Archive for the ‘EU’ Category

Read more eu.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

poland government logo Poland is challenging the EU’s copyright directive in the EU Court of Justice (CJEU) on grounds of its threats to freedom of speech on the internet, Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz said on Friday.

The complaint especially addresses a mechanism obliging online services to run preventive checks on user content even without suspicion of copyright infringement. Czaputowicz explained at a press conference in Warsaw:

Poland has charged the copyright directive to the CJEU, because in our opinion it creates a fundamental threat to freedom of speech on the internet. Such censorship is forbidden both by the Polish constitution and EU law. The Charter of Fundamental Rights (of the European Union – PAP) guarantees freedom of speech.

The directive is to change the way online content is published and monitored. EU members have two years to introduce the new regulations. Against the directive are Poland, Holland, Italy, Finland and Luxembourg.

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

government of ireland logo Ireland’s Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan confirmed that the Irish government will consider a similar system to the UK’s so-called porn block law as part of new legislation on online safety. Flanagan said:

I would be very keen that we would engage widely to ensure that Ireland could benefit from what is international best practice here and that is why we are looking at what is happening in other jurisdictions.

The Irish communications minister Richard Bruton said there are also issues around privacy laws and this has to be carefully dealt with. H said:

It would be my view that government through the strategy that we have published, we have a cross-government committee who is looking at policy development to ensure online safety, and I think that forum is the forum where I believe we will discuss what should be done in that area because I think there is a genuine public concern, it hasn’t been the subject of the Law Reform Commission or other scrutiny of legislation in this area, but it was worthy of consideration, but it does have its difficulties, as the UK indeed has recognised also.

Read more eu.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

brexit drink A pair of entrepreneurs have been refused European trademark protection for their energy drink named Brexit after an EU body labelled it offensive.Pawel Tumilowicz and Mariusz Majchrzak had attempted to register their product Brexit with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (Euipo) after they launched the drink in October 2016.

But they were denied on the grounds that EU citizens would be deeply offended by the appropriation of the word. Euipo claimed:

Citizens across the EU would be deeply offended if the expression at issue was registered as a European Union trade mark.

The pair then appealed before Euipo’s Grand Board of Appea which rejected Euipo’s judgement that the word was offensive. However it ruled that Brexit could not be trademarked because it was not distinctive enough under EU law and would be confusing.

The high-caffeine drink – which is described on its website as the only reasonable solution in this situation – is branded with the Union Jack and was only named after the contentious political event for a laugh, the Telegraph reports.

Read more eu.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

ll natalia body art The director of Poland’s National Museum of Culture took it on himself to take down a classic 1975 artwork on the grounds that it might irritate sensitive young people.Consumer Art or Body Art is a video by Natalia Lach-Lachowicz, who goes by the name Natalia LL, showing a bare-shouldered woman eating a banana in a rather suggestive fashion.

The director also removed was a 2005 video by Katarzyna Kozyra that showed a woman holding a leash attached to two men dressed as dogs on all fours. He explained:

Certain topics related to gender shouldn’t be explicitly shown,

However the censorship by Museum Director Jerzy Miziolek was widely ridiculed. Many took to Instagram and other platforms to post photos of themselves eating bananas, including another prominent Polish artist, photographer Sylwia Kowalczyk, who posted:

This should not happen to any artist, male or female, Kowalczyk told CNN . Natalia Lach-Lachowicz is one of the icons of the Polish contemporary art and has her place in art history already.

Hundreds of people also gathered to eat bananas outside Poland’s national gallery in Warsaw on Monday to protest the censorship.

Responding to this public pressure Miziolek said that he would reinstate the Consumer Art exhibit — but only for another week, when the museum begins a renovation project. Whether Consumer Art would return after the renovations are complete remained unclear.

Miziolek was appointed by the right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) government’s Ministry of Culture. The ministry has consistently cut funding for the arts and fired arts staff who do not follow the party’s line. However the ministry denied it was involved in the decision to remove this artwork.

Read more eu.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

european parliament 2018 logo The European Parliament has approved a draft version of new EU internet censorship law targeting terrorist content.In particular the MEPs approved the imposition of a one-hour deadline to remove content marked for censorship by various national organisations. However the MEPs did not approve a key section of the law requiring internet companies to pre-process and censor terrorsit content prior to upload.

A European Commission official told the BBC changes made to the text by parliament made the law ineffective. The Commission will now try to restore the pre-censorship requirement with the new parliament when it is elected.

The law would affect social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, which could face fines of up to 4% of their annual global turnover. What does the law say?

In amendments, the European Parliament said websites would not be forced to monitor the information they transmit or store, nor have to actively seek facts indicating illegal activity.  It said the competent authority should give the website information on the procedures and deadlines 12 hours before the agreed one-hour deadline the first time an order is issued.

In February, German MEP Julia Reda of the European Pirate Party said the legislation risked the surrender of our fundamental freedoms [and] undermines our liberal democracy. Ms Reda welcomed the changes brought by the European Parliament but said the one-hour deadline was unworkable for platforms run by individual or small providers.

