Tuesday 26 March 2019

EU Parliament passes European copyright directive

The Guardian reports that the EU Parliament has passed the controversial European Copyright Directive in spite of an intense lobbying campaign led by Google and internet freedom advocates. The sweeping copyright reform could have " could have far-reaching consequences for the business models of tech giants like Google and Facebook." Wired has a good analysis of the copyright plan.
Generally the directive makes websites responsible for preventing any copyright infringement that occurs because of content that users upload (think YouTube, photos...). There is also what is called a "link tax" that requires companies like Google to pay licensing fees to publications like newspapers that are aggregated by the search engine. According to the Guardian, "Supporters say it prevents multinational companies from freeloading on the work of others without paying for it, but critics argue that it effectively imposes a requirement for paying a fee to link to a website."
Critics of the directive have been warning that it could damage the Internet's openness by forcing the adoption of upload filters and new limits on linking to news stories. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which calls itself "The leading nonprofit defending digital privacy, free speech, and innovation," has been vehemently opposed to the Copyright Directive, saying that the automated copyright filters that will need to be developed "will subject all communications of every European to interception and arbitrary censorship if a black-box algorithm decides their text, pictures, sounds or videos are a match for a known copyrighted work. They are a gift to fraudsters and criminals, to say nothing of censors, both government and private."

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