of the truth it’s not even funny. Making a copyright strike has become insanely simple and hoop-, hurdle-, and bar-free, to the point YouTube has become so rife with copyright trolls that all the major career YouTubers — longtime producers of original content, the reason people return to YouTube regularly — have been forced to branch out and diversify to other platforms (Twitch streams, podcasts, Patreon, merch, etc.) where their income won’t suddenly disappear for no legitimate reason.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:06 PM on September 13 [9 favorites]


More from Cory over at BoingBoing
Europe just voted to wreck the internet, spying on everything and censoring vast swathes of our communications

ugh, and who's going to enforce this? and how long until they become corrupted by extra fees to boost links and show everyone a very specific view of the web?

this might hasten the Distributed web on a larger scale.
posted by dreamling at 12:40 PM on September 13


My concerns.

To quote, "Not every unsanctioned use of someone else’s content is an infringement" Communia Association

User rights to parody, criticism and transformative uses are under threat by such filters, because those rights don't exist in all EU countries. An amendment to address that, that allowed, "digital use of quotations or extracts of works … within user- generated content for purposes such as criticism, review, entertainment, illustration, caricature, parody or pastiche” was defeated.

As well, taking pictures of public spaces in some EU countries is prohibited if they show copyrighted architectural or artworks. An amendment to guarantee the so called "right of panorama" was also defeated.

Finally, without penalties for incorrect claims by supposed rights holders, and with protection for overzealous enforcement of incorrect filters, there is an incentive to claim copyright over things that there is no copyright for.

See This German Professor's experiment with public domain music for an example of how Content ID on Youtube fails. Even when he's able to appeal rulings for his public domain works, they weren't reverted to a free license. Content ID is the best filtering example we have, and you can't safely post public domain works with it, and that's extremely troubling to me, because public domain works are the easiest example of online content being affected that shouldn't be. Fan fiction and code sharing, book reviews and movie critiques, and yes memes, are all likely to be affected, and in some countries that's how the law is expected to work.
posted by gryftir at 12:51 PM on September 13 [21 favorites]


If I've correctly tracked down the actual text of the law, Article 15 is fascinating:
Article 15
Contract adjustment mechanism

Member States shall ensure that authors and performers are entitled to request additional, appropriate remuneration from the party with whom they entered into a contract for the exploitation of the rights when the remuneration originally agreed is disproportionately low compared to the subsequent relevant revenues and benefits derived from the exploitation of the works or performances.
Am I missing something, or does that say, "if I got paid $500 to record a song, and the production company made $3 million, I'm entitled to demand more money?"
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 1:48 PM on September 13 [3 favorites]


I find that this all worrying and confusing. Someone in a different thread said that this would be he end of Metafilter? Would the implementation of these articles mean the end of MeFi as a whole or would I have to set up a VPS to access MeFi at all from within Europe?
posted by Faintdreams at 2:01 PM on September 13


This sounds like it might make the major platforms less dominant. If YouTube or Facebook won't host your stuff because of copyright trolls, maybe you can host it yourself. It'll be like the Internet, you know, the one that wasn't just five or six big companies!
posted by Dysk at 2:04 PM on September 13 [3 favorites]


Hell, maybe we can even replace YouTube with some other platform that doesn't implement content ID in such a bullshit braindead fashion! Maybe we can have a system where copyright claims aren't assumed to be valid before they're even looked at!
posted by Dysk at 2:08 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


If anyone believes this is being done to benefit small anything, then it is my opinion that you don't understand how politics work.

Companies with big pockets paid for this legislation and that's who's going to benefit. If it works in favor of the little person, you can rest assured, that will be fixed in the next bill.
posted by BeReasonable at 2:09 PM on September 13 [9 favorites]


The article at boingboing says this all has to be voted in again next spring.

I don’t even see how it’s possible to enforce. They’re gonna block people from posting selfies at football matches? How?

These “rules” only make sense if you’re trying to control a limited network like a small school or library, not ya know, a giant section of the world.

I’m not even able to comprehend how this is technically feasible to implement. GDPR was bad enough but this just seems....like a fever android electric dream. Someone has some malfunctioning circuits.

