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European parliament committee approves vote on ‘disastrous’ copyright bill (bbc.com)
675 points by sebst 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 390 comments



Technically, a law like this is prone to be abused for censorship purposes. Whether this “dual use” is intended or not by parliamentarian voters, is obviously unclear.

To make it even worse, such laws don’t “outlaw” some behaviour, but put a high risk on it through civil law. So, it helps multinationals (and a possible malevolent regime) and hurts small companies as well as citizens. To me, it’s hard to believe this is not intended (like so many other (mostly) EU laws.

However, always bear in mind Ayn Rand:

> “Did you really think we want those laws observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them to be broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against… We’re after power and we mean it… There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Reardon, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”


Don’t forget compliance with GDPR probably means it’s not possible to comply with this new copyright laws. Fun times for EU startups.

P.S.: Taking some risks quoting Ayn Rand on HN. :)


> Don’t forget compliance with GDPR probably means it’s not possible to comply with this new copyright laws. Fun times for EU startups.

GDPR is a good example of another law which is potentially dangerous. However, I do see that it's hard to comply with both, but I don't see how they interact with other.

> P.S.: Taking some risks quoting Ayn Rand on HN. :)

Why?


> GDPR is a good example of another law which is potentially dangerous. However, I do see that it's hard to comply with both, but I don't see how they interact with other.

The copyright law requires you to store metadata about the user who publish content forever while GDPR forbids you to do so.

> Why?

I would say most of HN leans left not libertarian.


> The copyright law requires you to store metadata about the user who publish content forever

Then GDPR does not forbid you to do so, Article 6.1 c)

> 1. Processing shall be lawful only if and to the extent that at least one of the following applies:

> [...]

> c) processing is necessary for compliance with a legal obligation to which the controller is subject;


> The copyright law requires you to store metadata about the user who publish content forever while GDPR forbids you to do so.

GDPR allows you to do so, if there is a requirement. Complying with another law is certainly a reasonable requirement. That's also why you're "allowed" to keep your invoices for ten years, because you're "required" to do so.

> I would say most of HN leans left not libertarian.

This might be true, might be false. A good discussion should incorporate different views. And back to topic: I firmly believe this law to be dangerous by itself and not because there is a (more or less) applicable quote by a controversial writer.


> GDPR allows you to do so, if there is a requirement. Complying with another law is certainly a reasonable requirement. That's also why you're "allowed" to keep your invoices for ten years, because you're "required" to do so.

True. Your quote from Ayn Rand was actually a reaction from 2 characters discussing how one law make it not possible to respect another. GDPR does make it more complex, and one can argue copyright is not a subject that should infringe privacy. It’s up to debate. Debate that US based startups won’t need to have if they don’t want to.

And it was more a Kudos to quoting Ayn Rand and an upvote!


Libertarian doesn't mean "right-wing", it just was co-opted as such, in fact there are many left-wing libertarians.


Many as in 2%?

There are certainly some ideas of merit but supporting politicians that push it seems to inevitably involve benefiting the right who is pushing for many agendas that will personally damage me and mine so I cannot in good conscience do so.


In Europe, it's many, in the U.S. not so much. That's why most politicians you see are of the right-wing variety.

And you seem to be misunderstanding. Left-wing libertarians do not have the same set of ideas as the right-wing ones, you seem to think that there is "libertarianism" and that I am saying that some on the left also stand for those ideas that those on the right, (the only real area of agreement is an anti-war stance).

Left libertarianism is mostly about personal freedom, as opposed to authoritarianism, while still being in favor of social programs, oppose privatization of public services etc. You should read up on it.

See also [1].

"In the United States, the word "libertarian" has become associated with right-libertarianism after Murray Rothbard and Karl Hess reached out to the New Left in the 1960s.[7] However, until then political usage of the word was associated exclusively with anti-capitalism and in most parts of the world such an association still predominates."

1 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-libertarianism


And libertarians aren't necessarily or typically objectivists.


Libertarianism is orthogonal to left-right split.

https://www.politicalcompass.org/


It seems the left-leaning flavor is rarely seen in online commentary or among the tech moguls who openly embrace libertarianism.


libertarianism is whatever it needs to be to win the argument at hand.

it means about as much as "scripting language" or "strongly typed"


... did you just call libertarians weakly typed??

Also, now I want to write a framework called "libtarianism" that includes a pseudo rand generator.


True, but a lot of people do not see it that way. (although that's partly due to prominent Republicans hitching a ride on the Libertarian wagon when it's convenient)


I would say most of HN leans left not libertarian.

I would've thought so too, until I looked at discussions about unions on here.


Why?

Look at all the mentions of "nazi", "fascist" and "hate-speech" in this thread. You can tell when a place leans left because this is a common left-wing conspiracy theory - that the world is full of fascists/nazis, but they're all trying to hide it. They call it 'cryptofascism'.


But cryptofascists will put you on a blocktrain.


That was my smile for today!


[flagged]


This comment is profoundly ignorant. You're dismissing her philosophy because of two descriptive words (and not even the best two, which would probably be "rational selfishness"), which you have decided are the "opposite of good" simply because history says they are? That's just an appeal to tradition: plenty of people have been wrong about plenty of things throughout history, especially in the areas of morality and ethics.

You clearly know nothing about Rand's philosophy. You would do yourself a favor to correct that error. Even if you ultimately disagree with her, she has very many intelligent things to say and, if you give her a chance, she will challenge many of your preconceptions about morality, ethics, and their postcursors of economics and politics, and raise the level of your discourse significantly.


Yes this happens to not be one of those cases, espousing the virtues of selfishness isn’t up for debate anymore. It’s wrong, and has been shown to be so time and time again. To have to rehash such foolishness is pointless.


Proclaiming that something is not up for debate and refusing to engage meaningfully is an extremely easy way to lose the debate.


Actually, it's stratagem no.32 for winning a debate. http://coolhaus.de/art-of-controversy/erist32.htm

Of course it's fine for you to dismiss their entire point with derailment even further into meta-arguments because, after all, they started it /s


It's a way to try to win the debate on the cheap. Whether it works or not depends on the other party in the debate.


and on the mental and cultural capacity of the spectators :)


See social shaming here[1].

>Social shaming also isn’t an argument. It’s a demand for listeners to place someone outside the boundary of people who deserve to be heard; to classify them as so repugnant that arguing with them is only dignifying them. If it works, supporting one side of an argument imposes so much reputational cost that only a few weirdos dare to do it, it sinks outside the Overton Window, and the other side wins by default.

> Nobody expects this to convince anyone... People who use this strategy know exactly what they’re doing and are often quite successful. The goal is not to convince their opponents, or even to hurt their opponent’s feelings, but to demonstrate social norms to bystanders.

[1]: http://slatestarcodex.com/2018/05/08/varieties-of-argumentat...


Allowing yourself to be dragged into the same argument over and over again, because some people are just not listening (creationism, flat earthers, moon hoax believers, ...) is a waste of time. Publicly reminding the readers about the majority view on the situation and then letting the argument go is fine as a response.

(And yes, the majority view is that Rand is not worthy of any special attention as either a philosopher, political theorist, economist or author. Not more worthy than any other random member of those groups of people.)


There is absolutely merit to discussing ideas that you disagree with. And in particular to this context, I personally found lots of value in Atlas Shrugged. Often it lead to me disagree with her philosophy. If anything, reading things that you disagree with allows you to intelligently refute claims instead of vaguely claiming that someone is incorrect and refusing to engage. That is a sure fire way to make people dig into their beliefs.


> It’s wrong

...and natural and efficient. ie Not wrong or right. I'm not sure where you get your ideas from.


The Nash equilibrium is also natural, efficient, and non-optimal in many cases. Which, in the face of "optimal", could be described as "wrong" if the belief is that optimal is desirable.


Just because something is "natural" doesn't mean it can't be ethically wrong. We have another word for things like that--they're called "amoral" and it literally means there is no ethical choice being made. The concept of "natural" is orthogonal to this.

Lots of things we consider "natural", we also pride ourselves on the ability to choose not to give in to.

Vice versa, there could be things that are "not natural" which--oh wait, no there aren't. To be "natural" is one of those really stretchy concepts that can include anything if you argue it the right way back.

