A Brief Respite of Copyright Sanity

This is not a common thing, but the rules proposed were awful, requiring fees to be paid for linking, and prohibiting the use of snippets:

A controversial overhaul of the EU’s copyright law that sparked a fierce debate between internet giants and content creators has been rejected.

The proposed rules would have put more responsibility on websites to check for copyright infringements, and forced platforms to pay for linking to news.

A slew of high-profile music stars had backed the change, arguing that websites had exploited their content.

These sites cannot use their content without permission from the designated license holders for this content, in this case the record labels, who, as always, have screwed the artists.

That is not a problem with Spotify, that is a problem with your agents.

But opponents said the rules would stifle internet freedom and creativity.

The move was intended to bring the EU’s copyright laws in line with the digital age, but led to protests from websites and much debate before it was rejected by a margin of 318-278 in the European Parliament on Thursday.

What were they voting for?

The proposed legislation – known as the Copyright Directive – was an attempt by the EU to modernise its copyright laws, but it contained two highly-contested parts.

The first of these, Article 11, was intended to protect newspapers and other outlets from internet giants like Google and Facebook using their material without payment.

But it was branded a “link tax” by opponents who feared it could lead to problems with sentence fragments being used to link to other news outlets (like this).

Article 13 was the other controversial part. It put a greater responsibility on websites to enforce copyright laws, and would have meant that any online platform that allowed users to post text, images, sounds or code would need a way to assess and filter content.

The most common way to do this is by using an automated copyright system, but they are expensive. The one YouTube uses cost $60m (£53m), so critics were worried that similar filters would need to be introduced to every website if Article 13 became law.

There were also concerns that these copyright filters could effectively ban things like memes and remixes which use some copyrighted material.

There will be another bite at the apple on this in a few months though.

I expect them to move a few commas, and lobby the sh%$ out of MEPs to switch their votes.

This law is bad, and not just on its own merit.

This law is bad because these sort of expansions of IP are misused and abused to extract even greater rents.

If you were to have told a Congressman in 1998 that the law would be used to prevent people from refilling ink cartridges, or using universal garage door openers, they would have laughed in your face, but both of those things happened within 2 years of adoption of the law.

Whatever form this law takes, its will be worse than its most ardent opponents predict, because that is where the money is.

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