Archive for the ‘EU’ Category

Read more eu.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

european commission logo Tech companies that fail to remove terrorist content quickly could soon face massive fines. The European Commission proposed new rules on Wednesday that would require internet platforms to remove illegal terror content within an hour of it being flagged by national authorities. Firms could be fined up to 4% of global annual revenue if they repeatedly fail to comply.Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR) and YouTube owner Google (GOOGL) had already agreed to work with the European Union on a voluntary basis to tackle the problem. But the Commission said that progress has not been sufficient.

A penalty of 4% of annual revenue for 2017 would translate to $4.4 billion for Google parent Alphabet and $1.6 billion for Facebook.

The proposal is the latest in a series of European efforts to control the activities of tech companies.

The terror content proposal needs to be approved by the European Parliament and EU member states before becoming law.

Advertisements
Read more eu.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

European Parliament logo The European Parliament has voted to approve new copyright powers enabling the big media industry to control how their content is used on the internet.Article 11 introduces the link tax which lets news companies control how their content is used. The target of the new law is to make Google pay newspapers for its aggregating Google News service. The collateral damage is that millions of websites can now be harangued for linking to and quoting articles, or even just sharing links to them.

Article 13 introduces the requirements for user content sites to create censorship machines that pre-scan all uploaded content and block anything copyrighted. The original proposal, voted on in June, directly specified content hosts use censorship machines (or filters as the EU prefers to call them). After a cosmetic rethink since June, the law no longer specifies automatic filters, but instead specifies that content hosts are responsible for copyright published. And of course the only feasible way that content hosts can ensure they are not publishing copyrighted material is to use censorship machines anyway. The law was introduced, really with just the intention of making YouTube and Facebook pay more for content from the big media companies. The collateral damage to individuals and small businesses was clearly of no concern to the well lobbied MEPs.

Both articles will introduce profound new levels of censorship to all users of the internet, and will also mean that there will reduced opportunities for people to get their contributions published or noticed on the internet. This is simply because the large internet companies are commercial organisations and will always make decisions with costs and profitability in mind. They are not state censors with a budget to spend on nuanced decision making. So the net outcome will be to block vast swathes of content being uploaded just in case it may contain copyright.

An example to demonstrate the point is the US censorship law, FOSTA. It requires content hosts to block content facilitating sex trafficking. Internet companies generally decided that it was easier to block all adult content rather than to try and distinguish sex trafficking from non-trafficking sex related content. So sections of websites for dating and small ads, personal services etc were shut down overnight.

The EU however has introduced a few amendments to the original law to slightly lessen the impact an individuals and small scale content creators.

  • Article 13 will now only apply to platforms where the main purpose …is to store and give access to the public or to stream significant amounts of copyright protected content uploaded / made available by its users and that optimise content and promotes for profit making purposes .
  • When defining best practices for Article 13, special account must now be taken of fundamental rights, the use of exceptions and limitations. Special focus should also be given to ensuring that the burden on SMEs remain appropriate and that automated blocking of content is avoided (effectively an exception for micro/small businesses). Article 11 shall not extend to mere hyperlinks, which are accompanied by individual words (so it seems links are safe, but quoted snippets of text must be very short) and the protection shall also not extend to factual information which is reported in journalistic articles from a press publication and will therefore not prevent anyone from reporting such factual information .
  • Article 11 shall not prevent legitimate private and non-commercial use of press publications by individual users .
  • Article 11 rights shall expire 5 years after the publication of the press publication. This term shall be calculated from the first day of January of the year following the date of publication. The right referred to in paragraph 1 shall not apply with retroactive effect .
  • Individual member states will now have to decide how Article 11 is implemented, which could create some confusion across borders.

At the same time, the EU rejected the other modest proposals to help out individuals and small creators:

  • No freedom of panorama. When we take photos or videos in public spaces, we’re apt to incidentally capture copyrighted works: from stock art in ads on the sides of buses to t-shirts worn by protestors, to building facades claimed by architects as their copyright. The EU rejected a proposal that would make it legal Europe-wide to photograph street scenes without worrying about infringing the copyright of objects in the background.
  • No user-generated content exemption, which would have made EU states carve out an exception to copyright for using excerpts from works for criticism, review, illustration, caricature, parody or pastiche.

A final round of negotiation with the EU Council and European Commission is now due to take place before member states make a decision early next year. But this is historically more of a rubber stamping process and few, if any, significant changes are expected.

However, anybody who mistakenly thinks that Brexit will stop this from impacting the UK should be cautious. Regardless of what the EU approves, the UK might still have to implement it, and in any case the current UK Government supports many of the controversial new measures.

Read more eu.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

the rise of machines 2018 The European Parliament has approved a disgraceful copyright law that threatens to destroy the internet as we know it.The rulehands 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.

MEPs voted 438 in favour of the measures, 226 against, with 39 abstentions. The vote introduced Articles 11 and 13 to the directive, dubbed the link tax and censorship machines.