Honestly, this is more akin to the Doctor Whk episode with the people who all the have the cyber link in their ear. That’s the only way this would even be possible. I literally cannot imagine this being enforceable or possible on a massive multiple-country scale.
posted by sio42 at 2:10 PM on September 13


The sports teams bit seems a little blown out of proportion as well. It just puts bootleg recordings of football matches on par with bootleg recordings of music performances, or theatre productions and films, right? Gotta say, that seems fair to me.
posted by Dysk at 2:26 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


This sounds like it might make the major platforms less dominant. If YouTube or Facebook won't host your stuff because of copyright trolls, maybe you can host it yourself. It'll be like the Internet, you know, the one that wasn't just five or six big companies!

Except that you, as a small European host, can suddenly be held responsibel for the content of your users. The infrastructure to prevent this is likely costly, but lo and behold, those major platforms can provide you with a filtering service that will the work for you in exchange for a monthly fee.

I'm not saying that this is how it will/must happen, but to me it is an all too plausible scenario. So if anything, this might just make Google and Co more dominant, by now receiving and filtering data they otherwise wouldn't have had.
posted by bigendian at 2:38 PM on September 13 [5 favorites]


It just puts bootleg recordings of football matches on par with bootleg recordings of music performances, or theatre productions and films, right?

Except that songs, plays, and movies are copyrighted to begin with - a football match is not copyrighted before it starts, and copyright belongs to the person making the recording. There was a case of Prince performing Radiohead's "Creep", in which Prince issued takedown/block notices on YouTube, and Radiohead demanded the performance be restored: Prince didn't own copyright on the song, as he didn't write it, nor on the performance, as he didn't record it.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 2:41 PM on September 13 [4 favorites]


Except that you, as a small European host, can suddenly be held responsibel for the content of your users.

Eh, not if you're a website host, no. From NoxAeternum's link upthread:

"it requires that a service somehow optimize the content, which is another important distinction. Hosts like GoDaddy, where a user pays to host websites, don’t optimize or alter user content. As such, they would not likely be affected, at least not for their hosting service."
posted by Dysk at 2:47 PM on September 13


There was a case of Prince performing Radiohead's "Creep", in which Prince issued takedown/block notices on YouTube, and Radiohead demanded the performance be restored: Prince didn't own copyright on the song, as he didn't write it, nor on the performance, as he didn't record it.

Gotta say, that status quo absolutely doesn't seem fair to me. Performance rights (as opposed to the copyright to the song itself) should really be with the performer.
posted by Dysk at 2:49 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


Hell, maybe we can even replace YouTube with some other platform that doesn't implement content ID in such a bullshit braindead fashion! Maybe we can have a system where copyright claims aren't assumed to be valid before they're even looked at!

The Article has no provisions for penalties against false positives or outright malicious claims. So expect to see a lot of systems like YouTube, where people have seen copyright strikes against white noise, bird sounds, and even their own works.

Here's a fun one where a person who makes stock videos had Sony make a claim against his own footage because they had used it in a music video. I've personally had strikes against a video with Nasa footage (which is in the public domain) because multiple news channels decided that actually they owned every pixel that they had ever broadcast regardless of original source.
posted by Pyry at 2:49 PM on September 13 [8 favorites]


Also: This sounds like a nightmare, they should just cut off Europe from the Internet.

As an European: please don't.
The GDPR (previously) resulted in some websites adopting the solution of a wholesale blocking of European traffic, and every second Youtube link of the recent 80s music Pitchfork thread wouldn't work for me due to ominous copyright laws. As someone who enjoys and contributes to remix culture, these changes are rather alarming...

Eh, not if you're a website host, no.

Bad choice of words, I meant to be talking about providers of webservices, in general. (But thank you for alerting me to the link, I will definitely read more on the matter!)
posted by bigendian at 2:52 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


Performance rights (as opposed to the copyright to the song itself) should really be with the performer.

If that were the case, politicians would be able to block any unfavorable news coverage of their speeches.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 2:52 PM on September 13 [2 favorites]


But let me say that I'm deeply suspicious of policy proposals of the form "[make changes that benefit huge corporations] and then [redistribute the benefits]", because what almost always happens is that the first part that benefits huge corporations is enthusiastically implemented, and then the second redistribution part withers away. For example: "we should have a policy of free trade followed by redistribution of the gains" almost always ends up with just the "free trade" part.

