20 Nov 2018

Letter to the EU Council: Stand for citizen’s rights and the European digital economy in the copyright negotiations!

By EDRi

On 19 November 2018, EDRi, together with 53 other NGOs, sent a letter to the Council of the European Union. The letter draws attention to the ongoing concerns regarding the proposal on copyright in the Digital Single Market, ahead of a crucial meeting on 23 November.

You can read the letter here (pdf) and below:

Your Excellency Deputy Ambassador,

We, the undersigned, are writing to you ahead of the 23 November COREPER 1 meeting, at which copyright in the Digital Single Market will be discussed by the Austrian Council Presidency. We consider that it is too early at this stage to give a renewed mandate to the Austrian Presidency.

Representing human, privacy, civil rights and media freedom organisations, software developers, creators, journalists, radio stations, higher education institutions and research institutions, we would like to draw your attention to our ongoing concerns regarding the proposal. We believe that both the Council and the Parliament texts risk creating severe impediments to the functioning of the Internet and the freedom of expression of all. In previous open letters of April 26 (here) and July 2 (here), we urged European policymakers to deliver a reform that upholds fundamental rights of all to freedom of expression as well as core principles such as limitation of internet intermediaries’ liability (which is essential to ensure the balance of rights repeatedly required by CJEU rulings) and access to knowledge.

In the current negotiations, these values are severely threatened, most importantly due to:

  • Art. 13 (upload filters): Changing or reinterpreting the liability regime for platforms and making them directly liable is a threat to fundamental rights as +70 Internet luminaries, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, NGOs, programmers, and academics have stated repeatedly. The resultant upload filters (“content recognition technologies”) would push internet intermediaries to rely on technologies that are error prone, intrusive and legally questionable1. Relying on very imperfect algorithms to regulate free speech online will put the diversity of opinions and creative content at risk. The legal uncertainty created for European companies will mean that they will never know how much filtering will be enough to be considered to be “enough” for 27 national transpositions of the Directive. The only option will be blocking of legal content.
  • Art. 11 (press publishers’ right): As analysed by a plethora of academics (see here and here, for example), a press publishers’ right is not needed and will have only harmful outcomes. Furthermore, as a result of this proposal, user-shared links on social media, news aggregation websites and search engines will no longer show extracts or will become unavailable, posing limits to the freedom of citizens to seek and impart information. Media plurality will suffer as new or innovative news sources will no longer be treated equally in the display of results on the internet. Additionally, user-created content on platforms will no longer be able to include extracts of licensed works, as quotation rules among European countries are not harmonised.

For the ongoing trilogue negotiations, we urge you to reject obligatory or “voluntary” coerced filters and to keep the current liability regime intact. Enforcement of copyright must not become a pre-emptive, arbitrary and privately-enforced censorship of legal content.

Moreover, we ask you to hear the voice of academic research that a press publishers’ right will not have the intended effect and will instead lead to a less informed European society.1

For all of the above reasons, we call on you to take a firm stance for citizen’s rights and the European digital economy in the ongoing trilogue negotiations. We call on you to stand up for a copyright that respects the foundations of a free, innovative and open digital society that delivers a vibrant, open marketplace for artists and their works.

Best regards,

EUROPE
1. Civil Liberties Union for Europe (Liberties)
2. European Digital Learning Network (DLEARN)
3. European Digital Rights (EDRi)
4. European Network for Copyright in Support of Education and Science (ENCES)
5. Knowledge Ecology International Europe (KEI Europe)
6. Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU AUSTRIA
7. epicenter.works – for digital rights
8. Freischreiber – Verein zur Förderung des freien Journalismus

BELGIUM
9. KlasCement.net

BULGARIA
10. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee

CROATIA
11.Digital DemoCroatia

CZECH REPUBLIC
12. EDUin

DENMARK
13. IT-Political Association of Denmark

ESTONIA
14. Estonian Human Rights Centre

FRANCE
15. Wikimédia France

GERMANY
16. Chaos Computer Club
17. Digitale Gesellschaft e.V.
18. Freischreiber
19. Initiative gegen ein Leistungsschutzrecht (IGEL)
20. Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband e.V.
21. Wikimedia Deutschland