Article 13 puts the onus of policing for copyright infringement on the websites themselves. This forces web giants like YouTube and Facebook to scan uploaded content to stop the unlicensed sharing of copyrighted material. If the internet companies find that such scanning does not work well, or makes the service unprofitable, the companies could pull out of allowing users to post at all on topics where the use of copyright material is commonplace.

The second amendment to the directive, Article 11, is intended to give publishers and newspapers a way to make money when companies like Google link to their stories.Search engines and online platforms like Twitter and Facebook will have to pay a license to link to news publishers when quoting portions of text from these outlets.

Following Wednesday’s vote, EU lawmakers will now take the legislation to talks with the European Commission and the 28 EU countries.

Read more eu.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

eff machine 0300x0150In exactly one week, the European Parliament will hold a crucial debate and vote on a proposal so terrible , it can only be called an extinction-level event for the Internet as we know it.

At issue is the text of the new EU Copyright Directive, which updates the 17-year-old copyright regulations for the 28 member-states of the EU. It makes a vast array of technical changes to EU copyright law, each of which has stakeholders rooting for it, guaranteeing that whatever the final text says will become the law of the land across the EU.

The Directive was pretty uncontroversial, right up to the day last May when the EU started enforcing the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a seismic event that eclipsed all other Internet news for weeks afterward. On that very day, a German MEP called Axl Voss quietly changed the text of the Directive to reintroduce two long-discarded proposals — “Article 11” and “Article 13” — proposals that had been evaluated by the EU’s own experts and dismissed as dangerous and unworkable.

Under Article 11 — the ” link tax ” — online services are banned from allowing links to news services on their platforms unless they get a license to make links to the news; the rule does not define “news service” or “link,” leaving 28 member states to make up their own definitions and leaving it to everyone else to comply with 28 different rules.

Under Article 13 — the ” censorship machines ” — anyone who allows users to communicate in public by posting audio, video, stills, code, or anything that might be copyrighted — must send those posts to a copyright enforcement algorithm. The algorithm will compare it to all the known copyrighted works (anyone can add anything to the algorithm’s database) and censor it if it seems to be a match.

These extreme, unworkable proposals represent a grave danger to the Internet. The link tax means that only the largest, best-funded companies will be able to offer a public space where the news can be discussed and debated. The censorship machines are a gift to every petty censor and troll (just claim copyright in an embarrassing recording and watch as it disappears from the Internet!), and will add hundreds of millions to the cost of operating an online platform, guaranteeing that Big Tech’s biggest winners will never face serious competition and will rule the Internet forever.

That’s terrible news for Europeans, but it’s also alarming for all the Internet’s users, especially Americans.

The Internet’s current winners — Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Amazon — are overwhelmingly American, and they embody the American regulatory indifference to surveillance and privacy breaches.

But the Internet is global, and that means that different regions have the power to export their values to the rest of the world. The EU has been a steady source of pro-privacy, pro-competition, public-spirited Internet rules and regulations, and European companies have a deserved reputation for being less prone to practicing ” surveillance capitalism ” and for being more thoughtful about the human impact of their services.

In the same way that California is a global net exporter of lifesaving emissions controls for vehicles, the EU has been a global net exporter of privacy rules, anti-monopoly penalties, and other desperately needed corrections for an Internet that grows more monopolistic, surveillant, and abusive by the day.

Many of the cheerleaders for Articles 11 and 13 talk like these are a black eye for Google and Facebook and other U.S. giants, and it’s true that these would result in hundreds of millions in compliance expenditures by Big Tech, but it’s money that Big Tech (and only Big Tech) can afford to part with. Europe’s much smaller Internet companies need not apply.

It’s not just Europeans who lose when the EU sells America’s tech giants the right to permanently rule the Internet: it’s everyone, because Europe’s tech companies, co-operatives, charities, and individual technologists have the potential to make everyone’s Internet experience better. The U.S. may have a monopoly on today’s Internet, but it doesn’t have a monopoly on good ideas about how to improve tomorrow’s net.

The global Internet means that we have friends and colleagues and family all over the world. No matter where you are in the world today, please take ten minutes to get in touch with two friends in the EU , send them this article, and then ask them to get in touch with their MEPs by visiting Save Your Internet .

Take Action

There’s only one Internet and we all live on it. Europeans rose up to kill ACTA , the last brutal assault on Internet freedom, helping Americans fight our own government’s short-sighted foolishness; now the rest of the world can return the favor to our friends in the EU.

Read more eu.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

org copyright 0400x0133 In July MEPs voted down plans to fast-track the Copyright Directive, derailing Article 13’s plan to turn Internet platforms into copyright enforcers.

Yet the fight to stop Article 13’s vision of the Internet – one where all speech is approved or rejected by an automated upload filter – is not over.

On 12 September MEPs will vote once again, but this time as of yet unknown amendments will be added to the mix. Bad ideas like Article 13 – and perhaps worse – will be voted on individually, so it’s not a simple up or down vote. To identify and oppose bad amendments, MEPs must understand exactly why Article 13 threatens free speech.

Many MEPs are undecided. Please write to them now. You can use the points below to construct your own unique message. IF YOU’RE OUTSIDE THE UK use this tool instead: https://saveyourinternet.eu .