So now what's being proposed in effect is "first we should make copyright changes that favor large corporations, and then we should (redistribute by) breaking up monopolies". Here's my counter-proposal: why don't we break up Google first and then we can consider making copyright changes that primarily benefit large corporations.
posted by Pyry at 3:04 PM on September 13 [3 favorites]


If that were the case, politicians would be able to block any unfavorable news coverage of their speeches.

Apart from fair use exemptions, sure. But we have fair use exemptions.
posted by Dysk at 3:05 PM on September 13


Except that songs, plays, and movies are copyrighted to begin with - a football match is not copyrighted before it starts, and copyright belongs to the person making the recording.

So by that logic, if a musician performs an improvisational piece (not copyrighted before it starts, as it doesn't exist before that) then a bootlegger would have all the rights to the subsequent recording?
posted by Dysk at 3:18 PM on September 13


Dysk, I mean, we in the U.S. do have fair use. But fair use is not mandated by the EU. Germany and France, arguably the biggest EU economies, have specific exemptions but no general fair use exemption.

Also, if a musician performs an improvisational piece then they are the author of it. The fact that it's creation occurs simultaneously with it's performance doesn't change that. And In several EU countries performance rights are recognized separately. But sports are not (generally) considered an artistic performance.
posted by gryftir at 3:28 PM on September 13


Hey, I will happily trade tighter copyright restrictions in exchange for limiting all copyrights to five years. It is ridiculous that the government can award monopoly rights to publicly available information for periods up to 120 years. Same for patents.
posted by JackFlash at 4:03 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


if a musician performs an improvisational piece (not copyrighted before it starts, as it doesn't exist before that) then a bootlegger would have all the rights to the subsequent recording?

Technically yes. For sound recordings, without a contract, the person who owns or is renting the sound equipment generally owns the copyright. There's also author rights, as mentioned, but those are blurrier, especially in the US. Copyright exists at the moment a work is "fixed in a tangible medium of expression" - ideas aren't copyrighted; unrecorded performances aren't copyrighted; business processes aren't copyrighted (although they can be patented), and so on.

All of copyright law is based on the premise that copies are difficult to make - the penalties are ridiculous because, when the laws were designed, you needed to own a publishing house or a printing press or, later, a movie studio in order to make copies; to violate the "public performance" side of things in a meaningful way, you'd need to own a theatre. So of course the penalties were in the thousands, and later hundreds of thousands, of dollars - if you penalized a publishing company $50 for stealing someone's book, they'd just write that off as the cost of business.

I agree this is stupid. Copyright law is not designed to protect authors - it's designed to protect publishers, with the idea that they'll provide authors and other creators with a venue that encourages more production. The whole thing needs a substantial overhaul, starting with basic principles and intended purposes and giving a hard look to what technology we have and what might be developed in the future.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 4:34 PM on September 13 [10 favorites]


If you're not sure who to trust on this issue, you don't have the context to decide which of Cory Doctorow or Plagiarism Today is the more reliable source, I have found the answer. These guys [pdf]. That's one hell of a list of signatories.
posted by sfenders at 5:14 PM on September 13 [1 favorite]


> "if I got paid $500 to record a song, and the production company made $3 million, I'm entitled to demand more money?"

That's not new. I was surprised when I heard about it, but in the U.S. "Section 203 [of the 1976 Copyright Act] provides a chance for songwriters to terminate their assignments and recapture their copyrights. For works after January 1, 1978 (the year the 1976 Act went into effect) grants, assignments and licenses can be terminated during a five year window starting 35 years after such grant was made."

That's only songwriting, not recording, rights, it's not for works for hire, and the labels will fight it at every step, but a songwriter for The Village People has won in court.

There's recapture in Europe, too, but it sounds weaker to me: "use it or lose it" so orphan works can be recaptured, but no "unfair contracts can be voided" rule.
posted by ASCII Costanza head at 5:20 PM on September 13


"Recapture your rights" is a very different legal arrangement from "you made a zillion dollars off this, so I'm entitled to more than my contract said." Being able to cancel out of a contract is not the same as rewriting it to give the author more money.

