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Italy Wikipedia shuts down in protest at proposed EU copyright law (bbc.com)
567 points by mikece 4 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 242 comments



> Mr Voss also rubbished claims of an "upload filter", saying the proposal would only affect 1%-5% of the internet. He also said the rules would apply to "only those that actually publish copyright protected content" and earn money from it.

The rubbish I see here is a man who doesn't understand the laws he's trying to push forward. All websites (for the most part) are trying to make at least enough money to keep running via advertising. Any website with a comments section (hey, this one included) would need to extensively monitor all posts by the public to ensure no one posts anything copyrighted.

What it will effectively mean is that many websites won't bother allowing access from the EU anymore. Already, I have to screenshot and email my sister in Britain recipes from a Canadian website that doesn't want to deal with GDPR. Imagine how difficult it will be when there's copyright liabilities from content you didn't know you were 'publishing'.


> The rubbish I see here is a man who doesn't understand the laws he's trying to push forward.

He fully understands what he wants, but he is a member of CDU, so he couldn't care less. This whole shit happened because German publishers got their beloved "Leistungsschutzrecht" kicked into the bin by the constitutional court. So, instead of accepting defeat they and their cronies started lobbying in the EU, so they can reintroduce it and say "Oh, we are so sorry, we didn't want to do this, but they FORCED US!" ... its an age old strategy.


This is one of the real problems with EU policymaking: "policy laundering". National governments are often in on it as well. Because the process is slow, somewhat opaque, and badly covered in national press, lobbyists can get things passed without adequate public debate.

(It's not precisely a "democratic/undemocratic" thing either, because it can happen equally well at the national level.)


Isn’t this in concept what contributed to Brexit?


There's an annecdotal quote from an evening standard journalist

> I once asked Rupert Murdoch why he was so opposed to the European Union. 'That’s easy,' he replied. 'When I go into Downing Street they do what I say; when I go to Brussels they take no notice.

He may or may not have said that, but what's clear is the perceived power of the UK press to manipulate governments. UK PM in the 90s, John Major, told an inquiry that Murdoch had demanded he change his position on Europe otherwise lose support. [0]

He didn't change, and Murdoch supported his opponent in 1997 (who then went on to win)

20 years later, Murdoch executives met with the UK PM or Chancellor (the second most important person in government) 10 times. [1]

So while perceived EU lobbying may have contributed to brexit, far more likely was 40 years of proven newspaper lobbying.

[0] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-18405629 [1] https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/feb/05/rupert-murdoch...


> the perceived power of the UK press to manipulate governments.

Isn't that how democracy is supposed to work? I mean not for Mr. Murdoch personally, but if you take the whole press, isn't that one of the instruments through which the society controls - or, if you will, "manipulates" - the government? And if the government can't be "manipulated" by the society, isn't that the definition of tyranny?


Local tyrants preferred brexit, international tyrants preferred remain.


Murdoch is very much an international "tyrant" though. He's not British and his media empire spans much of the globe.


Divide and conquer then?


Perhaps, but if anything the UK's own government and press were major offenders in this regard. A lot of incidents where the UK government could have done something within the EU framework but chose not to are blamed on the EU by the press.

As we are now seeing on trade, immigration, agriculture, etc, having the UK government try to take responsibility for those areas means the controversy immediately blows up in their face as suddenly they can no longer say different things to different audiences.


> Perhaps, but if anything the UK's own government and press were major offenders in this regard.

It's quite possible that this behaviour by the UK political classes is what hastened to movement towards Brexit. I personally think that many people in the UK were aware of the behaviour, by both major parties, of using the EU to impose laws for which they lacked democratic support technocratically. Since there was no electable party that stood in contrast to this, the electorate took its opportunity by evicting the EU instead. Seen in this light, Brexit is as much a reflection of a failure of national politics, as it is of continental politics.

The mantra 'taking back control' of many Brexit supporters is perhaps better seen as citizens wanting to stop their government from acting in ways they don't vote for, than as the government taking back control from the EU.

The dissembling (as I see it) of politicians from across the EU on this law (and others before it) indicates that this is not a problem that is restricted to the UK.


Brexit was about immigration. Nothing else comes close. I think you're right that this was in the mix, but so were a hundred other factors that might have got raised here or there, but they're all dwarfed by immigration.

