What’s going on in Europe and why it’s so Dangerous for the Internet?

There’s something going on in Brussels, something that can change the Web as we know it. I always believed Internet should be open and free and I fought for that at Mozilla and I keep doing that at publica.la, where we empower Publishers and Content Creators to share content and knowledge.

The European Parliament is discussing a dangerous Proposal to change the way Copyright laws are applied in the Digital Market.

There’s a lot on the proposal, and you can read it all if you’re interested but I’m just going to talk about one point here. And it’s the point number 13 that threats the current Internet’s Ecosystem and User-oriented content platforms like publica.la

What’s the problem? Making Intermediaries Accountable

Services like YouTube, Facebook or even publica.la are based on giving a platform that Users can use to share knowledge, this has been in many cases the basic point for Internet’s success: Allowing people to share freely and easily content with each other.

Nevertheless Copyright laws were always enforced, Rights Owner were able to request the removal of any content to any of those Service Providers, and until now the only person or institution responsible for the “piracy” action was the Author of that action (“the User uploading the content”) and was for a Judge to say if the person was guilty or the content should be removed.

With the new Proposal, the EU is also making accountable for the “Piracy” action to the Intermediary (YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, publica.la, etc) and requiring the Platform to analyze and authorize the content beforehand.  This means: Creating some kind of automatic revision to every piece of content uploaded in the Platform.

If the Proposal is passed as it is, will obviously result on a decrease on the Usage and the very basic principle of Internet: Sharing Content. This is even worst because the EU is expecting Hosting Providers to control what’s uploaded to their servers. So this will basically result on that: People pulling off from those services and trying to find, as always, new and more open ways.

As part of the Spaniard Startups Association (Asociación Española de Startups) we at publica.la want to endorse to the open letter written by the AES, AMETIEC, ICMDIA and ASGECO and here’s their position:

Alertan que el control sobre la legalidad de los contenidos no puede ser sometido o juzgado de forma previa por una autoridad, un algoritmo o una herramienta tecnológica de filtrado: corresponde tan sólo los tribunales aplicar la ley civil o penal en cada caso.

  1. The control over the legality of the contents can’t be judged beforehand by any algorithm or technological filtering tool: It’s only for the Judge and Tribunals to apply the law
  2. Remember that the responsibles of any act of piracy or plagiary are those making the act and Service Providers or Tech Tools can’t be considered as partners in crime or cooperator.

There is much more on the letter and you can red it here (in Spanish)

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