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Discussion > EU Intellectual Property Rights for Internet Content.

I'm in many minds about this. My first thought is that artists - visual, moving, performance and written - are being cheated of their fees by the Wild West of the Internet. My second instinct is that the vast exchange of free stuff has also created a market for said stuff. Like early pirate games, the more you could get hold of, the more you were hooked. A lot of money usually finds its way to the people who generate the next games fix if not the first. People could/would only buy a certain amount of software and kit. If games became too expensive, people bought fewer and then didn't upgrade to the latest equipment. If they hadn't got the latest equipment, they couldn't run the latest games. People installed a lot of pirate games but it didn't kill the market - far from it.

Is the same happening for the other media? Written media is varied. I know the newspapers are suffering but that's in part because so many people are prepared to offer their opinion for free (see Bishop Hill comments) and we aren’t that fussed if the opinion is from Joe Bloggs mechanic or Joe Bloggs Guardian reporter. Print media gets advertising money but have in part killed their own goose by allowing advertisers to intrude too much on readers attention and attach tracking, data collecting cookies to said readers. Readers have the retaliated by excluding adverts altogether if they can. But news sites are benefiting from reader comments, which are a massive draw and a liability headache. The bottom line though is people are reading a lot, probably more than they used to.

You Tube, Instagram, Pinterest etc host both user content and pirated content. I can see why original artists are angry, especially if they don't get any benefit. I'm working on my own web content and to use other works I've had to buy ancient books that are free of copyright to illustrate the authenticity of my work. I'm creating my own 3D images, that are populated with my own photograph textures. All mine. How will I feel if someone has it on Pinterest before people read my site? But if there was no internet I'd not have got my research done, nor have a potential audience for the result. On balance the free internet has benefited me in such a way that without it I’d have nothing for others to rip off, and so I can’t really support the EU’s interference.

It’s tempting to not want things to change but a better way would be to work out how content could be fairly shared for fees that grow with success but are not crippling to the individual. It’s wrong that the internet giants make obscene profits from both their willing customers and unwilling content generators. It’s not like the internet is going away now, which was a risk in the early days.

How would you make things fair?

Mar 26, 2019 at 2:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Fair question - but it's a marketplace .... so economic rules apply - the ease with which technology allows unrestricted copying has damaged some content providers - mainly music and film - I wonder how much games content is nicked these days - not much I'd guess....

I really do think that the bureaucrats in the Berlaymont don't give a toss about content providers - they just want to keep squeezing out rules which generally don't apply to them.

Mar 26, 2019 at 7:29 PM | Registered Commentertomo

For those wanting more info, there is a link to a BBC article about this. For once, I think it's reasonably balanced and informative:

Mar 26, 2019 at 8:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

FWIW, here's Russia Today's take on it:

"'Dark day for internet freedom': EU lawmakers approve controversial copyright reform"

The European Parliament has voted to adopt the highly controversial Article 13 provision which would govern the production and distribution of content online under the auspices of increasing copyright protections.
Tuesday’s move will update the EU's 20-year-old copyright rules and will govern audiovisual content, much to the dismay of many social media users who have already begun outpouring their grief online.

However the parliament said in a statement that sharing memes and gifs has been protected “even more than it was before” and they will continue to be available and shareable on online platforms.

MEPs passed the legislation by 348 votes to 274 Tuesday. Opponents had hoped for last-minute amendments to be made but their efforts were in vain.

Julia Reda, a German MEP with the Pirate Party, described it as a “dark day for internet freedom."

Article 13 or ‘The Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market’ makes all platforms legally responsible for the content hosted and shared on their platforms.

The process of updating the bloc's copyright laws began in the European Commission two years ago, ostensibly to protect Europe's publishers, broadcasters and artists and guarantee fair compensation from big tech companies.

EU member states now have two years to pass their own laws putting Article 13 into effect.

The law will require anyone sharing copyrighted content to obtain permission from rights owners, even if the content is just an animated GIF on Twitter. To protect their platforms from legal trouble, sites such as Facebook and Wikipedia will now be forced to implement “upload filters” to ensure that user-generated content doesn’t violate copyright.

Expensive to implement, vulnerable to bugs, and prone to inadvertently censoring lawful content, such filters have been slammed by critics as an existential threat to free expression on the internet.

Tens of thousands marched in protest across Germany ahead of the vote, decrying what they viewed as severe online censorship.

Tech giant Google said that while the directive is “improved” it will still lead to legal uncertainty and will damage Europe’s creative and digital economies.

Critics have argued that the only way for Article 13 to be effectively enforced would be through the use of upload filters which automatically check content to see if it's copyrighted or not, at least in theory. However, the exact mechanics of such a system have yet to be fully debated and the potential for abuse is immediately clear.

Mar 27, 2019 at 7:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

Taking an image or a short clip from popular culture and using it for parody or comparison is fair enough but a lot of people go further than that, using music or images as they please. Sometimes it would help if there was a more competative market for buying and selling images. I've needed some myself for amateur playbills and was limited by what was available. Working out what is available music for use on the internet is very confusing. Clamping down might create a better market. Might.

Mar 27, 2019 at 7:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Tiny CO2, I have no clear view on this subject, but I do wonder if the EU's approach might be the first step towards changing the young's apparently relentless pro-EU stance. Given the young's love affair with the internet, if the EU clamps down on that, maybe there'll be a reaction against the EU?

Mar 27, 2019 at 8:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterMark Hodgson

I think the EU just wants to add another strand to its overall control, plus make the opportunity to tax more. Individuals are easier to tax, either through income or VAT, than multinationals. There is a basic issue of theft but as policing real world burglary has become too much trouble, I don't see why virtual theft should be an issue, other than it can be done from a comfy chair.

Mar 28, 2019 at 11:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Democracy EU style

Mar 28, 2019 at 1:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2