It’s basically a battle between billionaires Axel Springer SE and Google. But it is ordinary internet users who will fall victim to the EU’s new copyright law, which urgently needs modification.
It’s good to share. But the European Parliament clearly doesn’t think so. Its new copyright legislation, passed last week, clamps down quite severely on sharing things online. The dynamism of the internet is at threat. When Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, warns us of the dangers the new law poses, we should all sit up straight and pay attention.
For a start, the legislation shifts the responsibility for the uploading of copyright material to the internet platforms themselves. Beforehand it was the job of the companies who thought their copyright was infringed to do this. Many don’t bother, and are happy to see their material uploaded to sites like YouTube as they know it promotes an artist’s work and boosts sales. But all that is likely to change.
Under Article 13, platforms would have to install “upload filters”.YouTube could be shorn of much of its content. Big sites would probably survive but, as ZDNet warns here, smaller sites could easily be put out of business by “copyright trolls”.
Not that there’s anything wrong of course, with sensible protection of copyright. As a prolific five-articles-a-week writer and author I can’t tell you how frustrated and angry I feel when I see my work “pirated”by a commercial website which hasn’t even asked my permission to reprint it, let alone offer me payment. Copyright law needs reform for the digital age. There needs to be an easy way for creators of content to receive payment from those who have stolen their work. The trouble is, the EU has used a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
Look at the way the ability to link to, and quote from, other work without payment, is threatened by the directive.
Sites like RT’s ‘Op-ed’ section, which you are reading now, would be adversely affected and may be even put out of action.