GREECE
22. Open Technologies Alliance – GFOSS (Greek Free Open Source Software Society)

ITALY
23. Hermes Center for Transparency and Digital Human Rights

LUXEMBOURG
24. Frënn vun der Ënn

NETHERLANDS
25. Bits of Freedom (BoF)
26. Kennisland

NORWAY
27. Elektronisk Forpost Norge

POLAND
28. Centrum Cyfrowe
29. ePa ń stwo Foundation

PORTUGAL
30. Associação D3 – Defesa dos Direitos Digitais (D³)
31. Associação Nacional para o Software Livre (ANSOL)

ROMANIA
32. ActiveWatch
33. APADOR-CH (Romanian Helsinki Committee)
34. Association for Technology and Internet (ApTI)
35. Centrul pentru Inovare Public ă (Center for Public Innovation)
36. Digital Citizens Romania

SLOVENIA
37. Digitas Institute
38. Forum za digitalno družbo (Digital Society Forum)
39. Intellectual Property Institute

SPAIN
40. Asociación de Internautas
41. Plataforma en Defensa de la Libertad de Información (PDLI)
42. Rights International Spain
43. Xnet

SWEDEN
44. Wikimedia Sverige

UNITED KINGDOM
45. Open Rights Group (ORG)
46. Statewatch

GLOBAL
47. Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
48. Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT)
49. COMMUNIA Association
50. Creative Commons
51. Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
52. Open Knowledge International
53. OpenMedia
54. Wikimedia

 

LIST OF ADDITIONAL SIGNATURES

Update on 20 November 2018

55. World Wide Web Foundation (Global)

 

Update on 3 December 2018

56. Electronic Frontier Finland (Finland)


1 See CJEU cases Scarlet VS SABAM (C-70/10) in filtering and Promusicae v Telefónica (C/275/06) on the obligations of Member States on balance of rights.

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10 Oct 2018

What’s next for Europe’s internet censorship plan?

By Guest author

In September 2018, a key European vote brought the EU much closer to a system of universal mass censorship and surveillance, in the name of defending copyright.

Members of the EU Parliament voted to advance the new Copyright Directive, even though it contained two extreme and unworkable clauses: Article 13 (“censorship machines”) that would filter everything everyone posts to online platforms to see if matches a crowdsourced database of “copyrighted works” that anyone could add anything to; and Article 11 (“the link tax”), a ban on quote more than one word from an article when linking to them unless you are using a platform that has paid for a linking license. The link tax provision allows, but does not require, member states to create exceptions and limitations to protect online speech.

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With the vote out of the way, the next step is the “trilogues”. These closed-door meetings are held between representatives from European national governments, the European Commission, and the European Parliament. This is the last time the language of the Directive can be substantially altered without a (rare) second Parliamentary debate.

Normally the trilogues are completely opaque. But Julia Reda, the German Member of the European Parliament (MEP) who has led the principled opposition to Articles 11 and 13, has committed to publishing all of the negotiating documents from the Trilogues as they take place. (Reda is relying on a recent European Court of Justice ruling that upheld the right of the public to know what’s going on in the trilogues.)

This is an incredibly important moment. The trilogues are not held in secret because the negotiators are sure that you’ll be delighted with the outcome and don’t want to spoil the surprise. They’re meetings where well-organised, powerful corporate lobbyists’ voices are heard and the public is unable to speak. By making these documents public, Reda is changing the way European law is made, and not a moment too soon.

Articles 11 and 13 are so defective as to be unsalvageable; when they are challenged in the European Court of Justice, they may well be struck down. In the meantime, the trilogues — if they do their job right — must struggle to clarify their terms so that some of their potential for abuse and their unnavigable ambiguity is resolved.

The trilogues have it in their power to expand on the Directive’s hollow feints toward due process and proportionality and produce real, concrete protections that will minimise the damage this terrible law wreaks while we work to have it invalidated by the courts.

