Oh, those bureaucrats in Brussels. The old joke about, “How do you know when a politician is lying? His lips are moving.” Apparently, the concept applies to EU representatives as well. Advocates for Article 13, now known as Article 17, in the EU Copyright Directive told us the Article did not require sites to use filters. Now that the Directive has passed? Eh, the story is a changing. Get this. They lied! For shame.
Copyright Directive Filters
So, filters. Live them. Love them. Fear them. The new EU approach to copyright is more or less the opposite of the approach we see in the United States with the DMCA safe harbor immunity protection found in Section 512(c) of the code. Will the filters work and achieve the goals of the enslaved EU representatives of Big Copyright? Unlikely.
Google and YouTube have been trying to get a fix on copyright infringement filters for years. $100 million later and…meh. The YouTube ContentId system is okay, but not great. A significant amount of infringing content gets through the filter. A good bit of non-infringing content gets caught up in the net.
If a company throwing $100 million at the problem can’t get it right, what happens with smaller businesses with fewer resources? You should expect many of your innocent postings to be filtered out because of, you know, you’re evil infringing tendencies. [Go to Copyright Church confessional. Recite the Copyright Code 40 times as penance.]
And what of memes? Surely the world will cease to exist if our God-given right to memes is taken away from us. Well, the EU reps tell us they’ve taken care of that by stating the requirements will not apply to content consisting of parody, criticism, etc. If this sounds familiar, it is because the reps basically threw in the fair use defense that we see under the copyright law of the United States.
And that has worked so well.
How can a software filter tell if the photo on a graphic is a parody of a picture of a politician or an infringement of the copyright of the photographer of that photo? Eh, we’ll work that out later. After all, computer people smart. Grog programmer! Grog do magic with keyboard. [Insert keyboard pounding noises.]
So, is this a glorious day for copyright holders in the EU? Possibly, but they may want to hold off on eating their royalty pie until we see how the Member States address the Directive when enacting their required laws. Something tells me this fight is over just yet.
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