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Why I am against the EU Copyright Directive

2019-03-17 15:27

Update 2019-03-19: The argumentation below is wrong. A forum won't be considered a "online content sharing service provider" according to the definition of Article 2 (5) (page 51 of the full text of the final version). I'm sorry for this misinformation. I keep the text below for reference so that others can see what I got wrong.

There are many arguments against the EU Copyright Directive (more correct Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market) some I agree with, some I don't. Hence, here's my take on why I think that directive should be stopped. Short versions is: it strengthens the big platforms and weakens/destroys the small ones.

My hope is that this blog post will get more people interested in that topic and hopefully make you join the European wide protests on Saturday March 23rd 2019. If you want to join, there's an interactive map of all known protests created by the folks from stopACTA2.

Intro

It is confusing that platforms like YouTube are against the directive, it sounds like they have a lot to lose, hence they try everything they can against it. For me, this is normally a sign, that such a directive is exactly what it should do.

But it this case, it's not. YouTube will surely have its own reasons being against it. But what is more important for me is, that if the directive is approved by the European Parliament, the small platforms will almost have no chance to survive.

Why small platforms will die

There are exceptions in the directive for some platforms. You can find those in the full text of the final version at paragraph (38b), page 36. But those exceptions won't help all smaller platforms. For example a discussion board which is older than 3 years and has advertising to cover the server costs wouldn't be excluded. They would be liable for every copyright infringement.

It could be a small as a profile picture, let's say yours is Luke Skywalker. That platform could block custom profile pictures, but that still won't be enough. Someone could post some copyrighted text. But how would you make a discussion board without the users being able to post text? So the only way to not being liable would be to check for all infringements (how would you do that?), or close the platform.

Outro

I tried to keep it intentionally short and highlight the issue that matters to me most. Of course there's a lot more issues regarding the EU Copyright Directive, so if you want to know more, go to websites like savetheinternet.info, stopACTA2 or Julia Reda's website who is a Member of the European Parliament and puts lots of efforts in explaining and spreading the word on why the directive should be stopped (also follow her on Twitter). Thanks a lot Julia for doing such an amazing work!

Categories: en, EU, politics, copyright

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By Volker Mische

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