We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Do not read this!

The BBC reports:

European Parliament backs copyright changes

Controversial new copyright laws have been approved by members of the European Parliament.

The laws had been changed since July when the first version of the copyright directive was voted down. Critics say they remain problematic.

Many musicians and creators claim the reforms are necessary to fairly compensate artists.

But opponents fear that the plans could destroy user-generated content, memes and parodies.

Leaders of the EU’s member states still need to sign off on the rule changes before the individual countries have to draft local laws to put them into effect.

The vote in Strasbourg was 438 in favour of the measures, 226 against and 39 abstentions.

MEPs voted on a series of changes to the original directive, the most controversial parts are known as Article 13 and Article 11.

Article 13 puts the onus on web giants to take measures to ensure that agreements with rights-holders for the use of their work are working.

Critics say that would require all internet platforms to filter content put online by users, which many believe would be an excessive restriction on free speech.

Article 11 is also controversial because it forces online platforms to pay news organisations before linking to their stories, something critics refer to a “link tax”.

Julia Reda MEP, who has fought hard against this, says,

Catastrophic Article 11 vote: The European Parliament just endorsed a #linktax that would make using the title of a news article in a link to it require a license. #SaveYourInternet #SaveTheLink


Article 13 vote: The European Parliament endorses #uploadfilters for all but the smallest sites and apps. Anything you want to publish will need to first be approved by these filters, perfectly legal content like parodies & memes will be caught in the crosshairs #SaveYourInternet

A small silver lining to the cloud is that this move by the EU is particularly unpopular with just that crowd who usually love the EU most.

10 comments to Do not read this!

  • Sufficient reason for Brexit all by itself.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    Actually, this also is a direct assault by the EU on social media in general and effectively saying that social media are still media, and should respect copyright just as, say, a newspaper or a magazine does.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London) (September 12, 2018 at 12:37 pm), I do not follow your point. If I mention the title of a book in an article I write and link to its Amazon purchase page, I do not (IIUC) have to pay royalties to its author, nor does a media organisation. And it is news to me if the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph or the Daily Mail are currently subject to state-controlled upload filters. (They are subject to post-facto hate speech laws, of course, but so are we – if anything, more so.)

    The lawyers on this blog can doubtless comment.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    Niall, if there are photographs or entire paywall-protected articles that are reproduced without permission on social media, as happens all the time, that’s a copyright no-no that journalists would not be allowed to get away with (they have to use royalty-free pictures, etc). So what matters here is whether the photos/words concerned are under some sort of copyright that is being routinely trashed.

    There is a separate debate going on in the US, such as on the political right, about whether social media platforms are trying to play both sides: they have editors and staff who routinely filter out and block what is considered undesirable content, which puts them into the same bracket as media outlets like a news organiation, while also arguing that they are only platforms and not to be held liable for what users put out.

    The tension between these two things has been rising for a while, and particularly as many traditional media outlets resent how their old business models have suffered because of social media. On the whole I am glad that social media exists – I use it – but it is unsurprising that the political classes, for honest as well as dishonerable reasons, are trying to attack it.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London) (September 12, 2018 at 1:49 p), as regards copyright, we seem to be talking about different things. Unless a link to a paywall-protected article somehow takes you behind the paywall, it can no more violate ordinary old-fashioned copyright law than my hypothesised link to a book-purchase page on Amazon; you still have to buy the book to read it. By contrast, it is very much news to me if buying a book within copyright, OCRing it and posting the whole text on your blog would not be prosecutable under ordinary existing copyright law every bit as much as printing out the OCR and distributing it in samizdat form would be. IIRC existing law allow titles and a certain percentage of quotation, as part of enabling reviewing, academic citation and suchlike.

    I would agree, speaking as a non-lawyer, that it does not seem social media platforms are in accord with current US law if they claim to be not legally responsible for content while discriminating to the degree they do against right-wing content. Years ago, an experiment (IIRC two facebook sites, one pro-Palestinian, one pro-Israeli, precisely graded to be equal in the aggressiveness of their posts) demonstrated that facebook would censor one while allowing the other (no prizes for guessing which). To a non-lawyer like myself, that would seem to void their irresponsibility for the content they chose to leave, so I am not surprised the question is being raised. However that is in the US, not the EU.

  • Julie near Chicago

    My understanding is that our current mess is as to whether the s.m. are to be considered common carriers, in which case they have to take all comers, or whether they retain their status as regular business operations, in which case as private concerns they have the right to refuse to disseminate material according to their own criteria.

    In the Masterpiece Cake Shop case, Richard (Epstein) and others argued that since the bakery was far from the only one in town and that several of the others were quite willing to serve same-sex couples according to the latters’ wishes, Mr. Phillips (the owner) was not in the position of any kind of monopolist, and therefore was not required to serve all comers. Presumably this means that he is free to comply with a potential customer’s request or not, according to his own wishes.

    Personally, I think that The Gov s/have bailed out Borders’ Bookstores. Who cares if Lehman, Bear Starnes, Chrysler, GM go belly-up. But Borders’ was a National Treasure, and while the cyber version of Sears, Roebuck may be a delight for the people who decide what they want to read before even thinking of sniffing the physical (or electronic) book, there is no joy that rises anywhere near the level of that felt during an afternoon or evening spent browsing the shelves of a really good big bookstore full of all kinds of newly discovered gems? How many times have folks ducked into a well-stocked bookstore for just one quick grab of a particular book, and walked out four hours later weighted down physically by five or six fat volumes, balanced by an unexpected lightness in the wallet?

    (Aside: Just how tongue-in-cheek is this O/T paragraph? 🙂 )

  • Julie near Chicago

    Starnes Stearns –oops–

  • Paul Marks

    Yes David “Dave” Cullen is good on this Natalie.

    He has a way of explaining these matters in a way that even I can understand them – and my knowledge of the internet is horribly bad.

  • llamas

    Looking beyond today’s outrage . . . . .

    The EU has long disliked the Internet, because of its US-centric nature and its untrammelled freedom. There have been attempts in the past to create a sort of Euro-internet, along with attempts to create a Euro-GPS system and other, similar frivolities.

    I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if this is another first salvo in the attempt to create a Euro-internet, disconnected/separate from the current US-based version. Operated solely by, through and for the EU, naturally. Given the current OCD fascination of the UK police with social media, expect any such system to be filled with backdoors and cutouts to make their lives easier. It will become a matter of a single keystroke to make anybody an un-person.

    Truly, somebody at the Islington Public Library accidentally mis-shelved 1984 in the Reference section and it’s now being used a an instruction manual. The smart-speaker in your home already hears everything you say, how long before the smart TV sees everything you do? You! yes, You! Smith, 8967842357! Stand up straight!

    Note also the deliberate and confusing complexity of the new directive – what does it actually mean? It’s a typical piece of masterful EU bureaucratese a) opaque enough that it can be used to prohibit just-about anything, at the whims of the political masters and b) written such that everyone will self-censor far-more than any government would dare to do directly, for fear of running afoul of the directive.

    You gotta admire their sand.