If you’re European, in a couple of weeks you will be denied any and all access to fandom contents on Tumblr and everywhere else on the internet. Here’s why.
On June, 20th the JURI of European Parliament approved of the articles 11 and 13 of the new Copyright Law. These articles are also known as the “Link Tax” and the “Censorship Machines” articles.
Articles 13 in particular forces every internet platform to filter all the contents we upload online, ending once and for all the fandom culture. Which means you won’t be able to upload any type of fandom works like fan arts, fan fictions, gif sets from your favourite films and series, edits, because it’s all copyrighted material. And you won’t also be able to share, enjoy or download other’s contents, because the use of links will be completely restricted.
But not everything’s lost yet. There’s another round of voting scheduled for the early days of July.
What you can do now to save our internet, is to share these informations with all of your family members and friends, and to ask to your MEP (the members of the European Parliament from your country) to vote NO at the next round, to vote against articles 11 and 13.
Here you can find more news and all the details to contact your MEP:
Also, sign and share this petition:
We have just a couple of weeks to stop this complete madness, don’t let them dictating the way we enjoy our internet.
It’s funny how y’all will reblog any and all US things but when whole Europe might lose access to internet then everything is quiet.
Hey, guys! It’s me, your friendly neighborhood law student!
I am seeing this circling my dashboard (yet again) and I would like to say a few things about it. Once again, as I have stated before when I’ve weighed in on something, I am not a lawyer (yet). But, that being said…
Please stop being sensationalist. There are many legitimate criticisms of this directive, but these are not the criticisms I am seeing being spread around. Instead, what’s being spread around amounts to fearmongering. I don’t blame you for doing so – the vast majority of this is being started by the people this will hit hardest, AKA big corporate giants such as Google, Amazon and Microsoft. They have the kind of press pull that very easily leads to this kind of panic.
So, for any of my followers having anxiety about this, let me soothe your worries and address them point by point.
1. “This will destroy the internet in two weeks”
No, no, it won’t. This is a directive, meaning (unlike, say, the the last thing to bring my work onto my tumblr, the fucking GDPR) that it leaves the goals of the directive open to somewhat free implementation by member states, as long as the basic goals of the directive are met on time. As such, it will be years before we actually see any binding legislation as a result of this directive, and how member states choose to implement it will vary on the state in question.
2. “Article 11 will completely restrict the use of links”
Article 11, AKA what is being referred to as the link tax, essentially implements what we call the ancillary copyright of press publishers. This right gives press publishers the right to demand compensation when snippets of their content are displayed on other web pages. So, essentially, this is an article almost directly designed to bop Google (who currently holds the kind of leading market position that the EU sees as incredibly problematic because it kind of goes against everything the EU stands for) on the nose. This would force Google (and, with it, other companies) to compensate the writers of articles that are mirrored to their sites in a truncated form, often leading to less traffic to the actual site in question and thus the mirroring site gaining the revenue that would otherwise be due to the writer of the article.
Now – there are legitimate criticisms of this, which mostly hinge on the fact that forcing people to pay the content creator for content they are using may lead some people to stop using that content. Personally, I think it’s better for people to receive compensation for their work, even if it comes at the cost of less sharing of the work. You are allowed to disagree. The most legitimate form of criticism of this article, in my humble opinion, is that it may lead to a picking and choosing of what content to share and what not to. The thing is – is this not something that is being done already? What does this article add to that other than to make sure that if you do choose to share someone else’s work, that other party gets compensated accordingly?
3. “Article 13 will destroy fandom culture”
No, no, it won’t. The vast majority of fandom culture falls under what US law refers to as fair use and most European national laws (which, in the case of EU countries, are harmonized according to the European Union Copyright Directive) refer to as private use. Article 13 in and of itself does not change the allowances made for private use of media in derivative works already. It merely mandates that companies must take effective measures to stop the users of their services from sharing media that infringes on copyright.
Again, I am in the boring camp of agreeing with the EU – I believe it is better for people to be compensated for their work. If the way we are currently using media in fandom is infringing on copyright, then I think we should stop using it that way. You are entirely welcome to disagree with me on this. Notice how the wording of the article constantly emphasizes how measures taken must be appropriate and proportionate. How the the content recognition technology is mentioned as an example of effective measures that could be taken to stop the uploading and sharing of copyrighted works, not as the only way of doing so. Notice how the entire third paragraph of this article deals with best practices and appropriate and proportionate technology which takes into account the availability and effectiveness of technology – so, essentially, if it sucks and flags too many things as infringing on copyright, it should not be used because it is not appropriate, proportionate or effective. And that’s right there in the directive.
And, yet again, there are legitimate criticisms of this article, including the one mentioned in the OP I am replying to regarding the limitations of sharing copyrighted material on, say, Youtube. That’s true – but you haven’t been allowed to upload full films onto Youtube as is, have you? Videos with copyrighted music in the background have been muted or deleted, as well. The most legitimate criticism I’ve seen is that these automatic copyright infringement flagging algorithms are generally overzealous, and this could lead to over-censoring of content that would actually fall under fair use/personal use/whatever you want to call it. That’s true, very true – but the article doesn’t require countries to enforce algorithms being used if they don’t work as they should. See above paragraph.