For instance, this discussion is about a copyright bill. Is that natural? Is copyright natural? Is economics? Politics? Rationality?

We also have a word for such terms in an debate: inconsequential.

Not to speak of the idea that anything that is "efficient" must be amoral. In my opinion exactly the opposite is true. Most things which are "efficient" read pretty damn strong on my right/wrong moral compass--either I think they're pretty cool, or I think they're pretty terrible. There's really very few efficient things that make me feel "yeaaaahhh, it's efficient sure, but meh. you do you".

Things that are efficient you need to consider extra carefully exactly because the efficiency can swing the needle on the moral compass rather dramatically!


Killing newborn cubs and impregnating the mother with your own is also very natural and efficient. I hope you agree it's also very wrong and that the argument from nature is an amazingly awful argument.


> Yes this happens to not be one of those cases, espousing the virtues of selfishness isn’t up for debate anymore

In your selflessness, perhaps you'll consider espousing my view instead of yours? In return, I promise to dutifully, comprehensively, and correctly represent your view, as you can see I've done here now.


I've always seen objectivism as a branch of consequentialism. Utilitarianism is a different branch of consequentialism, in that it seeks to maximize the greater good for others. Objectivism seeks the maximize the good for the self. "Rational selfishness" is a fine enough description, I suppose, except for the cases where the two words conflict, like in tragedy of the commons.


Philosophy is too kind a word. If I invent a new kind of math which encapsulates obvious stuff like addition,subtraction and multiplication before going off the rails and spewing nonsense the fact that I reiterated arithmetic isn't much of a point in my favor.

She was born to wealth she didn't earn and saw the confiscation of such when the communists took over Russia.

She forever thereafter decried all taxation for the common good not seeing a substantive distinction between the communists taking all her families shit and a democratically elected government taxing to pay for hospitals and roads.

Her ideal man was a criminal to kidnapped a little girl, extorted her father for money, then took the money and ditched the little girls dismembered body and took the money and ran because he refused to live by societies rules.

She gushed over him before dying dependent upon the social security she didn't want anyone else to have.


I find Ayn Rand to be quite similar to Karl Marx.

Both use cherry-picking and unfalsifiable approaches to history and sociology to construct a narrative in which there are two classes: the noble, heroic people who produce all the value; and the awful, leeching parasites who attempt to co-opt that value for their own use.

The differences between them are rooted entirely in which class each views as noble and value-producing versus which is parasitical.


Waaaaaaaitaminute--aren't parasites "natural", too?

Problem solved. Shall we talk about the copyright bill, now? :)


I see your account is new, so you may not be aware, but HN doesn't appreciate this kind of comments. Please refrain from writing them, and please take a look at the site's guidelines: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Unsurprisingly, this law was most pushed by anti-EU right-wing politicians that somehow got elected as MEP, such as Marie-Christine Boutonnet[0] and Gilles Lebreton[1].

All French MEPs of the European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs but one are right-wing eurosceptics, and for this law[2].

(Aside, the right-wing extremists MEPs were easily recognized during the Zuckerberg hearing, as their questions focused exclusively on the worry that Facebook restricts —“censors”, in their words— hate speech[3].)

[0]: https://twitter.com/MCBoutonnetFN/status/1009429390151901185

[1]: https://twitter.com/Gilles_Lebreton/status/10093895047871078...

[2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Parliament_Committee_...

[3]: https://twitter.com/NicolasBay_/status/998979333011197952


That's not really borne out by the vote: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/cmsdata/149721/juri-committee-...

It seems that 3 eurosceptics voted yes, one voted no, and two abstained. The bill was actually introduced and mostly voted for by the EPP, which is a centre-right and strongly pro-EU group (Angela Merkel's CDU is part of it).


Restricting so-called "hate speech" is censorship. Perhaps it's censorship you agree with, but then at least have the integrity to forthrightly say you agree with censorship.


The definition of censorship only applies to government decisions.

A non-governmental entity can only, by definition, censor something if mandated by the government.


True. But this mandate is what these anti hate speech laws are about.


I want to say, I heard all this talk of Ayn Rand as some kind of evil bogeyman, and then I listened to her speak on YouTube. She grew up in a horrible communist dictatorship, and then found refuge in the US. She spoke about how unfair governments can be, and spoke out against forced control of the people. I found her to be super reasonable! She only represents one persons view and I feel that libertarians often fail to appreciate the benefits of collectivization, but I think a lot of normal people that criticize Ayn Rand are actually mad about the jerks who use her name in political conversations to justify being self centered. Especially in this age of overbearing governments, I encourage everyone to look her up on YouTube and listen to her own words.


She was surely broken in several fundamental ways. But as a product of her time and history, she has plenty to say. And it can resonate even today.

As with anything, some balance is required. Monopolies exist (and seem inevitable these days) and must be dealt with. But person-to-person, her views and the individual are evergreen.


She was on welfare in America. She wasn’t even interested in trying her philosophy out on her self. Why should I try it out?


> She was on welfare in America.

“In 1976, she retired from writing her newsletter and, despite her initial objections, she allowed Evva Pryor, an employee of her attorney, to enroll her in Social Security and Medicare.”

Medicare provides health insurance for older Americans who have worked and paid into the system through the payroll tax. Social Security is also funded by payroll taxes. Did Rand “take out more than she put in”, so to speak?


Her estate was estimated to be around $500,000, about a million in today's money. By comparison, her total social security collections were 11,000 dollars. She collected social security but was in no way dependent on it. She advocated everyone to collect it regardless of whether they needed it or not [1]

> Since there is no such thing as the right of some men to vote away the rights of others, and no such thing as the right of the government to seize the property of some men for the unearned benefit of others — the advocates and supporters of the welfare state are morally guilty of robbing their opponents, and the fact that the robbery is legalized makes it morally worse, not better. The victims do not have to add self-inflicted martyrdom to the injury done to them by others; they do not have to let the looters profit doubly, by letting them distribute the money exclusively to the parasites who clamored for it. Whenever the welfare-state laws offer them some small restitution, the victims should take it.

TL;DR: people might as well get back some of the money the government collected from them.

1. https://campus.aynrand.org/works/1966/01/01/the-question-of-...


It's not that she's evil, just that her "philosophy" is what you said: one person's view (i.e. opinion). She couldn't reconcile many critiques of Objectivism and didn't do much self-analysis on it. So despite how good many of her individual ideas sound, together they're thin and don't really make up a coherent theory that many people can take seriously. Unless you're a jerk using her name to justify being self-centered :) (just kidding)


I have heard several working philosophers describe her work as "incoherent" in a philosophical sense -- inconsistent in ways that are unreconcilable.

These are people with no particular horse in any race; there isn't a lot of money in rejecting one 20th century pop philosopher.

I haven't read enough of her stuff to develop my own opinions, so I'm happy to defer to them on the philosophy. I have read enough of her stuff to say that I find it turgid to the point of unreadability; a very dated style. Reminds me of L Ron Hubbard's stuff, which is also just about unreadable (dianetics or otherwise).


Right, and it's echoed in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy [0] and elsewhere.

[0] https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ayn-rand/#Intr


Being that her friend and apprentice was Alan Greenspan you can see where people get a little weird about rand. Also the rand think tank that spews serious amounts of fascist policy.


The RAND Corporation gets its name from Research ANd Development.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAND_Corporation


> the rand think tank that spews serious amounts of fascist policy.

Like so many ideologies, the fan club is what most people dislike. If you are capable of taking Rands philosophies with a grain of salt, there are many brilliant concepts to glean.


"If you are capable of taking Rands philosophies with a grain of salt, there are many brilliant concepts to glean."

Such as?

Minitel:It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. --Adam Smith

Except in practice societies require self interest and benevolence and structures designed to promote the latter in order that we can all enjoy the fruits of our respective labor in a functional society.


That's why it was so newsworthy when Greenspan went on the record of being completely flummoxxed about the global financial system crisis back in the late 2000s. "Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholders' equity (myself especially) are in a state of shocked disbelief."


I could be wrong, but I don't think Rand and RAND are related, despite the name.