I'm not sure if that's what it means, and I haven't confirmed that that's the actual text (hey, does anyone have a link to the final, signed version?), but that's vague enough that it looks like it could even be used for, "Hey Google - you made money off my blog post! I know the TOS says you can do that without paying me, but... I want some of the income now."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 7:55 PM on September 13


Copyright is the new WMDs. It's just the excuse they use to do what they are going to do anyway.
posted by M-x shell at 9:01 PM on September 13 [5 favorites]


I don't actually know too much about this stuff to be an authority.

But I live in Europe and two things have started happening already in the past few months:

One is that my web surfing is crippled because many websites just block my access because I'm in Europe. (Which I have to get around using VPN).

And the other is that every paper contract that anybody signs is now accompanied with an extra GDPR piece of paper that needs to be signed. All of this GDPR stuff is accompanied with eye-rolls and frustration, piles of extra paper work etc.

For instance just this last week I had a contract signed with a stunt man (I do film work) and he forgot to sign the GDPR paper, so now I have to figure out a way to meet with the guy which is an extra train ride or just straight up forge his signature.

I understand the good intentions of these laws, but this is just another political argument for the fascists that the EU is evil needs to be broken up and yadda yadda. Which is frankly terrifying.
posted by mit5urugi at 2:49 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


One is that my web surfing is crippled because many websites just block my access because I'm in Europe. (Which I have to get around using VPN).

Which websites are they? I'm in Europe, and neither I nor any of the IRL friends I've spoken to about it have experienced this even once.
posted by Dysk at 5:46 AM on September 14


Which websites are they?

Usually non-major newspapers. The small local ones just don't worry about it and the major ones (NYTimes and others) have a dedicated team to deal with it, but someone posting to the houston chronicle (I have a friend in Texas) just blocks everyone from Europe.
posted by koolkat at 6:16 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]


Both Houston Chronicle websites work fine from Denmark, where I am right now. They pop up a dialogue box with a load of checkboxes to let you select which social media platforms, advertisers and analytics firms' cookies you want to allow, and serve you up the website just fine even if you block all of them.
posted by Dysk at 6:54 AM on September 14


The newspapers under the Tronc umbrella are not accessible from Europe. This include the New York Daily News, the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, as well as smaller newspapers (Orlando Sentinel, Baltimore Sun etc.).
posted by elgilito at 7:04 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]


I'm probably remembering the exact newspaper incorrectly, but it was some texas newspaper where I was unable to access it. I've had some issues with a number of different newspapers. I now just don't bother to click on the links anymore, so they might have sorted things out now.
posted by koolkat at 7:26 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]


I’ve been blocked from Europe by local news stations that are NBC affiliates and also a site that I used to buy wigs from.
posted by sio42 at 7:55 AM on September 14


So, I listened to npr, marketplace, and BBC news hour, and unless it was a blip that happened while I answered the phone, I didn't hear any of them talking about this.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 9:15 AM on September 14


Dallas morning news has both regional and adblocker blocks. I'm in dfw and I can't read the morning news unless I'm willing to download their truckloads of video ads and affiliate link viral vectors. So, you're not missing much, if it was the Dallas paper you were thinking of.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 9:18 AM on September 14


this all has to be voted in again next spring

This - in the sense that nothing's written law, yet, and won't be for another good while.

But if you want a true policy-wonk's low-down on this directive, noone's clearer than Julia Reda (she's the Pirate in the European Parliament!).
posted by progosk at 2:10 PM on September 14




I find that this all worrying and confusing. Someone in a different thread said that this would be he end of Metafilter? Would the implementation of these articles mean the end of MeFi as a whole or would I have to set up a VPS to access MeFi at all from within Europe?

That was presumably about Article 11, which allows publishers to charge license fees for the aggregation of portions of their work for "commercial purposes." There's an exemption for actual hyperlinks but it's somewhat unclear what is covered.

My guess is that "end of MeFi" is a little hyperbolic for the outcome of that one, but it could open up some new copyright trolling possibilities, I don't know.
posted by atoxyl at 6:48 PM on September 14


MeTa on EU copyright directive as would/might pertain to MeFi.
posted by progosk at 4:26 AM on September 17


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