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Author Topic: Could Europe’s new copyright directives affect Bitcointalk ?  (Read 51 times)
DdmrDdmr
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June 29, 2018, 09:35:09 AM
Merited by xtraelv (1)
 #1

I recently posted something similar on my local board, but the board is rather inactive at times and discussion on this topic seems to be remote.
My initial idea was to post this topic on Meta, where Forum structure and rules are discussed, but I refrained since I’m not sure how likely the change of rules that Europe is cooking-up could eventually affect Bitcointalk on the whole.
This week, the European Parliament’s Legal Commission ruled in favour of going forward with the proposal to modify Europe’s copyright laws, adjusting them to the current situation and extending it’s claws on to internet’s digital content platforms.

The change of rules is not fully consolidated, and are therefore not yet to be enforced. But the process could be fully certified in the coming months, a year at the most, giving birth to a new legal framework which is bound to be controversial right from the beginning as well see further along this post.
The Directive of European Parliament and the Council on copyright in the Digital Single Market (see https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:52016PC0593) proposes a set of changes that are contrary to the digital freedom as we know it, by monetarizing or prohibiting many of our usual habits on the internet that are at times based of work of others, but that constitute a de facto a part of the internet culture.

I must state right from the beginning, nevertheless, that the new proposed framework of rules is still rather undefined when it comes to filling in the fine print. It shows intention, but does not in any way (yet) specify in full detail how to deploy the proposed set of rules, their economic impact (neither in terms of sanctions nor in terms of royalty payment for copyrights). They also do not detail the exact scope of action (large corporations, small ones, etc.) nor how it applies to global information repositories that are fed by users belonging to multiple nations as is our case on Bitcointalk (thus this post).
The European proposal affects multiple areas (even Big Data, although I will not go into this one any further here), amongst which the following stand out due to their controversy:

Article 11: Protection of press publications concerning digital uses.

To summarize it in short, we may have a rough time to include a link to an article (which is kind of mandatory on this forum, as is often done both for reference and to avoid being accused of plagiarism), or even a quoted extract of copyrighted text.
The implications have an economic base, as from what I’ve gathered, one would need to pay to post the link or use an extract from the text (no indication however as to who would need to pay for it - or the fine - : the platform or the user).

In Spain, back in 2014, a very similar law was set in motion, causing Google News Spain to cease it’s activity on the whole. Enforcements of a kind, if applied severely, could create more than a ripple on our internet habits.
False positives (accusations of copyright infringement that turn out to be unfounded) are potentially an issue, since the first to register the text gets the copyright rights and you only need to be a bit forgetful on these matters for a witty rascal to steal your food from your plate and register it himself, waiting for you to fall on his Monopoly board square, and making you pay for using your own article.
This may be seem over exaggerated, but it’s not an impossible situation, especially when there’s money to be gained (who would have thought that people would throw themselves voluntarily at cars, so as to try to get the insurance compensation right?).

Article 13: Use of protected content by information society service providers storing and giving access to large amounts of works and other subject-matter uploaded by their users.

This one is a true gem. The article in summary goes to say that those platforms that offer services in the area of information societies, must apply filters to the content, avoiding publishing of text, images and videos that have copyright protection.
That’s to say, the classical memes that are based on an clip from a film, series, news, etc., and the static memes based on and image, would all be scrutinized and prohibited/deleted if in breach of copyright (most of the memes are, up to some extent).
The rule’s fine print is not written, so we do not know yet if the target would be the large corporations based in Europe, or all of them (even small local forums for example).
How would this affect European citizens that post on an international platform such as Bitcoin Talk? Should the Wall Observer thread tremble at the loss of European citizen’s contribution?


These European proposals have already found a large opposition, both in public statements from relevant people, and from anonymous citizens. Change.org has a petition to stop these rules from being deployed, with over 584K signatories (see https://www.change.org/p/european-parliament-stop-the-censorship-machinery-save-the-internet?utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition,).

Perhaps I’m getting too alarmed here, since the fine print has yet to be written and, therefore, we do not know the full extent of the new rules yet. Nevertheless, what we know so far is no small matter.
This month we have seen the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) been deployed in Europe. While the intentions of the regulation seem to be good for the citizen, the new regulation is rather a fiasco for corporations who overnight had to become “dumb”. Before the regulation change, corporations could easily analyse customers from a global customer centric perspective, offering goods and services to the customer by exploiting information gathered from any of the corporation’s integrating companies. Now, corporations are back to viewing the customer from different separate silos, not being able to share information that was used just a few days back. Anyway, that’s a whole different story on it’s own.

Concerning Bitcointalk, I’m not really sure if there regulations could affect the Forum and to what extent. My first though was that the effect should be close to zero, since Bitcointalk is registered in Panama (according to https://whois.net).
Perhaps this is so, and this article would be rendered void, as there would be no implications for Bitcointalk and it´s community.
On the other hand, content generated by Europeans that break the tougher copyright laws, and that is posted on Bitcointalk, would probably be contrary to European Law, so the action of the European citizen could be subject to scrutiny (although being Bitcointalk pseudo-anonymous I doubt that a user could be pursues nominally).

Conceptually, this rule set could splash over other countries like the USA. I don’t think that they will likely clone Europe’s change of copyright rules, but sometimes these things spread in no time. At the very least, corporations with a headquarters on European soil would have to abide the new ruleset.

If the key to keeping in the clear of this tighter set of copyright rules is to move corporate bases away from Europe, we could start to see a migration of corporate headquarters for certain businesses and forums away from European soil. That is something that needs to be pondered heavily by the authorities when spelling out the fine print for the new copyright laws … 

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July 19, 2018, 12:46:30 AM
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Perhaps I’m getting too alarmed here, since the fine print has yet to be written and, therefore, we do not know the full extent of the new rules yet. Nevertheless, what we know so far is no small matter.


You can never be "too alarmed" when they are proposing changes and the fine print is unknown.

Intellectual property is primarily a cash grab. It is protectionism and hinders progress.

I'm a staunch supporter of the EFF https://www.eff.org/about

I firmly believe that with collaboration things would progress faster. Instead now hundreds of teams are seeking a cure for cancer in isolation - most of that on donated funds to some corporation can buy the patent rights and earn millions.

There are business models where reduced copyright rights would work much better.

We are surrounded by legends on this forum. Phenomenal successes and catastrophic failures. Then there are the scams. This forum is a digital museum.  
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