It was approved on in a committee of the European parliament (for legal matters), which means that now they will enter negotiations with the European Council and then after some time and processes laid out in Art. 293ff TFEU, it will be debated in the European Parliament at some point.

So yes, there is still plenty of room and time to discuss this rather unfortunate policy.

EDIT:

For more info: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20180618IPR...

Votes: Yes - 14 MEPs No - 9 MEPs Abstentions - 2 MEPs


Is there a list of who voted and how available anywhere?


I wonder if any of these people have received campaign funding from entrenched industries that benefit from draconian copyright laws?

Having said that, GDPR has actually turned out to be a very well thought through piece of legislation - I actually agree with it's premises largely and the fact we can't take a database dump anymore and have full access to people's personal details is an extremely good thing IMO.

How Facebook are in compliance with it I have no idea as it would seem impossible to justify a lot of their more intrusive/social features.


> I wonder if any of these people have received campaign funding from entrenched industries that benefit from draconian copyright laws?

Yes. https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20180531/00285739946/eu-pa...


Wouldn't the "link tax" have a detrimental effect on a site's Pagerank? Lets say someone writes a blogpost on site X and links to site Y, now site Y wants you to pay them for the privilege of linking to them. The blogger might just decide not to link (or save the hassle and not even ask whether they can link without paying). Over time site Y's incoming links drops as nobody is willing to link to it anymore.

Good luck with SEO under such rules, in fact it would be nice if Google then offered an easy way to filter out all the sites that require paying to link to them.


Facebook doesn't need to justify it. All they need to do is send a notice to their users asking for consent. How many of them do will read what that entails, and how many of those would decide their privacy is more important for them than facebook?


My understanding is that consent is not sufficient. In addition, data collection must directly serve a legitimate business purpose. Though I guess Facebook has lawyers willing to argue that anything they do serves their core business.


My reading of it was that you need either consent or a legitimate business purpose, not both.[0]

[0]: Article 6(1), https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A...


Ah, yes. Agreed.


What I mean is technical issues - searching an encrypted graph database has got to be very complicated!


"It will be available once the minutes for the meeting have been compiled in the days to come." (from @EP_Legal)

https://twitter.com/EP_Legal/status/1009418817393577985


Here's a previous projection: https://juliareda.eu/2018/06/saveyourinternet/, looks like the EFDD switched their votes.



I couldn't find the vote there... Looks like it's just the Parliament votes? (this was a committee vote)





Here it is:

https://juliareda.eu/2018/06/not-giving-up/

Who voted in favour? Conservatives, social democrats, liberals and the Nazi.. uh nationalists.

Against? Greens and the left

You should be able to find the original list here, by opening the PDF for 20 June:

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/juri/votes-in-co...

The actual content of the amendments is here:

http://www.emeeting.europarl.europa.eu/committees/agenda/201...


the Nazi.. uh nationalists.

That's not a constructive way to look at the world. It's the left-wing equivalent of claiming Obama is a Marxist. Get some perspective.


So yes, there is still plenty of room and time to discuss this rather unfortunate policy.

But not that much time. The main European Parliament vote is due in July.

For those of you in the EU, now is probably a good time to be writing to your MEPs.


No, in July is (assuming someone will force it, which is likely) the vote by the EP to confirm the the committee is authorized to work with the Council on the plans.

Whatever the negotiate out will then by voted on by the MEPs. The negotiation is likely to take a few months, and I kind of expect a fight about the speed: those against the proposal will want to stall to get the vote as close as possible to the elections in May 2019, whereas those in support likely want to get it out the door as quickly as possible. I've seen some people suggest December as a likely time for the final vote.


Right, but today's vote was just a committee. Next month it comes before the full Parliament. If sufficient awareness can be raised among MEPs before the vote next month that it becomes a toxic issue politically, my understanding is that voting it down at that stage would be an opportunity to effectively stop the whole process.


right, it would already by a good place to kill it, so yes, go call your MEPs!

But there's still another chance afterwards, which might be more successful given the timing of the election and people now maybe more likely to argue that it can be "fixed" in negotiations.


Ah, yes, sorry. I realised my original comment was ambiguous. I meant that the vote next month will be by the entire Parliament rather than just a committee, not that next month's vote will necessarily be the final decision.


>>> ...now is probably a good time to be writing to your MEPs.

Don't "write". Modern politicians don't open paper letters and they delete emails even more quickly. Tweet. Scream on Facebook. Most importantly: get the support of social media celebs. Between elections, any photogenic teenager with a thousand twitter followers has more political power than a thousand grandmothers writing letters. If you can, get some Hollywood celebs. A visit from an attractive movie star is better than years of campaigns and lawyers.

This is the sorry state of the world in which we now live but we can only act within the world we are given.


In the US politicians take calls and written letters most seriously.

It's far, far too easy to tweet or facebook something. A passing emotion with no commitment. If someone writes a letter they have put a lot of effort in and are seriously involved in the issue. They might even do something as outdated as vote or talk to their neighbors.

That's the kind of behavior that is dangerous to a politician and gets noticed. So written letters and phone calls are the best way to get a politician's attention.


If this law has already been paid for, what you would get from your MEP is a template response in the spirit of "I share your concerns blah blah, but copyrights are important blah blah". I don't think you can do much about it at this point.


I'm in the UK. Conservative MEP did as you said, Labour one sent a bit of a boilerplate that they are considering it, UKIP are of course against it but thats par for the course with them, the green one sent a detailed response and is voting against both art 11 and 13 (the ones I raised issue with).


I have had some very intelligent non-boilerplate replies from Green Party UK MEPs. However, it looks as though we won't have another opportunity to vote for them.


I've found the Greens Europe-wide to take the EU the most seriously as a political body. They run serious Europe-wide campaigns for EP elections, and send politicians of substance to the EP rather than sending the second string like most other parties do.


Hate them as most people in the UK do (I've never voted for them and wouldn't either), UKIP already resolved this (in a far more permanent way than the greens) by ensuring EU law does not apply to the UK in future.


What are you going to do next time the UK parliament passes a law you don't like? Dissolve the United Kingdom?


Campaign to overturn it - which I feel is more likely to be successful here than in EU, which is comprised of member states with a wide variety of values.


I think the variety of values within the UK is just as great as within the EU as a whole. You can never convince everyone and you don't have to.

But I also think that not speaking a common language does indeed make campaigning for any particular issue more difficult.

It's a trade-off. Not having a say in Europe doesn't necessarily mean you don't have to comply, which will become painfully obvious in the near future.


Can we?

I'd be in favour of dissolving it back to counties with a senate.

The south never does anything for us up North.


Yeah, but what have you done for us lately? </ducks>


London economy subsidises rest of UK, ONS figures show

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/may/23/uk-budget-d...


It's not really surprising that the only part of the UK that gets significant investment is the only part that's able to make any money.


Or that the parts of the UK that traditionally relied on industries that went away but without any real attempt (Northern Powerhouse excepted off course...cough) to replace them.

Shrugs, Brexit is going to be interesting if the impact on the financial and legal services is as large as predicted.


Well that's completely false. We'll still be abiding by EU laws long after we leave. By 'most people', I'm assuming you mean the 30% who actually voted to leave?


> We'll still be abiding by EU laws long after we leave.

That's a rather ignorant comment.

The 'Great Repeal' bill as it was called was/is - I lose track of where it is in the law process at the moment - effectively did/will do a 'mv' of all EU regulation that the UK was beholden to over its own UK laws and when this has to be done before the UK leaves and will probably be done sooner.

Then the parliament will cherry pick the bits they want to keep and update/change/remove those that we do not.

> I'm assuming you mean the 30% who actually voted to leave?

Actually while the Brexit vote to leave was significantly more than 30%, the past polls that have asked a more specific question of sovereignty/law making by the EU commission that seems to override UK Law is significantly larger than the amount that voted to leave.

Voting Leave != Does not like EU Commission making Laws by people the UK did not and cannot vote out.


Nothing ignorant about the statement that the UK will still be abiding by EU laws long after Brexit day, this is a fact. There's the possibility of diverging in some areas but even so the UK will largely align with the single market to maintain the levels of access it needs.

> Voting Leave != Does not like EU Commission making Laws by people the UK did not and cannot vote out.

