The Committee on Legal Affairs of the European Parliament (EP) has given on Wednesday the green light to a reform of the european legislation on copyright which seeks to protect them through mechanisms that have been universally condemned by public figures such as Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales, the inventor of the web, Tim Berners-Lee or the Prince of Asturias award for his contribution to the birth of the internet Vinton Cerf.
The controversy comes in the wake of two specific articles. The number 11 would codify at the european level the infamous “rate Google” that has already led to that in our country disappear from Google News, and is to prevent the emergence of any similar service. The articles and news produced by newspapers could not be bound by any service with a snippet of text that allows to identify them without paying a license. This standard aims to go against Google for its News, social networks like Facebook and Twitter that include a small text when you share a link, collaborative services such as Reddit or even services analysis of the veracity of the news as a Fucking Hoax. To be able to bind freely these contents would have to wait 20 years.
But worse still, is the article 13, which obliges internet service providers “that host and serve the public with large amounts of content uploaded by its users”, to be implemented by filters that detect potential violations of the rights of author. That is to say, it obliges all providers powered by content from its users to implement algorithms such as the Content ID created by YouTube to identify fragments protected by copyright in the videos hosted on this platform. This system,despite having possibly the best engineers in the world, has eliminated such a video because it sounded birds chirping in the background because a song protected had used a similar sound, or one of the NASA landing on Mars for a report of a news agency that he had climbed and claimed as his own that content created by the same NASA…
Article 13 would require all the major social networks, from Instagram to Twitter, to set this kind of filters. We can forget about the memes, those images that tend to accompany an image protected by copyright with a text that makes it funny. The right of quotation and parody would be history on the internet. But in addition would also mean a huge barrier of entry for new services based on content uploaded by its users, who would have to implement algorithms extremely complicated to be able to work in Europe.
The Platform in Defence of the Freedom of Information (PDLI) has reacted with regret that the reform has passed its first hurdle. “From the PDLI we have opposed from the beginning to the reform of copyright in Europe because we find it unacceptable that it becomes, in fact, in a machine of the censorship, as we have been denouncing the organizations of defense of digital rights all this time,” he underlined the platform in a press release.
To the PDLI, article 13 imposes a “prior restraint automated” to what can be published or not on the internet. For the president of this organization, Virginia Pérez Alonso, there are “many precedents” where the rules of intellectual property “have been applied in fact to remove content uncomfortable”. “No one can deny the impact of the directive on the freedom of expression and access to information and these are higher principles to any particular economic interest. It would be grievous that the european legislators it passed by on high”, has opined Pérez Alonso.