Britain more than any other member has managed to get exclusion clauses from any EU regulations or rules we didn't want, so the argument that we couldn't do anything about rules imposed by Brussels is obviously untrue. We opted out of stuff all the time, it was routine. The irony is that if we end up in a soft Brexit situation with an open trade deal with the EU, we won't be able to negotiate any opt-outs anymore because we won't have any representation in Brussels. We'll have to take everything Brussels serves up, or crash out hard.


Not to deny that immigration was a major part, but the belief is more important than reality for both that and sovereignty. Yes, the UK had a great deal with loads of opt-outs, but that didn’t stop the papers blaming the EU for everything — including immigration, which was mostly non-EU.


I'm not sure that's really much of a "but". The EU making it impossible for the UK population to hold their own government to account for what they did with the power given to them by the populace seems like a good reason to leave.

In order for the government to achieve something at the national level, it would have to have to convince its MPs to publicly vote in support of it and risk losing their seats over it at the next election. The power in the EU rests with people appointed by people appointed by the people we vote for, and that completely diffuses all responsibility. (The elected European Parliament are pretty toothless compared to the unelected appointees.)


The EU parliament is not nearly as toothless as you make it out to be. It _can_ block and amend directives such as the one we are talking about. And you _can_ vote out your MEP at the next election.

You can also vote out your representative in the EU Council (and the council of ministers) because the UK member of the council also has to be a UK MP.

So the power in the EU rests with directly elected politicians and with the Commission, which is appointed/approved/dismissed by directly elected politicians. The Commission alone cannot pass laws.

In some countries, neither the prime minister nor cabinet ministers have to be elected politicians (unlike in the UK). This additional level of indirection obviously extends to the members of the EU council from these countries, but that is a function of national constitutions.


It’s interesting because the exact opposite argument was used to justify the direct election of US Senators. It used to be that the Senate represented the interests of states, elected by state governments. But then someone had the idea that the US Senate should represent individuals rather than the states (despite the existence of the House of Represenatives which was created for representation of individuals.)

Of course you can vote out your MP, however there is a calculus at play: your MP might be great at the local issues, but then they may support a European rep that is not as good. It would be much better if the EU were directly accountable to the people upon whom they inflict their decrees.


We do have direct accountability through the European Parliament, and the MPs I was talking about (the members of the EU Council) are the Prime Minister and the cabinet ministers. I have to assume that they are capable of thinking a bit beyond their local constituency issues.

But I actually think that none of these technicalities matter that much. What's missing in the EU democratic process is an EU wide platform for debate, a platform for campaigning on EU wide issues.

This is made more difficult by the fact that we speak so many different languages and that English proficiency is very unevenly distributed among the economic classes (and among countries).

I think what could spark EU wide political debates and allow campaigners to create real political pressure on an EU level would be a directly elected EU president. A face that you can properly hate and blame and really really want to kick out of office :)

I am very much in favour of the United States of Europe, modelled after the USA.


> A face that you can properly hate and blame and really really want to kick out of office :)

More theater, and a punchbag to sacrifice, like Bush was for Cheney. No thanks!


> there is a calculus at play: your MP might be great at the local issues, but then they may support a European rep that is not as good.

This is the fundamental problem with representative 'democracy' in general (at least with regard to legislatures); representatives aren't and inherently can't be held accountable for more than one thing per election cycle.


The leadership of the European Union is fundamentally undemocratic - Junckers et al


Mr Juncker was elected by a majority of the European Council (comprising national heads of government) and the European Parliament (directly elected by the people).


So he was elected by a majority of the European Council. One of whom is the national head of government in my country. Who is there by virtue of being the leader of the party which had the most MPs in the last election, when factoring in an alliance with another party. And the MPs elected by a majority of votes in their constituencies, no matter how slim.

You can say "that's democracy", but it's so diluted it's almost homeopathic.


>So he was elected by a majority of the European Council

No. He needs a majority in both the Council _and_ the directly elected EU parliament. Nothing homeopathic about that.

Like in many democratic countries, the head of the EU executive body is not directly elected by the people.



"the UK government could have done something within the EU framework but chose not to "

Probably didn't help that they sent useless do-nothing no-show UKIPers like Nigel to the European Parliament.


Oh he showed up, for the free fancy dinners.


"Oh, but it wasn't us, it was that terrible EU just forcing us to do this!"