And this betrays a very poor understanding of EU law making while hiding behind the shallow notion of who is elected and ejected on the behest of voters. The UK's political system is not exactly setup to satisfy that notion even after Brexit, since voters have no real choices & accountability is not seriously practiced. Bad politicians even after breaching ministerial code are simply reintroduced after a brief periods in the naughty box. Some are even rewarded for lying by getting high ranking cabinet jobs. Nothing so hollow as Brits handwringing about EU democratic processes while ignoring the problems with its own system.


> of all EU regulation that the UK was beholden to over its own UK laws

There are very few of those. One of the problems people kept banging on about is that the UK "copper bottoms" any EU regulation, making it more onerous than it could be, when they add it to UK law.


It's completely true. While we're moving law to the UK, we then get to remove anything we don't like. And yes, the majority of people who voted wanted that.


>While we're moving law to the UK, we then get to remove anything we don't like.

Fancy naming a few laws that 'we' don't like?

If we want to trade and have anything to do with the EU, we're going to have to follow their laws and regulations whether we're in the EU or not.


No, because I don't know what you and the other 50 million people here want, and nobody has elected me.

Does the US follow EU laws and regulations?


You should really look up how EU regulations work.


Enlighten me please, as I don't believe the reasons for passing it are genuine.


I'm way oversimplifying this, but I'm going to enlighten you by saying that this isn't a part of law yet. It merely passed a checkpoint called legal committee (that consists of 25 MEPs) on its way to become a part of law.

There are still multiple checkpoints that can be used to counter this, and the proposal will almost certainly be voted on by the entire EP, probably in December/January.

That's why calling your representative makes a difference.


Lobbyists don't usually hand over money. Usually they are just good at appearing trustworthy and, uh, explaining the positions of their clients in terms that politicians understand.

Therefore, their explainees think they are doing genuinely good things.


By the way, I saw a honest-to-god lobbyist at a panel discusssion once. He was wearing a sort of relaxed suit and had a slight punk vibe with slightly messy hair. The personality-free banker look wouldn't win trust so easily when speaking for business interests. Those people really know what they are doing.


Surely they don't hand over cash, I didn't mean that, but they give benefits by different means.


The main benefit they give is to explain technical concepts in terms the politicians understand.

Sometimes that's a "benefit", but that's when calling them yourself helps the most.


That benefit could also be a card to anonymous account in tax haven.



This is what happens when those in control don't understand, know or care about the things they regulate.

So I guess this is bad.

--goes and reads article--

> Article 11, requiring online platforms to pay publishers a fee if they link to their news content, was also approved.

What the fucking FUCK?

Pay to send companies actual traffic? Pay to be allowed to use the basic building-block of the world wide web on the world wide web?

Just how is it possible to be so out of touch with how things work, and still be allowed to pass regulation?

I'm honestly not able to come up with an analogy which sufficiently illustrates just how backwards this whole thing is.


The law was basically made at the publisher’s behest to get Google to pay them. So far, it has spectularly backfired.

In Germany, Google started to delist news sites from their index. After traffic dropped, the publishers gave Google a license to link freely. Law defeated.

In Spain, they went a bit further and wrote into the law that Google had to list news sites in their index. So Google News shut down in Spain. Law defeated.

I guess, third time’s the charm?


So Google gets licenses to link to new sites for free, but smaller companies and private people's website cannot link to news sites?


Note the text 'and an inalienable right to obtain an fair and proportionate remuneration for such uses'

The idea is to make it impossible to give Google a free license.

The best outcome would be if Google would refuse to link to any content of European publishers.


"The best outcome would be if Google would refuse to link to any content of European publishers."

Not so much sure that's the "best" outcome as the only possible one. As rich as Google looks, when you start dividing their income by multiple multiplicative factors it doesn't last long; the log of Google's income isn't all that large.

On the other hand, Google definitely has a lot of cash to weather what to them will be at most a partial disruption of their money making system (as this is back in the linear domain rather than the log domain), whereas the online publications that get delisted from Google will be devastated.

I would predict with some confidence that if this does pass all the way into law in the EU that it would be unlikely to last very long as law. But it can cause a lot of damage in the meantime.


There are quite a few similar rights. One example is that radio stations don't have enter agreements with individual rights owners to license songs. There is blanket fee. Similar payments are for playing music in bars, restaurants and other public spaces, for copying machines, blank CDs (and video and cassette tape), etc. All of those fees are set to collect money, not to kill of that use.

The difference this time, is that contracts with individual rights owners are specifically excluded.

So the fee is likely going to be an amount that Google can afford. But for the good of the Internet, it would be best if Google refuses and shows EU citizens that copyright has gone way beyond reasonable.


>One example is that radio stations don't have enter agreements with individual rights owners to license songs.

Isn't that because the music creator already entered an agreement with a rights organization? If the music creator didn't enter an agreement with a rights organization, the station would have to directly enter an agreement with the musician. The musician has the power to decide whether to sign with the organization or not.


The musician doesn't have much choice here. Radio stations will only perform music licensed by the rights organizations, so either they join and get some money, or they don't and get zip. Rights organizations typically invert the burden of proof. Even worse, if they do join, in many countries they are no longer allowed to license their music in another way. In Belgium for example they are expressly forbidden from releasing their own music under a creative commons license.

Another thing rights organizations are notorious for are overbroad claims. They invert the burden of proof and require all performances to prove they are not playing licensed songs, and all music publishers to prove they are not publishing licensed songs. There is a lot of bureaucracy involved with this inverted burden of proof, which has no legal basis except that rights organizations can afford big legal bills and those on the other side mostly cannot.

I find this whole rights organization business to be nothing but a legalized racket.


At least in Finland, the state-sanctioned music copyright organization has a legal authority to sell performance permissions to all of the music in the world. Maybe someone in South America wrote a song, and that person has never even heard of Finland. But if you want to perform that song in Finland, you can buy the permit from the Finnish organization.


Capitalism here. We'd just charge Google the absolute minimum amount (0.00000000001 cent per click) and outdo our competition.


Proposal here, the language is a bit cleverer than "above zero".

https://juliareda.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/voss11.pdf


> fair and proportionate remuneration for such uses


I thought the newest reincarnation prevents such licences (i.e. it makes it impossible to waive the right to linking fee)?


For Spain that just got local news delisted with no legal recourse.


...what stops Google from just buying a newspaper, then?


Simple really: "BigMedia" want me to pay to link to this, so here's the same topic on SmallMediaSite.

or

I wanted to link this, but "BigMedia" want me to pay, so now I'm not even mentioning their title of the topic.


> Simple really: "BigMedia" want me to pay to link to this, so here's the same topic on SmallMediaSite.

It's actually more damaging than that from the perspective of EU regulators: "I can't link to that Le Monde article, so here's a WaPo piece about the same subject".

Internet content delivery spans borders, by design. All this does is disadvantage the local producers and force their customer's eyeballs offshore.


> Internet content delivery spans borders, by design. All this does is disadvantage the local producers and force their customer's eyeballs offshore.

Coupled with GDPR and many websites around the world shutting down or closing their doors to European users, there won't be many places to go.

The overarching trend of artificial borders on the internet is terrifying.


I don't understand trying to conflate GDPR and this copyright proposal.

GDPR is a reasonably written attempt to preserve some measure of citizen privacy (i.e. you and me). It's an extension and continuation of Data Protection that's been there 20 years. Companies coped with no ill effect.

The copyright proposal is entirely for the benefit of large media companies, and the smell of lobbyists is overpowering. (i.e. not you and me)


> Coupled with GDPR and many websites around the world shutting down or closing their doors to European users,

That’s hyperbole. Most websites provenly don’t.

The GDPR is reasonable. This is not.

No need to conflate them.


Yes. Exactly.


But it's just not link, it's show a snippet (and potentially a title)

(or you can link and replace every snippet with 'censored by the EU' or something - might be a good strategy for raising awareness)


Showing the snippet makes people more likely to click through, not less. If you aren't a copyright maximalist, how is that not good for both aggregator and news site?

A better question is whether it's good for the user. Filter bubble, and all.