Existing copyright filters (like YouTube’s ContentID system) are set up to block people who attract too many copyright complaints, but what about people who make false copyright claims? The platforms must be allowed to terminate access to the copyright filter system for those who repeatedly make false or inaccurate claims about which copyright works are theirs.

A public record of which rightsholders demanded which takedowns would be vital for transparency and oversight, but could only work if implemented at a mandatory, EU level.

On links, the existing Article 11 language does not define when quotation amounts to a use that must be licensed, though proponents have argued that quoting more than a single word requires a license.

The trilogues could resolve that ambiguity by carving out a clear safe harbour for users, and ensure that there’s a consistent set of Europe-wide exceptions and limitations to news media’s new pseudo-copyright that ensure they don’t overreach with their power.

The trilogues must safeguard against dominant players (Google, Facebook, the news giants) creating licensing agreements that exclude everyone else.

News sites should be permitted to opt out of requiring a license for inbound links (so that other services could confidently link to them without fear of being sued), but these opt-outs must be all-or-nothing, applying to all services, so that the law doesn’t add to Google’s market power by allowing them to negotiate an exclusive exemption from the link tax, while smaller competitors are saddled with license fees.

The trilogues must establish a clear definition of “noncommercial, personal linking”, clarifying whether making links in a personal capacity from a for-profit blogging or social media platform requires a license, and establishing that (for example) a personal blog with ads or affiliate links to recoup hosting costs is “noncommercial”.

These patches are the minimum steps that the trilogues must take to make the Directive clear enough to understand and obey. They won’t make the Directive fit for purpose – merely coherent enough to understand. Implementing these patches would at least demonstrate that the negotiators understand the magnitude of the damage the Directive will cause to the internet.

From what we’ve gathered in whispers and hints, the leaders of the trilogues recognise that these Articles are the most politically contentious of the Directive — but those negotiators think these glaring, foundational flaws can be finessed in a few weeks, with a few closed door meetings.

We’re sceptical, but at least there’s a chance that we’ll see what is going on. We’ll be watching for Reda’s publication of the negotiating documents and analysing them as they appear. In the meantime, you can and should talk to your MEP about talking to your country’s trilogue reps about softening the blow that the new Copyright Directive is set to deliver to our internet.

This article was originally published by EDRi member Electronic Frontier Foundation https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2018/10/whats-next-europes-internet-censorship-plan-0

Today, Europe Lost The Internet. Now, We Fight Back. (12.09.2018)
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2018/09/today-europe-lost-internet-now-we-fight-back

Trilogues: the system that undermines EU democracy and transparency (20.04.2016)
https://edri.org/trilogues-the-system-that-undermines-eu-democracy-and-transparency/

Press Release: The European Parliament must in principle grant access, on specific request, to
documents relating to ongoing trilogues (22.03.2018)
https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2018-03/cp180035en.pdf

Save Your Internet
https://saveyourinternet.eu/

(Contribution by Cory Doctorow)

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10 Sep 2018

Censorship Machines or citizens? EU Parliament decides on Wednesday

By Diego Naranjo

On Wednesday 12 September 2018 at noon, the European Parliament will be voting again on the copyright Directive.

As EDRi and 57 other NGOs have been saying since the proposal was launched, and it has been said by academia, the UN Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Internet luminaries, and many others Article 13 of the Directive is a fundamentally flawed proposal.

The vote in July prevented the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee from entering directly into secret negotiations (called trilogues) with the EU Council and there has been a little more time to keep debating different aspects of the Directive and to propose new alternative texts (amendments). These new amendments were discussed over the last two weeks, in closed-door meetings in the Parliament.

These amendments go from making the text even more unclear and damaging (the ones proposed by the Rapporteur Axel Voss MEP and Cavada MEP) to deletion and almost everything in between.

The best option for dealing with a bad proposal is to delete it, so this is what MEPs should be asked to vote for. However, the EU works on the basis of compromise, and some MEPs may not wish to vote for outright rejection. In that case, we would encourage those MEPs who won’t ask for deletion that to support the amendment from the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO), which is a compromise that has received significant cross-party support.