(Please don't think about it too hard, or look at who introduced the legislation to the EU, or anything else, because it really was us pushing it hard...)

Yeah it irritates me. I'm a bit in-between on the whole Brexit question, I've enjoyed the political chaos that ensues, and things like this just show up the brokenness of the current situation. The EU is very flawed. I voted to remain, but I was under no illusion that we'd get sensible reform to the way the countries engage and participate in the whole thing.


> I've enjoyed the political chaos that ensues

The "accelerationist" approach motivated Dominic Cummings, as well. It's surprising in that with the names filed off you could present it as orthodox Marxism. The key question is "does the Conservative party (and media) collapse before we get into the situation where flights are grounded and we're running out of food, or afterwards". History suggests that we'll have to end up in a full Winter of Discontent situation before they back down.


> flights are grounded and we're running out of food

This is a pretty extreme prediction of the consequences of Brexit.


https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-no-dea...

That's the "zero preparation" scenario. If there is no deal, no deal at all, then the existing flight approval regime ends and carriers are not allowed to fly from the UK to the EU .. or the US. https://ec.europa.eu/transport/sites/transport/files/legisla...

Similarly if the customs arrangement is not sorted out, everyone travelling in both directions through Dover-Calais will have to clear customs. At the moment that will involve "operation Stack" all the way down the M20. Similar regulatory requirements problems will arise; direct delivery will almost certainly still be allowed, but "cabotage" rules apply limiting multi-leg trips.

We had two feet of snow earlier this year which resulted in Scottish supermarkets running out of fresh food for a few days. Snow melts. Brexit doesn't.

We had a civil war for forty years in Northern Ireland. The peace treaty stipulated that there must not be a border on the island of Ireland. The government is refusing to present a viable proposal for Brexit that does not require a border.


It only happens if there is no deal.

Unfortunately, “no deal” is looking increasingly likely. While UK rhetoric appears to still be “[The EU] needs us more than we need them”, the EU’s responses have consistently been otherwise.

This may be related to the observation that the UK’s goals and red-lines (when taken together rather than separately) are incompatible with WTO rules.


Do they have the capacity to back down fast enough in an Easter Of Discontent situation? Unlike the eponymous Winter, the UK government will need to make agreements with other governments to prevent or reverse it, and those governments may choose to extract a high price for rapid cooperation — if they are even capable of rapid action themselves.


Well yes. The government didn't want Brexit, and are now doing their best to sabotage it to punish the peons for voting wrong.


The government that didn’t want it got replaced with one that did, which then called a General Election to strengthen its position and instead found itself weakened.

The PM stated (in writing!) that she called that election in order to increase her majority and so be able to force through her version of Brexit; however despite losing so many seats she needed a coalition afterwards, which in a democracy ought to be pause for thought, her post-election government not only still wants Brexit but also refuses to countenance any variation from her implausibly over-ambitious goals.


> despite losing so many seats she needed a coalition afterwards, which in a democracy ought to be pause for thought

Worth pointing out that the Labour opposition in that election had also pledged to respect the referendum result. Over 89% of votes went to parties with "leave the Single Market and Customs Union" in their manifesto.

Given her current trajectory and staffing picks, I think it's at least plausible that May's objective was to get enough of a majority that she could pursue a "Brexit In Name Only" strategy without being blocked by the Tories' Brexiteer wing, and that the collapse of her vote was a reaction to this by the UKIP-inclined. I certainly saw conspiracy theories along these lines bandied about in the run-up to the election.

If anything, I suspect you'd have more luck arguing from the latest Tory poll bump that the population had gone off the idea.


Despite the truth of your words [1], the impression I have is that most people are treating Labour as if it were the Remain party.

This confuses me.

[1] The only claim of yours I am not sure of is the UKIP one: I have not seen evidence to convince me UKIP voters voted tactically to prevent BINO. However, I don’t think it alters your point.


> most people are treating Labour as if it were the Remain party. This confuses me.

Yup. Treating May as some sort of extreme "hard Brexiteer" is even more hilariously silly.

Labour is the nakedly opportunistic promise-everything-to-everyone-if-it-gets-us-into-power party at the moment. One important point to remember is that the Labour membership and the traditional core Labour vote are very, very different things. The membership, massively skewed by Momentum entryists, is heavily Remain.