> Showing the snippet makes people more likely to click through, not less. If you aren't a copyright maximalist, how is that not good for both aggregator and news site?

Exactly. But publishers still think they're in the 20th century


This isn't true if you realize what sort of "snippets" they are trying to deal with. Google has been scraping content for Knowledge Graph, and offering up "the answers" so that users don't click through any links. So Google rips off other companies' content, and has basically said "if you don't like it, feel free to block Google with robots.txt and get delisted from search".

So Google has left the option that sites either give Google their content for free, and go out of business, or get delisted from search entirely, and go out of business.

https://theoutline.com/post/1399/how-google-ate-celebritynet... is a pretty good example of why this is happening.


I've literally never seen one of those knowledge-graph snippets relating to current news? Google News now has stopped showing teaser texts for news for some publishers after a similar German law was passed, but "surprisingly" the majority of publishers preferred to allow Google to show teasers... (Which is why there's now talk of forbidding publishers to grant that permission for free)


And the whole law was enacted because of Google.... Let's have regulation for regulation's sake!


No

Law is not defeated.

It means that Google, due to its market power, got the clips for free. Everyone else might be asked to pay.

It's actually anticompetitive.

I totally understand the intention behind it - you see what the death of good media and rise of clickbait/shill articles did to US and UK. The other EU governments are terrified their own information landscape might go similarly downhill - and all you have left is spam, lies, propaganda and corporate ads hidden as articles.

It's just that the approach taken here is the wrong one. They are trying to fix something but shoot at the symptoms, not the cause.

It's also true that Google is exploitative in how it uses its ad + News Power (Look at the content preloader discussion) so clearly it's not aiming at the innocent. It's just not the right tool for the job. Probably because so far no one has figured out how to fix this...


Laws don't work like that. It you think any law was defeated you very mistaken about how laws and government bureaucracy works.

The law still applies and all that happened is that Google gets a free license and everyone who is not Google has to pay licensing fees.


While your point is true, the GP was talking from the perspective of Google vs the publishers. I guess "defeated" probably wasn't a wise description but I think his / her general point is still valid.


Google News is still shut in Spain: https://support.google.com/news/answer/6140047?hl=es


>>> In Germany, Google started to delist news sites from their index. After traffic dropped, the publishers gave Google a license to link freely. Law defeated.

I don't know the detail but the way you put it seems very fair to me. Law protect publishers against Google, so they can say to Google "no", except that their interest is to say "yes". So they say "yes". Looks to me that even if the end result is the same, the publishers had a say. Without the law, Google takes whatever it wants without asking. Now, it has to ask. Looks fair to me.


Google actually does ask, it is called robots.txt [0]. Robots.txt is the technical equivalent of asking nicely. If the publishers don't want Google using snippets of their articles or otherwise indexing their articles all publishers need to do is tell Google not to using robots.txt, no law needed [1].

This law won't hurt Google, they have the necessary lawyers and resources to deal with the ramifications. What this will hurt are the smaller search engines that don't have the same resources as Google. This law, if enacted, will end up giving more power to Google not less. For example, with the German law, Google was given a free license [2], but was DuckDuckGo given a license? As far as I can tell no. So all that changed is that Google has a license and its competitors don't. I can't see how this is a good thing for anybody but Google. It hurts consumers, reduces market choice and will end up hurting publishers.

[0] - http://www.robotstxt.org/orig.html

[1] - https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/6062608

[2] - https://the-digital-reader.com/2014/10/22/german-publishers-...


The fundamental mechanics of the internet are such that there's no sensible justification around having to ask. It inherently makes no sense to have to ask to link to something online, especially for a news site. If they don't want someone linking to them then there are ways to avoid being linked to (requiring accounts, one-time links, requiring specific referral metadata), but by putting something on the internet you are implicitly enabling and encouraging links.


> Without the law, Google takes whatever it wants without asking

Google News does not automatically take your content. You have to apply explicitely to get it included.

For regular search, there's always robots.txt. Claiming that there are any media/content producers who get included into the index against their will is absurd propaganda. Of course they want to be listed. They just want money, and Google has money, so they "convince" local politicians to make Google pay them their "share". Just like the Mafia.


Except you always have a say in whether or not Google takes any part of your site. Google have always respected robots.txt and it's trivial to block your site, or parts of it, from being indexed and shown in searches.


Except you won't be able to delist content without first allowing their crawler to rummage your site and returning 404 to Googlebot. Happened to me - I wanted to delist a single URL because it was generating unwanted traffic but still keep it accessible to those who have a direct link.


> Without the law, Google takes whatever it wants without asking

No it does not, you need a lot of steps to make your website available on Google News, it does not work by default.


I agree. Even though the end result is back where they started.


Laws that don't solve actual problems are a problem.


Belgium, too (only Walloon publishers sued); I'm not sure if that was before or after Germany, but the result was the same.


> Pay to send companies actual traffic? Pay to be allowed to use the basic building-block of the world wide web on the world wide web?

It's absolute madness.

Some people say that you can't solve political problems with technology but at this point it seems to me that politicians are ruining the web and there is no stopping them by political means. So it will have to be a technological solution. We need strong anonymization and strong decentralization to become the default.

The rules that are being put in place here are very dangerous to democracy. It limits the dissemination of information. You don't need to believe that there is any "evil" intent (I don't think there is, I think it's just greed on the part of businesses and lack of understanding on the part of the politicians) to see that once these limitations come into effect it becomes easier to lie to people and to control them.

We are setting ourselves up for fascist governments to be able to rise and it seems that most people don't even care :(


Perhaps the solution is political, but it involves breaking up the worlds current political order i.e. "democracy".


Listening to Yanis Varoufakis talk about what Greece went through you get the sense that what they have on the Europe wide level isn't exactly democracy.


> Just how is it possible to be so out of touch with how things work, and still be allowed to pass regulation?

why do you think they're out of touch? they know exactly what they're doing: what they've been told to by the media companies

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/eu-affairs/2...


I'm not too worried about this one.

This will just mean platforms will not link to publishers. EVER

It already failed in Spain and Germany, they will just shoot themselves in the foot again.


False. They will shoot themselves in the foot, yes. But at least in Germany, Google is the only entity which was granted a free "licence" by the collecting society.

This puts Google in a better place than any other news aggregator.


Any lawsuit in progress with regards to that?


It's not illegal, so that would require a law change. Which is what this article is about.


It sounds very much like discrimination - if no other aggregator / news site gets the same treatment.


Interesting argument. Because this is the same anti-trust argument the publishers used against Google: "Google has monopolistic power, so they should be obliged to list our content (and then, pay)".

On that argument the Spanish version of the copyright law, Google decided to shut down News for Spain completely.


Even the most well-intentioned regulations often end up benefitting the largest and most entrenched industry players. The term is "regulatory capture".


So does this mean *this HN post is illegal because it links to a news article?


No. According to the so called link-tax article, it is not linking but putting content that makes a platform liable.

So this HN post would not be illegal because of the link, but maybe because of the title that was "stolen" from the publisher. The aim is at news.google.com and other search engines and news aggregators that include a blurb coming from the article along the link. To be honest, it is not yet clear if they intend for the title to be taxed or not.


> it is not linking but putting content that makes a platform liable

All the comments quoting content would be taxable, though.


> All the comments quoting content would be taxable, though.

Like this one.


> Like this one

Not quite. My previous comment linked to another comment. I don't believe that would be covered by this copyright proposal.

What would be covered would be a HN user posting a link to an EU publication, my reading it, and then quoting from a portion of it. The simplest fix appears to be banning linking to EU publications.


I don’t usually try to deliberately ask stupid questions, but I can’t help myself in this instance.

What counts as a EU publication? The author residing in the EU? Someone with a special “publisher” license? The author possessing EU citizenship? EU readership? .eu domain name? The domain registrar? The physical servers of the web hosting service? The backup service? What about those that use cloud services who have their physical infrastructure spread out wherever? And various combinations of the above…

Lastly, how would checking any of these be implemented by the software that’s supposed to be scanning for content that could possibly be in violation?


@jumpcrisscross if ernesth was from the EU though, would his comment count as an EU publication?


But without a sample of the content, the title, links are useless, see my sibling comment.


