European Union Copyright Directive puts internet freedom under risk

European Union Copyright Directive

Chances are if you’ve been on the internet in the last couple of days, then you’ve heard about the European union’s latest ruling, regarding copyright and the internet. The copyright directive legislation has been in the works for a long time, but on 26th March this piece of legislation passed winning the vote 348 to 274. Member states of the EU now have 2 years to implement this into their own countries laws.

Much of what is included in this legislation is boring legalese regarding contracts, and how licensed material will be handled. The internet isn’t a static place it is dynamic and constantly changing. Many have described the EU copyright directive as the war on memes which often re-purpose unlicensed material. New Scientist has published a comprehensive guide covering what the EU copyright directive actually is.

Websites owners will now be responsible for all content uploads regardless of size

Once this new set of rules comes into effect it will be down to the website owners to ensure all content on their sites are free of copyrighted material, unless of course you have permission to use it. YouTube has been struggling for years to remove content which breaches copyrights. Smaller websites will be hit hardest as there is no software which can effective seek out content in violation of copyright. Take YouTube which has been fighting with pirated material for years. They created their own AI to seek out content in violation of copyright and remove it. The problem is these AI’s at least for now are unable to understand context. They also often completely ignore fair use with many YouTuber’s seeing their entire libraries demonetized overnight. Small forums and other websites where users upload photos and videos will likely have to pull the plug or risk legal action. We have seen enough abuse of fair use from big studios before these new rules have come into effect.

Fair use is already being abused by copyright holders why would we give them more power to do so

There are numerous petitions to overturn or amend the EU copyright directive. The biggest petition is on Change.org and at the time of writing currently has 5.1 million signatures and counting. If you want to stop internet censorship then please support this petition.

We cannot make it easy for companies to censor the internet. They already control what we see on TV, hear on the radio and make piles of cash. They can’t have the internet and I won’t go down without a fight.

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