If you have not contacted your MEP yet, you still have time! Go to www.saveyourinternet.eu and call, tweet or email your MEP and let them know your opposition to upload filters.

Read more:

Copyright: Compulsory filtering instead of obligatory filtering – a compromise? (04.08.2018)
https://edri.org/copyright-compulsory-filtering-instead-of-obligatory-filtering-a-compromise/

EP Plenary on the Copyright Directive – Who voted what? (23.07.2018)
https://edri.org/who-voted-what-in-the-ep-plenary-on-the-copyright-directive/

Press Release: EU Parliamentarians support an open, democratic debate on Copyright Directive (05.07.2018)
https://edri.org/press-release-eu-parliamentarians-support-open-democratic-debate-around-copyright-directive/

Action plan against the first obligatory EU internet filter (28.06.2018)
https://edri.org/strategy-against-the-first-obligatory-eu-internet-filter/

Moving Parliament’s copyright discussions into the public domain (27.06.2018)
https://edri.org/moving-parliaments-copyright-discussions-into-the-public-domain-2-0/

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28 Jun 2018

Re-Deconstructing upload filters proposal in the copyright Directive

By Diego Naranjo

This week we have published a new analysis of the proposal for upload filters in the Copyright Directive proposal. The paper is a new paragraph-by-paragraph analysis of relevant parts in the text adopted by the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament (JURI Committee). The work complements our first analysis of the initial proposal by the Commission.

In our new analysis you will be able to read the relevant adopted texts by JURI, on the left, and our explanation of what these paragraphs mean in practice on the right. The necessity of our new detailed analysis lies in the recent misunderstandings about what the text means and what it doesn’t mean. This text could become the basis of the negotiations between the EU Parliament and the Council. MEPs will decide whether the Copyright Directive is built on closed-door negotiations or an open, democratic debate during the 5th of July vote in the EU Parliament’s Plenary vote.

Your action is crucial to keep an open internet which is free of upload filters.
Act now: Ask you MEPs to attend and vote in your interest on the 5th of July! #SaveYourInternet!

Read more:

Moving Parliament’s copyright discussions into the public domain (27.06.2018)
https://edri.org/moving-parliaments-copyright-discussions-into-the-public-domain-2-0/

We can still win: Next steps for the Copyright Directive (20.06.2018)
https://edri.org/next-steps-copyright-directive-article-13/

Press Release: MEPs ignore expert advice and vote for mass internet censorship (20.06.2018)
https://edri.org/press-release-meps-ignore-expert-advice-and-vote-for-mass-internet-censorship/

EU Censorship Machine: Legislation as propaganda? (11.06.2018)
https://edri.org/eu-censorship-machine-legislation-as-propaganda/

Copyright Directive: Busting the myths (13.12.2017)
https://edri.org/censorship-machine-busting-myths/

(Contribution by Diego Naranjo, Senior Policy Advisor)

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27 Jun 2018

Moving Parliament’s copyright discussions into the public domain

By Joe McNamee

With just eleven months to go before the 2019 European elections, European citizens’ reactions to certain aspects of the Copyright Directive mean that there is more interest than ever in what decisions are being made by the European Parliament, as well as how these decisions are made. This is great news for pro-Europeans and a great opportunity for the Parliament to demonstrate its democratic credentials… or great news for Eurosceptics if the Parliament fails to deliver. It is clear for all stakeholders involved that in order for the legitimacy of the Copyright file to be maintained, JURI’s negotiation mandate needs to be rejected next week. 

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On the 5th of July there will be a vote on whether to start secretive, undemocratic closed-door “trilogue” meetings with the EU Council, or to have a public discussion of the full Parliament in September.

An open debate and an opportunity for all MEPs to have their say on this clearly very important topic would greatly benefit the democratic process. For this reason, civil society has urged MEPs to vote for a public debate on the Directive and, therefore, against the negotiating mandate.

However, representatives of the copyright lobby, as well as certain Parliamentarians claim that citizens are misinformed. In order to clarify the issues, we have prepared a detailed line by line analysis of the adopted text in Article 13 in the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI).