So, in conclusion: yes, this directive could stand to be worded better. Yes, it may technically lead to the kinds of doomsday scenarios people are imagining – but I really don’t think it will. In fact, I doubt you’ll notice much difference when (in a few years) these laws actually start getting implemented. Notice how no one has heard about the GDPR for like three weeks now, even though we’re living in that supposedly apocalyptic post-GDPR world? (I say, bitterly, as I wade through piles of GDPR every day at work… :D)
Still don’t like the directive proposal? That’s totally fine. By all means, call up your MEP, take a stand! Now, you’re doing it for the right reasons.
Articles cited retrieved from https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A52016PC0593 on 21.06.18 at around 10AM GMT.
Hey, guys! It’s me, your friendly neighborhood law student!
- “Article 13 will destroy fandom culture”
It merely mandates that companies must take effective measures to stop the users of their services from sharing media that infringes on copyright.
Yes, that’s what we said.
Hey guys, it’s me, your friendly neighborhood programmer!
The only way to accomplish the legally mandated requirements is to destroy fan culture unless, and ART13 doesn’t do this, unless you have huge penalties levied on companies that even look at claiming an infringement when one didn’t occur. (When did one occur? Have a judge decide! Hope you can afford a lawyer!)
EDIT: In summation, the new copyright law is the biggest handout to entrenched interests since MIFIR2 and has absolutely no redeeming features. Like, none. I make all my money from activities that are protected by IP law and I’d rather see copyrights, trademarks and patents burn on a pyre than see this law come to pass.
2xEDIT: Actually I’m happy you opened with “law student” because it lets me harp on one of my favorite issues that keeps cropping up again and again: Some politician, typically themself originally a legal student or similar, claiming that “this is not what we wanted” when people follow the obvious incentives in the law they made. If you mandate X, and the cheapest way to get X is to sell Y down the river, there’ll be no more Y around. If you then go on to require Y as well, Z will be sacrificed immediately to make sure there are enough resources for both X and Y.
You cannot show up wielding sovereign immunity and a state monopoly on violence and then be surprised when your orders are carried out exactly to the letter, even if “exactly to the letter” is stupid and destructive and people would rather do things differently.
In this case, you’re claiming the law doesn’t require that we get rid of fanworks, we just have to ensure copyrights are upheld. Well ok, but the way to ensure, ensure, that copyrights are upheld is to get rid of fanworks. Proving in a court of law that your usage was fair/private use is too expensive, nobody’s gonna do it. Ao3 is either going to close their doors to connections from Europe or obey instantly the very second some IP swine from Europe calls up and says they have an infringing work. They don’t have the funds to handle suit from every asshole with an IP and an opinion.
“This law won’t have victims because the victims can take it to the court if they’re being victimized” assumes lawyer billables are valued at $0 which, hah.
Ao3 is either going to close their doors to connections from Europe or obey instantly the very second some IP swine from Europe calls up and says they have an infringing work.
Will they? If they don’t have servers based in Europe, why can’t they just ignore the IP swine? What penalty could a European court enforce?
What penalty could a European court enforce?
The simplest and easiest is just the great firewall approach where a page is banned – if you try to go there, your ISP directs you elsewhere. This is technically not a settlement against Ao3, or Ao3 doing the door closing, but from the user’s perspective there is little difference. This is probably what’s gonna happen with Ao3.
But if the target is a company with enough money that it’s worth trying to steal some, you’ll see what you saw with GDPR – even if they have no subsidiaries in the EU that you can take the money from directly, a large unpaid settlement in the EU will hurt the company in several ways:
First, they’ll have a harder time raising money because any money gathered in the EU will be subject to confiscation.
Second, and especially relevant for tech companies, they’ll have a harder time being purchased. Small tech companies typically make their money by being purchased by somebody with more money than God who can take their interesting tech and universalize it across a bigger user base – but suddenly, the price will be much lower because nobody with a European base of operations are going to ignore the fact that, as soon as they own the company, they’ll own a huge penalty as well. That’ll be reflected directly in the sales price.
Third, complicating matters, if you have a penalty from the EU (and it’s probably going to be huge because you didn’t send any lawyers to contest it in the first place – you told them to fuck off and stayed in the US), the IP holder can call up a lawyer in the US and sue in the US to be allowed to take out their judgement from US revenue. That’s not always possible but it is sometimes possible, and it’s one of the reasons the US has a very specific set of case law around the fact that the First Amendment is real and if somebodu has sued you for libel in Britain, it officially Doesn’t Count because the British libel laws are batshit insane.
 Well technically they can still sue you in the US to get the British ruling upheld, but they have to show that your libel would also have violated the law in America and that just. That’s not a thing.