Paradise Lost – the proposed EU Copyright Directive

Once upon a time, when we were dreaming of frontier-less information sources, we suddenly saw our dreams come true: The Internet emerged and with it, virtually border-less opportunities. It was paradise for creative souls but those who know their bible must have known: it will not last long.

The latest of proposed restrictions deals with the hotly contested Copyright Directive, or more precise, Art. 11 and 13 thereof. Art. 11 limits references to published news articles to single words or very short extractsotherwise a license will be required. First of all, it is not at all clear how short “very short extracts” are. Interpretation of these three words may vary considerably. But what is more, there may be a danger that “snippet” services as run by many associations as a service to their members (by their nature often not-for-profit) will have to be discontinued: It is impossible to get licenses (paying or not) from all news services that one may or may not refer to.

 Art. 13, though, is worse. Because it is definitely a restriction of free expression. It declares that commercial sites and apps where users can post material must make “best efforts” to pre-emptively buy licenses for anything that users may possibly upload – that is: all copyrighted content in the world.[Source: Blog of Julia Reda, MEP that is a MUST to read and to act upon!]

Example: You see the picture that I used for this blog entry. Who knows whether I am the copyright holder? Worse: How can I prove that I am the copyright holder? Even worse: Who cares for me, tiny little star in the Internet universe, to ask me for a license?

Consequence: There is a high potential that my uploads are blocked by a filter, just in case…much better to have problems with me (if I complain at all) than with the regulatory authority! [To reassure the reader: I am the copyright owner of both, object and photo, and the original artist is more than 70 years dead].

Therefore: Set a sign, join the 4+ million signatures and contact your MEP. Because it is not too late! All MEPs have to vote in the plenary (March or April, BEFORE elections). Maybe they get it right, eventually.

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