If the content you use is written by you rather than the linked site, you are not concerned by this article. So paraphrasing the article or using an automatic summarization should keep you clear.


In addition, fair use laws protect you take an excerpt and present it alongside the link. 5% or 10% of the content depending on jurisdiction.


Yes. For example meneame.net, a Spanish news aggregator, has no links to any major Spanish newspaper, because a law of this sort is in place in Spain. They would have to pay to link or quote in any way, which includes a description of the link in most cases. Basically you can't write any meaningful text in your <a href=></>.


Maybe this will improve the quality of HN submissions :P It's probably meant to make links to pirate torrents illegal though. If you have already made something publicly available eg availably for everyone for free, and you intent is to get as many readers as possible, then you can't really complain, and a sane judge would just laugh at anyone trying to sue for linking to it. What news sites used to complain about is that readers did not click on the article to go to the news site, as most of the article could be read on Google, with images and all.


Not because it links, but because it uses the headline (which is copyright protected) as the link text.

In this special case, it might not be a violation as it links to a public service broadcast site.

(IANAL)


I wrote a Romanian news concentrator as a hobby project, guess I will have to put it down now. They were 99% bullshit anyway - clickbait and fake news. That's what they are protecting.


Why not just use URL shortener outside of EU?


If I use the article title and main image thumbnail I might still be under legal restrictions.


Would you fund the lawsuits they'll get?


If the link shortener is operated by an entity outside the EU is it still subject to EU law?


You'll get the lawsuit, not the link shortener.


In Spain they _had to_ link to publishers, so Google has shut down their service.


No, the problem was that publishers were not permitted to grant free licenses.


>> Article 11, requiring online platforms to pay publishers a fee if they link to their news content, was also approved.

>What the fucking FUCK?

This does not surprise me!

If your site has for example 5 article titles from CNN, linking all of them to original CNN articles, probably you have more benefit from that than CNN.

People this days like to skim through titles and not even bothering to read full articles, to click link.


So then obviously CNN should never write an article again and isn't a profitable business...

That is complete and utter nonsense. Linking itself adds value - see the uproar with Facebook getting rid of news in the feed. If the publishers genuinely felt as you do, they would simply prevent content being linked to by Google News/etc. Instead they want to demand payment for it, and force the behavior instead of letting Google choose cheaper news sources to link to.


That's why we have so much clickbait.


Hmm... so maybe it's not all bad? If it gets rid of clickbait ;)


If a single publisher chooses to do that, they only hurt themselves, Google is far too big.

If it's forced for all publishers, it might actually have an effect.


Then why pass a law? If what you say is true, the publishers could enter alliances with each other and block Google with robots.txt until Google agrees to pay. I believe the answer is that some MEPs don't really care if it "works" or not, because they can blame Google when Google blocks traffic. They want to be seen as standing up to American tech companies.


That's one of the reasons I frequent this site, so I don't have to wade through dozen bad homepages laden with adds to find interesting articles.

And it is also why I used RSS in the past but I wonder how that will be handled.


So here the BBC derives benefit, but doesn't fall under the regulations if there aren't clickable links?

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs/the_papers


The draft explicitly excludes hyperlinks from copyright protection.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CEL...


I think that Article 11 will backfire. What if Google decides to remove all publishers from search results to avoid having to pay a fee? Their traffic will tank.


If Google doesn't link to anything anymore, its own traffic may hurt a bit as well.


I think Google would win that game of chicken.


Yeah, if the law makes EU traffic unprofitable Google will just shut it down. The GDPR started that trend to an admittedly very small extent, but this would basically make the EU a no-go zone for affected online businesses.


There's plenty of non-EU news to link to.


Sure, but most of it isn't particularly interesting for EU readers. The vast majority isn't even in their own language.


Only temporarily. A lot of publishers would be happy to increase their current market share to cover EU content. At least for English, French and Spanish, I could easily see some foreign media boosting their traffic.


Propaganda organs like Russia Today already have versions translated in various European languages. They would be absolutely delighted to be the last and only piece of internet news to be available on google. Europe is shooting itself on the foot as always.


Al Jazeera news has an English-language version, oriented towards readers in English-speaking countries.

RT is the same.

News aggregators can link to journalism sources like these without having to pay extra fees.

Of course, it might seem problematic that EU readers would get news from a Middle Eastern state-owned news source and a propaganda outlet of the Russian government, but if that's what the EU wants, it's their right to legislate that.


On the one hand I can see how stupid these laws are in view of how the Web currently works and how successful it is.

On the other hand, I think companies like Google and Facebook are FAR too large and powerful and I think the only way to deal with that is by making the Web less good at what it does.


Those laws have been tried in several European countries, and the strategy is always the same:

- Google had to exclude the plaintiffs or shut down the service because they were not allowed to operate it without a license, and could not get a license in time;

- Deprived of Google traffic, the News site audience suddenly dropped and they granted Google a free license, as an emergency process to keep the lights on;

- Google keeps that free license for all sites, every other operator simply doesn’t have the capacity to reach out to every site, so competition to Google is completely killed.

The worst part of all this? There is a very old convention, well enforced, that already handles it: robots.txt


Yes. It was impossible because it was always single sites doing it, and that doesn't work. To prevent that scenario, this law is for all news sites and doesn't allow free licenses.

No idea how it'll work out.


Either Google will pay... or they won't. If they won't, nobody can find European news articles, and news traffic drops, and news sites get financially hurt (just like it's played out several times in the past). Then they'll get the idea that the law was a stupid idea, and work to get it quickly changed.

If I understand correctly, which way this goes is completely at Google's discretion. And Google hasn't shown inclination to cooperate with such schemes in the past...


See also: What does it mean cut off your nose to spite your face?


They're dismantling content aggregation as a business model. That's not necessarily a bad thing.


Notably, the pure act of linking is not what is being require d a licensing fee for. Rather if you take exerpts of the content (like for example Twitter link previews)


This is what happens when those in control don't understand, know or care about the things they regulate.

This is usually the case. it’s not possible for them to be experts on everything.


Probably best to actually read article 11 before commenting.


> This is what happens when those in control don't understand, know or care about the things they regulate.

It's very naive to think that highly intelligent people don't know or care about what they regulate. I think it is the exact opposite. They care and understand deeply.

> Pay to send companies actual traffic? Pay to be allowed to use the basic building-block of the world wide web on the world wide web?

Amazing isn't it.

> Just how is it possible to be so out of touch with how things work, and still be allowed to pass regulation?

Think about who this benefits. You are just viewing it from one side. Who stands to benefit from all this?


> It's very naive to think that highly intelligent people don't know or care about what they regulate.

These may be highly intelligent people, but what they are highly skilled at is the art of obtaining and keeping political office. That does not necessarily say anything about their knowledge of the industries they regulate, or their ability to write regulations that are free from disastrous side effects.

> Think about who this benefits. You are just viewing it from one side. Who stands to benefit from all this?

Maybe you could actually say something, instead of just hinting?


> These may be highly intelligent people, but what they are highly skilled at is the art of obtaining and keeping political office.

Agreed. That's my point.

> That does not necessarily say anything about their knowledge of the industries they regulate, or their ability to write regulations that are free from disastrous side effects.

They had teams of people helping them understand. Do you think these experts who work for the politicians and/or the industry don't know what the side effects are? Just because the effects would be "disastrous" for you and me doesn't mean it will be disastrous for the politicians or the people who they work for.

> Maybe you could actually say something, instead of just hinting?

I thought it was obvious. And I was trying to get you to actually think.

Do you think these guys just decided one day to make changes to the rules of the internet for fun? Why do you think they are making these changes? If you can figure it out, then let me know.


> ... What the fucking FUCK?

You seem to have it all figured out. Did you do any serious research on the subject that could perhaps justify your perspective? You criticize the proposal mostly because it brings change, but you do not really analyze its impact.

The lawmakers in the committee have probably spent hours studying this proposal and discussing it in detail with field experts and other affected parties. The result of their vote was far from unanimous, which means that they were not able to reach a generally acceptable consensus. To me, that indicates that the judgement about the proposal is not simple or straightforward and that quick conclusions of the "hold my beer" type should be avoided.


