The European Court of Justice (the ECJ, “the European Supreme Court”) ruled three years ago that anything published openly on the web may be freely reused by anyone in any way on their own website. This ruling didn’t get anywhere near the attention it deserved, as it completely reverses a common misconception – the idea that you can’t republish or reuse something you happen to come across. The ECJ says that an open publication on the web exhausts the exclusivity of a work as far as the web is concerned, and that further authorization or permission from the rightsholder is not required for any reuse on the web after that, commercial or not.
EDRi on EU public consultations on Internet and Big Brother issues:
Public consultations are an opportunity to influence policy-making at an early stage, and to help to shape a brighter future for your digital rights.
Below you can find the public consultations which EDRi finds relevant in 2017. (…) We will update the list on an ongoing basis, adding our responses to the consultations and other information that can help you get engaged.
As Europe moves towards a cash free society there are worrying signals from the EU…
European Union states are considering measures which would allow them to temporarily stop people withdrawing money from their accounts to prevent bank runs, an EU document reviewed by Reuters revealed.
This is a practice used e.g. in Greece and Cyprus in times of financial turbulence. (In Cyprus the government also confiscated parts of the peoples’ bank deposits, a so called »haircut«.)
The official reason – to prevent bank runs – might be logical. But so far the reasons have rather been national financial difficulties, stemming from local economies being linked to the single European currency, the Euro.
And the Euro-crisis is far from over. The idea of fixing totally disparate economies to one exchange rate and one interest rate is still very problematic. And the European Central Bank, the ECB, is still trying to save the Euro by various stimulus packages and by indirectly printing more money. Without a doubt, more problems lie ahead.
This leaves the average citizen powerless. Your money is no longer yours – but the governments to be used as a financial tool. (Or to be confiscated.)
Thus reducing the independent citizen to a serf.
The EU Court of Justice ruled this morning that the agreement on the transfer of passenger data (PNR) between the EU and Canada is incompatible with EU law. (…)
Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP, ALDE Group first vice-president, commented today:
“Two and a half years after the European Parliament raised serious concerns, the Court has made it crystal clear that the EU Canada agreement cannot be adopted in its current form. The agreement provides insufficient protection and safeguards for Europeans. The use of personal data is not rejected as such, but sensitive data relating to, for example, religious beliefs, cannot be collected without suspicion. Additionally, the data cannot be accessed without judicial authorisation and has to be deleted after the passenger has left Canadian territory.”
The law cannot be upheld by breaking the law, said Joe McNamee, Executive Director of European Digital Rights. Reckless data retention and profiling have no place in a democratic, law-based society. Literally every independent body that has spoken out on the subject supports this analysis. The European Commission and EU Member States must now, at long last, take all necessary steps to abandon all illegal data retention laws and practices.
The EU is in the process of hammering out a new copyright directive. Here is a leaked amendment from the European Parliaments Committee on Culture and Education (CULT)…
1. Member States shall ensure that, when authors and performers transfer or assign the right of making available to the public of their works or other subject-matter for online on-demand services, they retain the right to obtain fair remuneration derived from the direct exploitation of their works present in the catalogue of those services.
2. The right of an author or performer to obtain fair remuneration for the making available of his/her work as described in paragraph 1 cannot be waived.
This is totally absurd.
We are many who publish text, pictures, video and music under various Creative Commons licenses. Meaning that we waive parts of our copyright – making our works available for everyone to share freely. (Some CC licenses do and some don’t allow free commercial use; some state that the creator should be attributed; et cetera.)
According to point two above, in some cases, licenses such as CC=BY, CC=NC, and CC=0 will not be legal.
To take one example, this blog is published under a CC=BY license. Anyone could quote or share the text, as long as it is attributed to the 5 of July Foundation (or me). And we do hope you do. Even for commercial use, non-public sites, in the media, or on-demand.
If the amendment above becomes EU law – this might no longer be possible or legal.
Furthermore, not being allowed to freely share one’s creative work on certain sites surely is an unacceptable limitation when it comes to the artist’s rights.
If there is something like intellectual property (which the EU claims) – this must be a grave violation of the artists property rights.
To hinder creators from freely distributing their works must also be a serious limitation of freedom of speech.
And it doesn’t have to be about Creative Commons. Some artists just want to share their work for marketing purposes or just to be nice to their fans. Why shouldn’t they be allowed to?
This ill-conceived idea must be stopped before it becomes EU law.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg today ruled in favour
of the German civil liberties activist and pirate party member Patrick
Breyer (Commission vs. Breyer, C-213/15 P): It ordered the Commission
to give the press and the public access to the pleadings exchanged in
completed court proceedings. In the present case Breyer successfully
demanded the Commission disclose Austrian pleadings concerning the
non-transposition of the controversial EU Data Retention Directive.
However the Court fined Breyer for publishing the written submissions in
his own case on his homepage.
Pirate Times: EU Court rules on transparency of EU justice »
For example, the “snippet tax” would require commercial sites that quote even tiny portions of online press publications to pay a licensing fee for each one. Given the way social networks constantly quote and cross-link information, that’s clearly absurd. And yet the Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) committee of the European Parliament has come up with a cunning plan to make it even worse. It wants the snippet tax to apply to physical publications as well as digital ones. (…)
Just as the ITRE committee wants to make the snippet tax even worse, so the Culture and Education (CULT) committee of EU politicians has come up with a way to make the upload filter dramatically more ridiculous. If the CULT committee’s amendments are adopted in the final law, EU citizens will no longer be able to upload copies of copyright material to the cloud, even if they have acquired them legally.
Glyn Moody @ PNI: EU copyright reform goes from bad to worse »
The EU is in the process of implementing new regulations aimed for Child Protection online.
To nobody’s surprise, this is a can of worms – where seemingly conflicting principles are at stake. There is a strong possibility that it will all end up restricting the Internets free flow of information, without doing any good to actually protect any children.
Read more at EDRi: Commission Report on child protection online lacks facts and evidence »
On 11 July, two Committees in the European Parliament voted on their Opinions on European Commission’s proposal for a Copyright Directive: the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) and the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE).
CULT decided to abandon all reason and propose measures that contradict existing law on monitoring of online content. They also contradict clear rulings from the highest court in the EU on internet filtering. And for the sake of being consistently bad, the Committee also supported ancillary copyright, a “link tax” that would make linking and quotation almost impossible on social media.
ITRE made a brave effort to fix the unfixable “censorship machine”, the upload filter proposed by the Commission. On the one hand, this demonstrates a willingness in the Parliament to resist the fundamentalism of the Commission’s proposal. On the other, it shows how impossible this task really is. Despite deleting the reference to “content recognition technologies”, ITRE has decided to keep the possibility of measures to prevent the availability of copyrighted works or “other subject matter” which may or may not be understood as supporting preventive filtering.
And there is more bad news in the linked text, below.
In a similar way that the police cannot enter your home without a court warrant, they are not supposed to look into your private communications without permission, right? Not really.
The EU is working towards easing the access to e-evidence for law enforcement authorities. The plan of the European Commission is to propose new rules on sharing evidence and the possibility for the authorities to request e-evidence directly from technology companies. One of the proposed options is that police would be able to access data directly from the cloud-based services.