home Governance, Internet, social media EU approves controversial copyright law that ‘could kill off the web’s user-generated content’

EU approves controversial copyright law that ‘could kill off the web’s user-generated content’

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The European Parliament has approved a controversial copyright law that threatens to ‘destroy the internet as we know it’, according to digital rights groups. Yesterday, in a vote that split almost every major EU party, Members of the European Parliament adopted every terrible proposal in the new Copyright Directive and rejected every good one, setting the stage for mass, automated surveillance and arbitrary censorship of the internet: text messages like tweets and Facebook updates; photos; videos; audio; software code — any and all media that can be copyrighted.

Three proposals passed the European Parliament, each of them catastrophic for free expression, privacy, and the arts:

1. Article 13: the Copyright Filters. All but the smallest platforms will have to defensively adopt copyright filters that examine everything you post and censor anything judged to be a copyright infringement.

2. Article 11: Linking to the news using more than one word from the article is prohibited unless you’re using a service that bought a license from the news site you want to link to. News sites can charge anything they want for the right to quote them or refuse to sell altogether, effectively giving them the right to choose who can criticise them. Member states are permitted, but not required, to create exceptions and limitations to reduce the harm done by this new right.

3. Article 12a: No posting your own photos or videos of sports matches. Only the “organisers” of sports matches will have the right to publicly post any kind of record of the match. No posting your selfies, or short videos of exciting plays. You are the audience, your job is to sit where you’re told, passively watch the game and go home.

At the same time, the EU rejected even the most modest proposals to make copyright suited to the twenty-first century:

The rule intends to update copyright for the internet age, and hands more power to news and record companies against Internet giants like Google and Facebook.

But it also allows companies to make sweeping blocks of user-generated content, such as internet memes or reaction GIFs that use copyrighted material.

The tough approach could spell the end for internet memes, which typically lay text over copyrighted photos or video from television programmes, films, music videos and more. Source EFF

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James Barnley

I’m the editor of the DomainingAfrica. I write about internet and social media, focusing mainly on Domains. As a subscriber to my newsletter, you’ll get a lot of information on Domain Issues, ICANN, new gtld’s, Mobile technology and social media.

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