Read more eu.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

directive adopted The EU Council of Ministers has approved the Copyright Directive, which includes the link tax and censorship machines. The legislation was voted through by a majority of EU ministers despite noble opposition from Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Finland, and Sweden.As explained by Julia Reda MEP, a majority of 55% of Member States, representing 65% of the population, was required to adopt the legislation. That was easily achieved with 71.26% in favor, so the Copyright Directive will now pass into law.

As the image above shows, several countries voted against adoption, including Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Finland, and Sweden. Belgium, Estonia, and Slovenia absta ined.

But in the final picture that just wasn’t enough, with both Germany and the UK voting in favor, the Copyright Directive is now adopted.

EU member states will now have two years to implement the law, which requires platforms like YouTube to sign licensing agreements with creators in order to use their content. If that is not possible, they will have to ensure that infringing content uploaded by users is taken down and not re-uploaded to their services.

The entertainment lobby will not stop here, over the next two years, they will push for national implementations that ignore users’ fundamental rights, comments Julia Reda:

It will be more important than ever for civil society to keep up the pressure in the Member States!

Read more eu.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

EU flag A group of some of the best known internet pioneers have written an open letter explaining how the EU’s censorship law nominally targeting  terrorism will both chill the non terrorist internet whilst simultaneously advantaging US internet giants over smaller European businesses. The group writes:

EU Terrorist Content regulation will damage the internet in Europe without meaningfully
contributing to the fight against terrorism

Dear MEP Dalton,
Dear MEP Ward,
Dear MEP Reda,

As a group of pioneers, technologists, and innovators who have helped create and sustain today’s internet,
we write to you to voice our concern at proposals under consideration in the EU Terrorist Content
regulation.

Tackling terrorism and the criminal actors who perpetrate it is a necessary public policy objective, and the internet plays an important role in achieving this end. The tragic and harrowing incident in Christchurch, New Zealand earlier this month has underscored the continued threat terrorism poses to our fundamental freedoms, and the need to confront it in all its forms. However, the fight against terrorism does not preclude lawmakers from their responsibility to implement evidence-based law that is proportionate, justified, and supportive of its stated aim.

The EU Terrorist Content regulation, if adopted as proposed, will restrict the basic rights of European internet users and undercut innovation on the internet without meaningfully contributing to the fight against terrorism1. We are particularly concerned by the following aspects of the proposed Regulation:

  • ÂUnclear definition of terrorist content: The definition of ‘terrorist content’ is extremely broad, and includes no clear exemption for educational, journalistic, or research purposes. This creates the risk of over-removal of lawful and important public interest speech.
  • Lack of proportionality: The regulation applies equally to all internet hosting services, bringing thousands of services into scope that have no relevance to terrorist content. By not taking any account of the different types and sizes of online services, nor their exposure to such illegal content, the new rules would be far out of proportion with the stated aim of the proposal.
  • Unworkable takedown timeframes: The obligation to remove content within a mere 60 minutes of notification will likely lead to significant over-removal of lawful content and place a catastrophic compliance burden on micro, small, and medium-sized companies offering services within Europe. At the same time, it will greatly favour large multinational platforms that have already developed highly sophisticated content moderation operations
  • Reliance on upload filters and other ;proactive measures’: The draft regulation frames automated upload filters as ethef solution for terrorist content moderation at scale, and provides government agencies with the power to mandate how such upload filters and other proactive measures are designed and implemented. But upload filtering of ‘terrorist content’ is fraught with challenges and risks, and only a handful of online services have the resources and capacity to build or license such technology. As such, the proposal is setting a benchmark that only the largest platforms can meet. Moreover, upload filtering and related proactive measures risks suppressing important public interest content, such as news reports about terrorist incidents and dispatches from warzones

We fully support efforts to combat dangerous and illegal information on the internet, including through new legislation where appropriate. Yet as currently drafted, this Regulation risks inflicting harm on free expression and due process, competition and the possibility to innovate online5.

Given these likely ramifications we urge you to undertake a proper assessment of the proposal and make the necessary changes to ensure that the perverse outcomes described above are not realised. At the very least, any legislation of this nature must include far greater rights protection and be built around a proportionality criterion that ensures companies of all sizes and types can comply and compete in Europe.

Citizens in Europe look to you for leadership in developing progressive policy that protects their rights, ensures their companies can compete, and protects their public interest. This legislation in its current form runs contrary to those ambitions. We urge you to amend it, for the sake of European citizens and for the sake of the internet. Yours sincerely,

 Mitchell Baker Executive Chairwoman, The Mozilla Foundation and Mozilla Corporation Tim Berners-Lee Inventor of the World Wide Web and Founder of the Web Foundation Vint Cerf Internet Pioneer Brewster Kahle Founder & Digital Librarian, Internet Archive Jimmy Wales Founder of Wikipedia and Member of the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation Markus Beckedahl Founder, Netzpolitik; Co-founder, re:publica Brian Behlendorf Member of the EFF Board of Directors; Executive Director of Hyperledger at the Linux Foundation Cindy Cohn Executive Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation Cory Doctorow Author; Co-Founder of Open Rights Group; Visiting Professor at Open University (UK) Rebecca MacKinnon Co-founder, Global Voices; Director, Ranking Digital Rights Katherine Maher Chief Executive Officer of the Wikimedia Foundation Bruce Schneier Public-interest technologist; Fellow, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society; Lecturer, Harvard Kennedy School