  • Oppose changes to Internet platform liability. If platforms become liable for user content, they will have no choice but to scan all uploads with automated filters.

  • Say no to upload filters. Filters struggle to identify the vital legal exceptions to copyright that enable research, commentary, creative works, parody and more. Poor judgement means innocent speech gets blocked along with copyright violations.

  • Internet companies do not make good copyright enforcers. To avoid liability penalties, platforms will err on the side of caution and over-block.

  • Free speech takes precedence over copyright. Threatening free expression is way too high a price to pay for the sake of copyright enforcement.

  • General monitoring of all content is technically infeasible. No filter can possibly review every form of content covered in Article 13’s extraorindarily wide mandate which includes text, audio, video, images and software.

  • If you are part of a tech business, or a creator, like a musician, photographer, video editor or a writer, let your MEP know!

Read more eu.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

uk music love In 15 days’ time, MEPs will again vote on censorship machines and link tax in copyright proposals of Article 13. The legislation would see platforms such as YouTube compelled to introduce upload filters, to prevent unlicensed content being offered to the public. A new ‘Love Music’ campaign, bankrolled by powerful industry players, aims to ensure a thumbs-up from MEPs. But the opposition is out, in force.

In 2016, the European Commission announced plans to modernize EU copyright law, something that was to later develop into a worldwide controversy. A major part of the proposal is Article 13, a text that aims to make online services liable for uploaded content unless they take effective and proportionate measures to prevent copyright infringements. The implication is that platforms such as YouTube would be compelled to implement upload filtering and then proactively monitor to prevent future infringing uploads.

The #LOVEMUSIC campaign site asks visitors to add their signature to the Make Internet Fair petition, which calls on EU decision-makers to recognize that platforms like YouTube are involved in reproducing and making our works available under copyright laws and ensure that the safe harbor non-liability regime does not apply to them as it is meant for technical intermediaries only.

While most protests are taking place on the Internet, the platform that will be most affected by Article 13, opponents of the proposed legislation have been urged to gather in public too. Julia Reda MEP previously published details of a day of action to take place yesterday in various locations around Europe, but that will be just the tip of the protest iceberg as September 12th draws closer.

Following their shock defeat in July, major players in the music industry called foul, claiming that the protests had been automated and organized by big tech, something addressed by Reda recently. She wrote:

They’re claiming the protest was all fake, generated by bots and orchestrated by big internet companies. According to them, Europeans don’t actually care about their freedom of expression.

We don’t actually care about EU lawmaking enough to make our voices heard. We will just stand idly by as our internet is restricted to serve corporate interests.

To prove these predictions wrong, one of the focal points of the ‘NO’ campaign is a Change.org petition . At the time of writing it has in excess of 951,000 signatories, with the million target probably just a few days away.

But it is not just the music companies that are ‘Love Censorship’. Journalists from 20 countries joined the call for European MPs to approve the censorship proposals. News companies also see the article 13 censorship rules as helping them to claim more money from the internet giants.An open letter signed by more than 100 prominent journalists from major news outlets warns that the internet companies are fleecing of the media of their rightful revenue was morally and democratically unjustifiable. The letter written by AFP foreign correspondent Sammy Ketz says:

We have become targets and our reporting missions cost more and more. Yet, even though (the media) pay for the content and send the journalists who will risk their lives to produce a trustworthy, thorough and diverse news service, it is not they who reap the profits but the internet platforms, which help themselves without paying a cent.

It is as if a stranger came along and shamelessly snatched the fruits of your labour.

Critics, however, argue the reform will lead to blanket censorship by tech platforms that have become an online hub for creativity, especially YouTube. They say it will also restrict the usage of memes and remixes by everyday internet surfers.

Unfortunately the numbers taking to the street in protests yesterday weren’t too great. Between 80 and 150 people came to the protest in Berlin, according to various estimates, but most other events seemed to have fewer than two dozen. Based on photographs shared online, it seems that all of the protests combined drew between 500 and 800 people in total.

It would be foolish to expect a million people to take to the streets over copyright legislation, and the lack of protest doesn’t prove that Europeans don’t object to Article 13. Certainly, some do. But the actual number seems smaller than hoped.

Read more awwb.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

european commission logoProposals to make fingerprinting of all identity card holders in the EU obligatory were published by the European Commission in April as part of proposal on strengthening the security of identity cards and residence documents.The proposal published by the Commission says that all EU Member States will be obliged to introduce a uniform format for their identity cards (if they issue them) and that they must include a facial image and two fingerprints – the latter being included, in the words of the Commission, to further increase effectiveness in terms of security.

This measure flies in the face of the conclusions reached in the Commission’s own impact assessment, which said that a proposal excluding mandatory fingerprinting would be more efficient and proportional.

The Commission has made no attempt to justify the necessity and proportionality of what is a serious intrusion on the rights to privacy and data protection – biometric data qualifies as a special category of personal data under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and requires suitable and specific safeguards.

The proposals were sent to the Council for the consideration of the Member States, whose representatives in the Working Party on Frontiers first examined the proposals on 4 May. They have been discussed on three further occasions since then.