A public discussion would help clarify some of the misunderstandings that have been circulating:

1. “This is only about Google and Facebook”

The definition describing the companies that are covered is very unclear. Indeed, Axel Voss MEP said on German TV that he was not even sure if Google and Facebook are covered and that the scope of the Directive will be subject to interpretation by the Court of Justice of the European Union (Zapp, NDR TV, 13 June 2018).

2. “This is only about videos and music”

Article 13 covers all kinds of content that can be uploaded – text, images, music, audiovisual content and even choreography.

3. “The JURI text does not include any mention of upload filters”

The text refers to:
–  “measures leading to the non-availability of copyright or related-right infringing works or other subject-matter” (Article 13.1) – which means upload filters
–  based on the relevant information provided by rightholders (Article 13.1a) – which means the lists of files to be filtered out
– such as implementing effective technologies (recital 38) – which means upload filters.

4. “The proposal says that the Charter of Fundamental Rights must be respected in the agreements between rightsholders and service providers”

The Charter of Fundamental Rights is binding on Member States and the European Commission. It is not binding on agreements between private companies.

5. “No personal data will be processed by the filters”

The proposal says that there must be a complaints mechanism in place. How can users complain about their work being filtered when it will be
impossible to match the complainant with the material that has been filtered?

6. “Memes are not covered”

The EU Copyright Exception for parody has been implemented differently across the EU and not implemented at all in some Member States. Therefore, unquestionably, memes are covered by the proposal and would be filtered by very imperfect algorithms, if the proposal is adopted in its current form.

7. “Agreements have to be “appropriate and proportionate””

Yes, this is true. But for whom do they need to be appropriate and proportionate? Logically, they need to be appropriate and proportionate for the parties to the agreement – and users are not parties to the agreements!

8. “There is an obligatory complaints mechanism”

Article 13 makes it clear that internet companies are free to impose their own terms and conditions. So, internet companies would have a choice – admit that content was being filtered on the basis of the law and implement a complicated and expensive complaints mechanism – or filter on the basis of their terms and conditions and avoid the expense of implementing a complaints mechanism. They won’t implement a meaningful complaints mechanism!

9. “There is no general monitoring obligation”

A general obligation to monitor all uploads searching for millions of text, audio, audiovisual and image files is a general monitoring obligation.

Read more:

Re-Deconstructing upload filters proposal in the copyright Directive (28.06.2018)
https://edri.org/redeconstructing-article13/

We can still win: Next steps for the Copyright Directive (20.06.2018)
https://edri.org/next-steps-copyright-directive-article-13/

Press Release: MEPs ignore expert advice and vote for mass internet censorship (20.06.2018)
https://edri.org/press-release-meps-ignore-expert-advice-and-vote-for-mass-internet-censorship/

EU Censorship Machine: Legislation as propaganda? (11.06.2018)
https://edri.org/eu-censorship-machine-legislation-as-propaganda/

Copyright Directive: Busting the myths (13.12.2017)
https://edri.org/censorship-machine-busting-myths/

(Contribution by Joe McNamee, EDRi Executive Director)

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30 May 2018

Join the coordinated calls against EU’s Censorship Machine

By Andreea Belu

Several organisations in different European countries have picked up their phones and mobilised against Article 13. Article 13 introduces automated filters for user content being uploaded on online platforms. The measure is part of EU’s proposal for a new Copyright Directive and poses huge threats to individuals’ rights and freedoms, but also obliges online platforms like Google and Facebook to monitor our communications and become the Internet police.

The goal of our calls is to convince the key undecided MEPs in the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) of the European Parliament to oppose a censored internet, filtered by automated algorithms under the control of internet giants.

Why now?

JURI is set to vote on its opinion on the 20th-21st of June. Once JURI concludes on its position, it will hold secret talks with the European Council – who already adopted their negotiating position – and reach an agreement.