As a EU citizen I have always been (and still am) a strong advocate for the European Union. I think the founding of the European Union was one of the greatest things that could ever happen to European citizens. I full heartedly believe this institution played a major role in retaining the piece after World War 2. The concept of open borders in (most of) Europe is something I would never want to miss.

But seeing the lawmakers fucking up more and more on these kind of laws makes it harder to build a reasonable argument against all the so called "EU critics" (most of the time just straight up racists).

It also makes me wonder if the laws they pass in other areas are as disconnected from reality as this is.


> But seeing the lawmakers fucking up more and more on these kind of laws makes it harder to build a reasonable argument against all the so called "EU critics" (most of the time just straight up racists).

I'm sorry but you do yourself a disservice if you paint people who don't agree with you as racists. Yes, concern about immigration is part of what drives euroskepticism, and some people are concerned about immigration because they're racist. But in the context of the migrant crisis I think it's foolish not to acknowledge that there's a legitimate debate to be had around immigration.

For my part I'm happy with free movement within europe (and seriously bothered by the treatment of refugees arriving in Greece and Italy, but that's another story). What turned me into a euroskeptic was the financial crisis. The troika forced Greece into a depression in order to protect German banks' interests. Trichet held a gun to the Irish minister of finance's head, threatening to let the economy blow up unless the Irish taxpayer bailed out the banks. Bank bailouts like that have subsequently been made illegal under state aid laws.

So that's where I am. The two european arms of the troika, the ECB and the European Commission, have far too much power with too little accountability. The european parliament is toothless, and when push comes to shove, countries look after their own interests first: if they don't, the electorate will find someone who will.

The EU is a half-finished project, but the political will to finish it just isn't there. We either need to go fully federal, complete with fiscal transfers from Germany to Greece, or we need to roll back to being a trading bloc. The current situation is untenable, and it's one recession away from imploding.


The EU kinda reminds me of the US when it was governed by the Articles of Confederation. It didn't work out very well for us, since the central government had too little power, and we quickly had to come up with our Constitution which implemented a much stronger federal government.


I think many are increasingly reminded of the trials of the Dominion of New England.


Behind the stagnation lies also a ideological conflict between France's centralism and Germany's liberalism. For EU to be a durable institution you will need to keep its scope limited, Europeans want their national identity too (and most also the EU).


Retaining the "piece"... WW2 ended in 1945. The EU came into being in 1993. Was it retaining it in previous guises as a trade federation - the EEC, and before that the European Coal and Steel Community?

Or are you thinking of NATO?

> The concept of open borders in (most of) Europe is something I would never want to miss.

In what context?

"I don't have to show my passport on holidays - yay!"

or

"people can drive from a ghetto on the outskirts of Brussels with a trunkload of Kalashnikov's, spray bullets at Paris cafe society, and immediately afterwards they can be traced to.....er dunno..."


The European Coal and Steel Community was explicitly started to stop war in Europe. As the original proposal of the community said directly: "The solidarity in production thus established will make it plain that any war between France and Germany becomes not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible" [0].

Steel and coal (or more generally energy) are necessary in order to to wage war. Pooling these things in a super national organization makes war between the member states impossible.

[0] https://europa.eu/european-union/about-eu/symbols/europe-day...


This claim that the EU/predecessor organisations have secured the peace since WW2 is often made but I think is impossible to verify, since we have no way of rerunning history without the EU in place. Some point to NATO as far more significant a guarantor of peace than the EU.


The biggest guarantor of Germany not invading France again is that France has nuclear bombs and no one ever invaded a country that has the nuclear bomb, which is why people are panicking at the idea of NK having it because it would be impossible to topple their dictatorship and interfere if they had the threat of the bomb.

> Some point to NATO as far more significant a guarantor of peace than the EU

NATO has never been a deterrent but was used after the fact when conflicts just had to come about. Like the Kosovo War which involved factions that didn't have the mushroom assured mutual destruction.


>no one ever invaded a country that has the nuclear bomb, which is why people are panicking at the idea of NK having it because it would be impossible to topple their dictatorship and interfere if they had the threat of the bomb.

It's not impossible, you just can't do it with an invasion, which is likely to have bad side-effects anyways. Just look at the USSR: they had tons of bombs, and their government was toppled, from within. Things are probably better there, overall, today than they were in the Soviet times, even if they aren't that great compared to richer nations. Even more so if you consider all the nations that used to be behind the Iron Curtain; many of those are thriving now, like Czechia.

Perhaps the answer to NK is to let their government evolve to something better on its own, instead of sending in an invasion force. As long as they don't invade SK, it just doesn't seem worth it.


>Just look at the USSR: they had tons of bombs, and their government was toppled, from within.

I wouldn't use the word "toppled" in the case of the fall of the USSR. Nobody actively contributed to its fall with the desire of making it fall. The factors that caused its fall aren't even comparable to anything that would affect dictatorships like NK.

In fact it is far more comparable to empires of old. Like Napoleon's empire, the roman empire and so on. The USSR held territories which hated the guts of the people and culture that governed them, Russia. When Gorbachev led reforms to give more freedoms to the people, that allowed the expression of nationalism throughout the occupied territories of the USSR "empire". Once all those territories started using their freedom of speech to rally around ideas like being different from Russians and needing to form their own nation, the USSR was bound to cease to exist. Russia, the main core of the USSR, is still more of a dictatorship than a democracy, by the way. It is arguable that the idea of a dictatorship was never really toppled in the mainland of the USSR. The fall of the USSR as a system of governance was merely the loss of colonized land.

North Korea doesn't have any factor of the kind. The government will only change if its rulers want it to change. It's doubtful a starving peasant revolt could do anything.


Yes correlation does not mean causation. But sometimes the correlation is so obvious that it becomes hard to ignore.

So what I would say is this: Ignore this correlation at your mortal peril. The risk is that of total war.


Yet the folks who make this assertion about EU helpfulness are all too happy to ignore the correlation with NATO.


Pure assertion on your part.


The coal and steel union was set up to prevent another WW2 as it's main purpose. And I think that part is still important since when you trade you don't fight.. Usually :)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Coal_and_Steel_Commun...


>"I don't have to show my passport on holidays - yay!"

>or

>"people can drive from a ghetto on the outskirts of Brussels with a trunkload of Kalashnikov's, spray bullets at Paris cafe society, and immediately afterwards they can be traced to.....er dunno..."

Must be the second, automatic border control has rendered the reckless Schengen agreement obsolete for legitimate travellers. Last time I was in the UK passing in and out was a piece of piss, no standing in line or anything.


> I full heartedly believe this institution played a major role in retaining the piece after World War 2.

Not this canard again. Countries that have known peace within their homeland territory post WW2 were countries that either owned nuclear weapons, or befriended a power that owned nuclear weapons. The EU has nothing to do with peace within continental Europe. In fact it could NOT stop extremely bloody conflicts like the Kosovo War from happening. But I guess 1998 is ancient history?

The nuclear bomb is the true peace maker. It's what made the US and USSR so frightened of even the possibility of a conflict between each other.


> The nuclear bomb is the true peace maker.

Sorry, then why has the US been involved in a major war every ten years since WW2?


>Sorry, then why has the US been involved in a major war every ten years since WW2?

Because those countries didn't have nukes. Nukes create peace for those who own them, not those who don't. North Korea will never be invaded by the US as long as they have nukes.

Same thing for Pakistan. It will not see the same fate as Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Lybia.. because it has nukes.

Western Europe knows peace because its two strongest powers are nuclear powers (United Kingdom, France), while the remaining power, Germany, kept being pushed into proving it has become inoffensive such as signing a treaty prohibiting it from building nuclear weapons. There can be no war in Western Europe territory as long as the UK, France and the US don't want war.

The last nail in the coffin to prove that the European Union is a paper tiger that has nothing to do with the absence of war in the continent is the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Nobody cared enough for Ukraine's fate to defend it and so Russia took whatever piece it wanted from it.

The EU didn't end war in Europe. Nuclear powers ended war in -WESTERN- Europe, which is not all of Europe. It would be nice to stop forgetting that there's other countries to the east of Germany and Switzerland. Considering the annexation of Crimea, the idea that there's a guaranteed peace is merely a dream, not a reality.


