Internet: Article 13 of the EU the end of freedom of speech

The Internet is seen as a bastion of freedom of speech. It is the place where you can say anything about anything on any of the commenting pages. You can share music, videos, code, thoughts or whatever you want.

That could change, with Article 13 of the European Union (EU) just being voted on by the EU Legal Affairs Committee (JURI). If it is finally approved, we will lose the freedom of speech on the internet as we know it today.Internet

In the United States, Article 230 of the Telecommunications Flexibility Act, part of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, guarantees freedom of speech on the Internet. This means that "no provider or user of an interactive computer service is treated as the publisher of any information provided by another digital content provider".

The law is vital, as it provides online platforms with legal protection for most of the content posted by their users. This means that you can say anything you want in the comments, and Reddit, YouTube, or any other site can not be held responsible.

With Article 13, we will see a completely different online world. Each page or service should check every word, sound, video, code, or image to see if it is copyright infringing. In short, control over everything.

The "solution" of Article 13 is to force all sites to filter every post according to a database containing copyrighted works. Websites should also allow copyright holders to update this database

Think about it for a moment. You want to write a quick reply to an article, and type it. Then you should expect to see it after it has been censored and does not contain anything copyrighted.

Google and Facebook could create software that could automate the process.

But as he points out Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), even for platforms that establish filtering, users will find that the video, audio, text and code they upload will be monitored and may be ruled out if the automated system even incorrectly detects a breach Copyright. "There is no way for an automated system to reliably determine when the use of an intellectual property right should be restricted or excluded under European law."

In one letter to the EU (PDF) several experts report:

As creators, we share the concern that there should be a fair distribution of revenue from the electronic use of copyrighted works, both for authors, publishers and platforms. But this is not the right way to achieve this. By requiring Internet platforms to automatically filter the content uploaded by their users, Article 13 takes an unprecedented step towards turning the Internet from an open exchange and innovation platform into a tool for automated user monitoring and control. of.


Instead of affecting only the major US Internet platforms (which can afford the cost of compliance), the burden of Article 13 will fall more heavily on their competitors (European companies and SMEs). The cost of installing the necessary auto-filtering technologies will be expensive and burdensome while the necessary technologies have not yet been developed to a point where their reliability is ensured.

The impact of Article 13 will also fall heavily on ordinary Internet platform users who share music or videos, but also on those who upload photos, text or code to the Internet and on collaboration platforms such as Wikipedia and GitHub.

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