The bad news? The European Council decided to support mass monitoring and filtering of internet uploads on the 25th of May. The good news? Some MEPs in the JURI Committee are opposing the measure and some are undecided. Unfortunately, the number of MEPs against Article 13 is not yet enough to block the proposal. If we do not convince just a few more to oppose the article too, we will lose the JURI vote. We can not allow this to happen, if we should preserve the internet free from censorship machines.

What now?

While sending emails to MEPs implies less effort than calling them, emails can also be less effective as they can be easily ignored or deleted by email spam filters. Phonecalls can not be ignored and are therefore the most efficient method to (literally) make our voices heard. Anyway, when is the last time you talked to an European Parliamentarian?

Join the movement against the Censorship Machine!

In the past weeks, organisations in Romania, The Netherlands and the UK have phoned the key undecided MEPs. Next week, campaigns will be launched in Spain and phonecall meetings will take place in Bulgaria. The EDRi office will mobilise and spend an hour on Tuesday the 5th of June contacting targeted MEPs. The SaveYourInternet movement is also planning a call storm on the 12th of June. Are you going to join us in calling the crucial undecided JURI MEPs? Here’s what you can do:

  • Grab your phone and call ! Here’s some tips on best practices, a suggestion for a call script and a free calling tool.
  • Organise NGOs and friends in a gathering. We prepared guidance for organising and conducting meetings. Easy-peasy, trust us!

Get in touch at andreea.belu(at)edri.org for more materials and coordination tips or if you want to share how your call session went.

Read More

Save Your Internet
https://saveyourinternet.eu/

Proposed internet filter will strip citizens of their rights: Your action is needed! (28.03.2018)
https://edri.org/proposed-internet-filter-will-strip-citizens-of-their-rights/

#CensorshipMachine – How will the decision be taken? (19.03.2018)
https://edri.org/censorshipmachine-how-will-the-decision-be-taken/

5 Devastating Effects of the EU’s Copyright Proposal (29.03.2018)
https://www.liberties.eu/en/news/5-devastating-effects-of-the-eu-copyright-proposal/14659

Copyright Reform: Document Pool
https://edri.org/copyright-reform-document-pool/

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02 May 2018

Leak: The “copyright troika” launches another censorship machine attack

By Joe McNamee

On 27 April, a two-hour discussion was held on the Copyright Directive in the Council of the European Union. The meeting discussed text and data mining, restrictions on quoting from and linking to news articles and the infamous “censorship machine” – mandatory upload filters for European web hosting companies. No deal was reached and new discussions will happen on 4 May.

At the meeting, France, Spain and Portugal (joined by Italy this time) once again tabled extreme measures that would restrict freedom of expression, undermine the ability of European Internet companies to conduct a business, and create huge collateral damage for fundamental rights worldwide. France, Spain and Portugal previously tabled a similar lobbyist-driven proposal in October 2017.

This time, the suggestions include:

Article 2.5 and recital 37a

  • Broadening the scope of the companies covered by the proposals in the Directive to any company whose main activity is to provide hosting of web content, regardless of profit motive. The proposal leaves intact the chaotic approach of excluding certain (badly defined) services, such as “not-for-profit open source software developing platforms” which attempts – but fails – to exclude services like Github.
  • Broadening the scope of the companies covered by the proposals in the Directive by removing a proposed limitation to only cover companies with a profit motive and, again, specifying that certain badly-defined services can be exempted if their activity is not “for profit making purposes”.

Rationale: Ironically, the countries justify this new, chaotic, language on the basis that it “creates legal certainty”.

Article 13.4

As a rather hilarious concession, the Member States suggest that services that impose upload filtering cannot be subject to criminal sanctions (or damages). In short, if European companies:

  • implement upload filters
  • implement a “notice and takedown” system, which also prevents future uploads and
  • ensure that all measures have been “agreed upon by rightsholders,”

…then (and only then) can they be protected from the legal chaos that the Directive creates.

A remarkable compromise, indeed.

Article 13.5

Here, the four countries propose an incomprehensible obligation to “take into account” the nature and size of the rightsholders that need to agree to the “effective and proportionate” measures that internet service providers are required to implement.

