Copyright Directive: The European Parliament voted one new set of intellectual property regulations, something that upset them activists of digital rights. Activists fear the new regulations will make it harder to distribute content and set up new Internet censorship mechanisms.
The Copyright Directive is not yet complete, but is the subject of "tripartite negotiations" between the EU countries, represented by the Council of the European Union, the European Commission and Parliament. The resulting regulations will have to be re-adopted by the European Parliament before they can enter into force.
However, Wednesday's vote means that many of the controversial parts of the regulation, which are about publishers' rights and download filters, are very likely to remain.
What articles are we talking about? Let's take a look:
Copyright Directive Article 11
Article 11 will give new e-news publishers a new right: if someone copies even a small snippet of text from an article, they will need permission. The big target here, of course, is Google News, and Google is supposed to pay publishers to reproduce the titles of their articles.
This idea, known in law as "ancillary copyright", has been tried before, with disastrous consequences. The term and law originated in Germany, where major media companies pushed the government for a new ancillary copyright law that was finally passed five years ago.
At the time, Google News included not only headlines but also larger articles. As soon as the new law came into force, publishers began filing lawsuits against Google for licensing fees. Google reacted and stopped playing excerpts from the articles. So the lawsuits quickly collapsed, giving Google a temporary exemption. Years later, and despite ongoing legal disputes, Google has paid nothing.
In Spain, major publishers have called on the government to pass even stricter copyright laws. This time, in response, Google simply shut down Google News services in the country.
The result was, of course, disastrous for the small Spanish publishers, who relied on Google News. Also the small local news collectors did not have the money to pay.
Despite the above experiences from Germany and Spain, last year, the European Commissioner for Intellectual Property decided to try to introduce ancillary copyright throughout the EU. So we came to Wednesday's resolution allowing free movement URLs accompanied by "individual words" and no longer with snippets of text such as whole titles.
If the Copyright Directive finally passes Article 11 as it stands now, Google could shut down Google News across the EU. The only ones of course to benefit will be major news publishers who are based on the recognition of their domain in their domestic markets.
This is how the competition based on the free flow of information on the Internet goes.
Copyright Directive Article 13
Article 13 will affect all online services that host and promote user-generated content. In short, if this content infringes on someone else's copyright, the platform will be responsible for its distribution.
This means that platforms of all kinds will have to use filters to stop their users from uploading things they should not.
In 2016, Google said it had spent $ 60 million developing such a system. The system searches for copyrighted digital traces by assigning a Content ID to each known project. However, as it was discovered in the process of uploading innocent videos, Content ID does not work perfectly. Several YouTube submissions have been mistakenly rejected for copyright infringement. Typical example one 10 hour video white noise and the recordings of a renowned British pianist who played Bach works.
Copyright Directive: Lobby Tactics
Although the big tech companies are reacting almost unanimously to the new regulation, the big media are not. But there are many who believe that this movement is orchestrated by her Big Tech.
There is a dose of truth in this. The Financial Times reported that Google tried to reach out to publishers with a program that finances the development of new electronic media models, to put pressure on Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) for the new regulation.
However, Google may benefit from the Intellectual Property Directive. It has the resources to pay for filtration systems, something that smaller rival companies cannot afford.
Also, if he has to shut down Google News in Europe, he will do so without hesitation, despite paying billions to thousands of publishers.
Of course, many questions arise with all of the above. The possession and distribution of information (as it is convenient) is a feature of oppressive regimes. On the other hand, who can guarantee that even the big tech companies will use this power transparently? The examples that we have lately tell us the opposite.
The final stage of the battle (the European Parliament's last vote) on the Copyright Directive will probably take place in the spring, shortly before the parliamentary elections.