First, the EU is not a defense alliance. Second, Ukraine is not in it. European countries are largely semi-pacifist. Whether that's a good thing or not is not a settled question. Going to war is generally bad for reelection in Europe whereas it is good for reelection in the US.

I do broadly agree with you that nuclear weapons have produced peace, but the EU has done quite a bit of useful work related to internal struggles, like Ireland.


The nuclear deterrent is real. It's like the old saying "an armed society is a polite society".


It's a bit more complex. The EU produces a huge amount of legislation, but you only hear about the most weird/funny/outrageous one.

Most things go through smoothly because they are so technical or orln topics that no one cares. Then once in a while you have this kind which is in some ways a big progress. Look at the education provisions in there. But here's how the EU works: the Commission (civil service) proposes a draft text. The parliament debates and changes it (mostly along national and political party group lines). The council (national governments) debate and change the same.commissiom proposal. Them council and parliament beat themselves over the head (with commission mediation and proposals on how to find common ground) until they find common ground on drafting that everyone can accept.

Note, not one thing that everyone likes, but one that everyone can accept. Despite the bullshit you might read in UK media or the claims of tyrants like Orban who claim they fought (in their xitizens:against' interest, of course) other governments over this or that, it basically never happens that something is decided at EU level that one (or several) countries strongly disagree with. So you get this kind of pieces in each legislative document - with some bites for everyone and lots of things that have as their sole virtue that no one really hates them that much. Often no one even really understands each part in detail It's similar across the world (see the literally thousands of pages a legislation like Dodd-Frank in the US context can become) - the democratic process is messy; at EU level it's additionally messy because there are 28 national interests at stake and at play.


> it basically never happens that something is decided at EU level that one (or several) countries strongly disagree with

That’s straight up delusional. Latest example I cared for: the guns restriction imposed on Czechia against its will, in an area EU has no business regulating in the first place, with repeated abuse of procedure. So egregious that Czechia sued over it.

Never happens. (And as I learned from another comment here, I’m apparently a racist now for not liking this sort of abuses...)

But then, your bias is pretty obvious from calling Orban a “tyrant”. You may not like his politics, he’s not much of a EU-loving leftist for sure, but come on.


> I full heartedly believe this institution played a major role in retaining the piece after World War 2

I think you are getting the UN/NATO and EU confused, friend.

The rest of your post is spot on.


The two aren't mutually exclusive, so careful you don't set up a false dichotomy.

And the EU as since it inception always been about making European nations interdependent, so that they cannot wage war against each other.

As the original proposal for precursor to the EU said: "The solidarity in production thus established will make it plain that any war between France and Germany becomes not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible" [0].

[0] https://europa.eu/european-union/about-eu/symbols/europe-day...


Agreed. It definitely plays a role. So does NATO. So Internet.

But you all too often hear the false claim that EU made Europe peaceful, so the above jab should be seen in the same lights: equally inaccurate explanation meant to iLlustrate the fallacy.


The EU had from the beginning a stated goal of making peace in Europe, and it had an effective method of achieving this by making European states interdependent - you can't attack those you depend on. And Europe has been largely peaceful ever since. So of course the EU had a huge effect on making Europe peaceful.


You're right. It does indeed make it harder. Why add an unpleasant general assertion ('most') about EU critics? Can you say what proportion of the 17.5 million EU critics who voted for their country to leave the EU, are 'straight up racists'? And how are you so sure?


Yes, extensive polling on what motivated their vote was done, as well as interviews. The fact that Pakistan and Nigeria were not in the EU clearly seemed to have escaped the vast majority of respondents.

You can be as defensive as you want, it won’t justify all the whistling during that campaign.


A lot of the people who voted for this also want to end EU. Make of this what you will.


Yep. It's quite clear that there are forces trying to affect EU in the hope of breaking it up, mostly to further a right-wing agenda of some sort, but also to simply destabilise it to decrease it's influence.

For democracy as an ideology to work well, there might be a modicum of honesty necessary from it's actors, in that they try to enact only policy they actually believe in, and not aim to simply cause destruction and dissent. This is clearly nothing that is entirely unique to one ideology, as the past few years has clearly shown.

It's unfortunate that the very stability that many seek seems to be the very thing that cause them, or others to cause instability. Maybe we as a species thrive on danger, and whenever it seems to disappear we invent some new imaginary spectre to take the place of those we erased. Like how vaccinations that have prevented untold amounts of suffering, now far to many people seem to consider it the cause of any ailments short of broken legs.


Thanks for calling me racist because I think EU should follow its own rules.


The EU needs a full "rewrite". The levels or bureaucratic nonsense are unbelievable. Just the sheer number of laws and regulations being pumped out every year is crazy.


Without looking, how many laws and regulations are being pumped out each year?


In 2017 alone, the EU signed 430 international agreements, passed over 3400 pieces of legislation, passed 103 adjustments to various EFTA regulations.


That's such nonsense.


Care to elaborate?


How can you still be a strong advocate for the EU after this kind of shit gets passed? I do not understand how anyone can defend the EU when they continue to pass draconian laws in an undemocratic way.


I'm sorry but this is just not a credible story. The current day EU simply did not exist for most of Post-WW, so it can absolutely not have been a reason why there was no war.

I am in favor of things like free movement of goods and services. I also in favor working together on things like European Space Agency.

However these sudo-democratic want-be centralized state is totally against the history of European has already caused a endless serious of disaster and mismanagement.

It is this form a bureaucratic technocratic center state that is primarily responsible for the nationalistic backlash we are seeing.

I am really happy that I live in Switzerland and we managed to avoid actually being in the EU even while being pretty tightly integrated.


>However these sudo-democratic want-be centralized state is totally against the history of European has already caused a endless serious of disaster and mismanagement.

How is the EU particularly undemocratic? I'm Austrian and most of the European branches map relatively well to our own federal structure. (Nationalrat -> European parliament, Government -> Commission, Bundesrat -> Council(although that one has more power))

The reason for stupid laws like this one is that conservative parties are currently dominating the European Parliament and national governments, so a direct result of people voting.

And I don't see how being in Switzerland will save you from any of this since this law will almost certainly also apply to Switzerland if it comes into effect. Only difference being that you don't have any say on the matter.


For me a democracy polity should be more then a structure and the ability to vote. I would wager that most people in the EU have never even heard about this fundamental change to their lives, or even speak the language to understand the debate.

Look at how the EU handled the economic crisis. Nothing democratic about the decision making. But many of the decisions still implemented under EU cover.

The European parliament should not easily be allowed to make laws for everybody. Many countries didn't even get to vote popularly if they wanted to join.

> And I don't see how being in Switzerland will save you from any of this since this law will almost certainly also apply to Switzerland if it comes into effect. Only difference being that you don't have any say on the matter.

I was not talking about this one law, but rather in general.


> I was not talking about this one law, but rather in general.

I think this holds true in the general case as well.


What is your view on the EU's typically hostile response to democracy when voters prove disobedient? I'm thinking for example of Ireland being forced to rerun the vote on the Nice treaty, and the ramming through of the European Constitution after French and Dutch rejection by renaming it the Lisbon Treaty.


The Lisbon treaty is NOT the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe. This is a common falsehood.

The TCE would have been further reaching, establishing a directly elected president of the European Commission for instance. It's kind of funny considering how all the anti-EU people that voted against the constitution are the same people complaining about the EU's lack of democracy.


I don't think the EU would be particularly good if it were significantly more democratic. But even so, it not being democratic is hardly a point in its favor. The constitution of Europe would not have fixed most of the problems and would have introduced more of them.


That's one example, and opinions differ in spite of your assertion. What about the other examples?


> How is the EU particularly undemocratic?

It is democracy on paper only. For a functional democracy, oversight is crucial. That requires press attention so that people are aware of how their representatives follow their will.

You never hear about directives in the works, there’s too much of it, and it happens far away. Most of it is prepared by committees and The EU parliament just rubberstamps it. Most of the time, people learn about new legislative when it is a done deal.

You only here about the worst offenders, like this one. And even that is not a topic of mainstream coverage. Our bubble writes about it. The public in general remains unaware.

How is that a well working democracy?

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