Article 13.8

Member States are encouraged to establish the “necessary mechanisms” to assess the appropriateness (but not proportionality) of the measures being implemented by the companies. In short, once the internet companies have finished agreeing with big and small rightsholders about the upload filtering technologies that European providers will need to pay for and implement, in order to filter out audio, audiovisual, visual and text works and other subject matter, those technologies should then also be subject to review by Member States.

Leak: Three EU countries join forces for restrictions & copyright chaos (26.10.2017)
https://edri.org/leak-three-eu-countries-join-forces-to-stamp-out-free-speech-online/

Copyright reform: Document pool
https://edri.org/copyright-reform-document-pool/

Copyright reform: State of play (10.01.2018)
https://edri.org/copyright-reform-state-play/

(Contribution by Joe McNamee, EDRi)

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26 Apr 2018

Let’s stop the Censorship Machine!

By Andreea Belu

We have to make sure our representatives in the European Parliament oppose Article 13 during their vote in the JURI Committee on the proposed Copyright Reform. The dangers have been pointed out repeatedly. Still, they have remained ignored. We therefore decided to send the message in different languages, hoping Parliamentaries will better relate this time. Support our fight against the #CensorshipMachine and spread the word!

English: https://twitter.com/edri/status/989508146363236352

German: https://twitter.com/edri/status/989508144870051841

Spanish: https://twitter.com/edri/status/989519879983325185

Italian: https://twitter.com/edri/status/989508269642149888

French: https://twitter.com/edri/status/989508144257818625

Danish: https://twitter.com/edri/status/989508144475717632

Portuguese: https://twitter.com/edri/status/989508270950825984

Romanian: https://twitter.com/edri/status/989508144911937536

Czech: https://twitter.com/edri/status/989511824088420352

Bulgarian: https://twitter.com/edri/status/989508144261890048

Finnish: https://twitter.com/edri/status/989508145616568325

Swedish: https://twitter.com/edri/status/989508396876533761

Polish: https://twitter.com/edri/status/989531754653417475

Stop the #CensorshipMachine! (10.04.2018)
https://edri.org/stop-the-censorship-machine/

Proposed internet filter will strip citizens of their rights: Your action is needed! (28.03.2018)
https://edri.org/proposed-internet-filter-will-strip-citizens-of-their-rights/

Copyright reform: Document pool
https://edri.org/copyright-reform-document-pool/

5 Devastating Effects of the EU’s Copyright Proposal (29.03.2018)
https://www.liberties.eu/en/news/5-devastating-effects-of-the-eu-copyright-proposal/14659

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06 Mar 2018

European policy makers want faulty filters to rule the internet: Your action is needed!

By EDRi

Policy makers are working on the largest internet filter we’ve ever seen. A filter will decide which of your uploads will be seen by the rest of the world and which won’t. But these filters often fail. Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Julia Reda published some examples of where filters got it wrong. Here are a few low points.

Copyright filter blocks lecture on copyright

In a recording of a Harvard Law School lecture on copyright, the professor plays a short excerpt from a Jimi Hendrix song to illustrate his argument. That’s perfectly legal: there are copyright exceptions that let you use copyright protected material for educational purposes. YouTube’s filter was, however, unable to assess the context and therefore said the video was violating copyright. Lesson learned? Filters don’t recognise exceptions.

Filter accuses NASA of publishing footage belonging to NASA

All the footage that US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) publishes is in the public domain, which means everyone can use it. A few TV stations used the images in their broadcasts and afterwards had their broadcasts protected against copyright infringement. The copyright filter recognised the footage from NASA as being the same as in the TV broadcasts, and concluded that NASA must be infringing on the TV station’s copyright. The issue was quickly resolved, but not before NASA’s own footage was blocked. Lesson learned? Filters can’t deal with “public domain” content.

Filter analyses videos documenting war crimes, but sees only war crimes

Social media platforms don’t like to confront their users with content that might upset them. YouTube, for one, employs a filter to detect “extremist material”. The result? Tens of thousands of video’s documenting war crimes in Syria were blocked. All because the filter can’t differentiate between footage documenting something and footage promoting something. Lesson learned? Filters don’t understand context.

