The European Union Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) voted yesterday (June 20) in favour of updates to its Copyright Directive. This directive still needs to be presented to the European Parliament, but already it has generated a quite controversial response. Although this new directive mostly just updates the technical language it uses, it contains two articles that some news outlets as well as prominent tech figures are interpreting to mean that the “Internet as we know it will die”.
Article 11 would force any site, search engines like Bing and Google included, to obtain written permission or a license from the content copyright holder to show any of their content. Linking alone would most probably still be possible, but to show any additional content — such as, for instance, a photo or extract — would require a license.
This would of course cause major issues for any site. For example, me linking the JURI draft agenda from yesterday here is still OK but if the Copyright Directive passes the EU parliament, we might need a license from JURI to do so. The same with how search engines show extracts as depicted in the screenshot below. Under Article 11, all highlighted parts of the search results would require a license or permission from the linked site:
Article 13 would make all uploaded content require that its uploader own copyright to the content or have acquired a license to use it, and that the site publishing it to have checked and verified this. Nothing strange there, that’s how most respectful sites work already. Personally, I use at least a so called featured image in all my posts and articles on Win10.guru and always check that the image, if not made by me, is either public domain or is for any other reason freely usable using Bing image search license options:
However, Article 13 would impose some serious changes on social media. Just one simple example: using memes is a trend, seen daily on any wall on Twitter, Facebook and such. In the future, any uploader would need to get license to post any image. If Article 13 becomes valid law it would effectively kill memes as we know them now. I can’t remember if I have ever posted a meme, but I can understand the uproar this is causing already.
What do I think?
Win10.guru is a tech site, maintained and administrated by one European (me) and one American (Ed). We do have our differences, we think differently. We do not cover politics, religion, nor any other subjects than information technology. Having said that, I feel I have to get a bit political now.
As an expat from one EU country living and working on another, I am and have always been pro-European Union, pro-single currency (Euro), pro-integration, pro-borderless Europe. EU has for sure made my life easier. I think that the GDPR directive we got in May is a good thing, offering more transparency to way sites are handling user data and in its way making the Internet safer. In my opinion, it is one example of positive European regulations and directives.
But, and this is a big BUT: too much is too much!
From https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/eu-copyright-legislation, the EU’s official site:
The EU copyright legislation is a set of ten directives, which harmonise essential rights of authors and of performers, producers and broadcasters. By setting harmonised standards, the EU law reduces national discrepancies, ensures the level of protection required to foster creativity and investment in creativity, promotes cultural diversity and ensures better access for consumers and business to digital content and services across Europe.
It is very difficult to see how for instance Win10.guru in the future needing a license from EU to post the preceding quote will “harmonise” anyone’s rights?
The Copyright Directive will need to pass a plenary vote in European Parliament before becoming official legislation. This vote is expected to happen sometime in the mid first half of 2019, another vote about sending the new Copyright Directive back to JURI being scheduled for 4th of July. Hopefully common sense will win and we will see these two articles if not removed but at least changed to something that would not change Internet too much.
Video from https://juliareda.eu/2018/06/not-giving-up/
Author: Kari Finn
A former Windows Insider MVP, Kari started in computing in the mid 80’s writing code for VAX / VMS systems. Since then, he’s worked in a variety of IT positions. He specializes in Windows image capture, customization, repair and deployment as well as Hyper-V virtualization. Kari is a proud Team Member at number #1 Windows site TenForums.com.