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.
It’s going to be much harder to view the full web in Russia before the year is out. President Putin has signed a law that, as of November 1st, bans technology which lets you access banned websites, including virtual private networks and proxies. Internet providers will have to block websites hosting these tools. The measure is ostensibly meant to curb extremist content, but that’s just pretext — this is really about preventing Russians from seeing content that might be critical of Putin, not to mention communicating in secret.
Since 2003, hundreds of new top-level domains have come onto the market, and there has never been more choice for domain name registrants. But apart from choosing a name that sounds right and is easy to remember, a domain name registrant should also consider the policies of the registry that operates the domain, and those of the registrar that sells it to them.
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.
Under the CULT “compromise amendments”, it would no longer be possible to store legally acquired music recordings video files or any other copyrighted content on European cloud storage services. This is despite the fact that Europeans already pay hundreds of millions every year in levies (3,2 billion euro in the first half of this decade) to compensate rightsholders for making copies of legally obtained copyrighted works. Despite this, European cloud services would have to install filters to either block uploads or pay “fair” licenses for any copyrighted material that was uploaded. (Non-European services, on the contrary, would have nothing to worry about.)
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 »
The trend of courts applying country-specific social media laws worldwide could radically change what is allowed to be on the internet, setting a troubling precedent. What happens to the global internet when countries with different cultures have sharply diverging definitions of what is acceptable online speech? What happens when one country’s idea of acceptable speech clashes with another’s idea of hate speech? Experts worry the biggest risk is that the whole internet will be forced to comport with the strictest legal limitations.
Even accepting that free speech ends where criminal law begins, that doesn’t justify fining the platforms. If people are posting “illegal” content, go after them for breaking the law. Don’t go after the tools they use. By putting massive liability risks on platforms, those platforms will almost certainly overcompensate and over censor to avoid any risk of liability. That means a tremendous amount of what should be protected speech gets silence, just because these companies don’t want to get fined. Even worse, the big platforms can maybe hire people to handle this. The littler platforms? They basically can’t risk operating in Germany any more. Berlin is a hotbed of startups, but this is going to seriously harm many of them.
The control of information is something the elite always does, particularly in a despotic form of government.
Information, knowledge, is power. If you can control information, you can control people.