In short: filters fail. We can’t have internet filters roaming the internet and ruling our freedom of speech. It won’t end well for citizens. We need to make sure policy makers understand this.

What can you do?

The following weeks are crucial. Tweet or e-mail your representatives that are part of the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI). On 20-21 June they will be deciding on the upload filter. Use the hashtag #CensorshipMachine or #filterfail and let your representatives know you’re against the internet filter (Article 13)! You can find the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) relevant to you here:

We’ve written some tweets to inspire you, but feel free to compose your own!

  • .@MEP Stand up for our freedom of expression online. Please oppose the #censorshipmachine in the #copyright Directive proposal.
  • .@MEP Stand up for our privacy online. Please oppose the #censorshipmachine in the #copyright Directive proposal.”
  • .@MEP Show that you care about culture and free speech: oppose the #censorshipmachine in the #copyright Directive proposal.”
  • .@MEP Internet filters don’t work. Please delete article 13 of the #copyright Directive proposal! #filterfail

We already tweeted at MEPs in their own language, check it out.
https://edri.org/lets-stop-the-censorship-machine/

Time to stop the #CensorshipMachine: NOW! – Members of the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI)
https://edri.org/contact-ep-juri/#JURI

Contact your representatives in the Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee of the European Parliament
https://edri.org/files/copyright/copyright_contact_juri.pdf

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27 Feb 2018

European internet filter will destroy your freedom of expression: Stop it now!

By EDRi

Policy-makers are working on the largest internet filter we’ve ever seen. An algorithm will decide which of your uploads will be seen by the rest of the world and which won’t. This is how the internet filter will rob you of your freedom of expression.

Filters don’t work

First of all: filters are really bad at recognising content. There are tons of examples: a professor had an educational video blocked, footage from NASA’s Mars-landing was accidentally blacklisted, and ten thousands of videos documenting war crimes in Syria were deleted. All by YouTube’s “copyright filter”.

You can’t fight copyright violations with filters

The internet filter has been proposed in order to tackle copyright violations. But copyright is too complex for this wrecking ball-style solution. For instance: sometimes it’s perfectly legal to use copyrighted material in a citation or a work of parody, and sometimes it isn’t. Often the grey area is so grey and there’s so much of it, that a case has to be brought to court so a judge can rule on the matter. You wouldn’t like an internet filter to in charge of complicated decisions like this.

Filters are prone to function creep

In the long run, this isn’t even about copyright. If it’s up to policy-makers, the internet filter can be used to stop controversial videos from being shared, or to silence undesirable political opinions. An example: Spain has an internet filter to combat illegal gambling sites. That very same filter was employed to disrupt the Catalan referendum.

If we don’t take action now, policy-makers will agree to regulation that severely impacts our free speech!

What can you do?

The following weeks are crucial. Tweet or e-mail your representatives that are part of the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI). On 20-21 June they will be deciding on the upload filter. Use the hashtag #CensorshipMachine or #filterfail and let your representatives know you’re against the internet filter (Article 13)! You can find the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) relevant to you here:

We’ve written some tweets to inspire you, but feel free to compose your own!

  • .@MEP Stand up for our freedom of expression online. Please oppose the #censorshipmachine in the #copyright Directive proposal.
  • .@MEP Stand up for our privacy online. Please oppose the #censorshipmachine in the #copyright Directive proposal.”
  • .@MEP Show that you care about culture and free speech: oppose the #censorshipmachine in the #copyright Directive proposal.”
  • .@MEP Internet filters don’t work. Please delete article 13 of the #copyright Directive proposal! #filterfail

 

We have already tweeted at MEPs in their own language, check it out.
https://edri.org/lets-stop-the-censorship-machine/

Time to stop the #CensorshipMachine: NOW! – Members of the Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI)
https://edri.org/contact-ep-juri/#JURI

Contact your representatives in the Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee of the European Parliament
https://edri.org/files/copyright/copyright_contact_juri.pdf

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