> I have not seen evidence to convince me UKIP voters voted tactically to prevent BINO

I'm not convinced of it either, I just find it plausible as a hypothesis. Particularly since May was a (lukewarm) Remainer while Corbyn, despite bowing to pressure during the referendum campaign, is a lifelong Eurosceptic pitching a manifesto which depends heavily on getting out of the EU. State support and renationalization in particular are banned under present rules.


> Over 89% of votes went to parties with "leave the Single Market and Customs Union" in their manifesto.

I'd argue that's because of the first-past-the-post voting system in the UK - they trend towards two main parties, which are realistically people's only options ('to stop the other party getting in').

Also, while Labour are officially 'leavers', they've been very ambiguous about where exactly their position is. A lot of remainers will have voted for them just because they're not the Tories.


>>> so be able to force through her version of Brexit

Wasn't her version "remain"? It's not like she can actually do anything but brexit.


Before the referendum, sure. Since then she’s chosen to make red lines the prevent rare Brexit (EFTA) because ECJ, medium rare Brexit (Swiss style pile of agreements) because no free moment, medium Brexit (Ukraine style deep and comprehensive free trade area) because ECJ, medium well Brexit (Turkey style EU Customs Union) because independent trade policy, and well done Brexit (WTO) because she ruled out the only solutions to the NI/RoI border that the EU doesn’t consider absurd.

(Apart from the last two, I’m not even listing all the red lines that prevent each of these).


>>> Since then she’s chosen to make red lines the prevent rare Brexit (EFTA) because ECJ, medium rare Brexit (Swiss style pile of agreements) because no free moment, medium Brexit (Ukraine style deep and comprehensive free trade area) because ECJ, medium well Brexit (Turkey style EU Customs Union) because independent trade policy, and well done Brexit (WTO) because she ruled out the only solutions to the NI/RoI border that the EU doesn’t consider absurd.

I understand what you're saying but it's not what people voted for. She knows that, Corbyn (EU skeptic) knows that.

There were no discussions about soft vs hard brexit around the referendum, I was there.

Very few parties had your versions of Brexit in their manifesto. All of them lost. It's just not what the people want.


> There were no discussions about soft vs hard brexit around the referendum, I was there.

I was also there. I remember many of the Brexit campaigners explicitly naming some of these options:

“Absolutely nobody is talking about threatening our place in the Single Market” - Daniel Hannan, Vote Leave founder

“Only a madman would actually leave the Market” - Owen Paterson MP, Vote Leave backer

“Wouldn't it be terrible if we were really like Norway and Switzerland? Really? They're rich. They're happy. They're self-governing” - Nigel Farage, Ukip leader

“The Norwegian option, the EEA option, I think that it might be initally attractive for some business people” - Matthew Elliot, Vote Leave chief executive

“Increasingly, the Norway option looks the best for the UK” - Arron Banks, Leave.EU founder

From my list, the Turkey and Ukraine models were not something I remember prior to the referendum, but “deep and comprehensive free trade area” sounds a lot like the “deep and comprehensive free trade agreement” the government continues to talk about: https://www.ceps.eu/publications/theresa-mays-deep-and-compr...

(Turkey is just there for the sake of completeness).

> Very few parties had your versions of Brexit in their manifesto. All of them lost. It's just not what the people want.

The election happened after May made her red lines. True, Corbyn also wanted a deal that can’t be done, but given polls still show 50-50 (+/- margin of error), I think basically everyone still wants what they voted for during the referendum.

However, my point was more that she had options for various types of Brexit and could’ve made a different choice rather than what the people want from the options they were given.

This is a mess.


There must be more than blaming lobbyists for things one person doesn't like, but then being ok with governance changes that one does support. These copyright policies do seem to have problems, but the GPDR came through the same (similar?) process and privacy advocates seem happy about.

What would make it a better process for trading off openness to needed change vs changes under the radar vs stagnation where nothing changes?


Anecdotal evidence only, but I don’t know any privacy lawyers, in-house counsel, or other knowledgeable people who think the GDPR is a good law. It is an extremely ill-conceived EU regulation, and is a good example of exactly the kind of unaccountable lawmaking that the EU’s structure enables.


So are there proposals to change or fix the process?


This happens in the US as well and I expect all countries.


That’s literally how so much bullshit in the US gets passed though. It’s a universal problem.


Living in Germany, I've discovered such lovely organisations such as "VG-Wort". Apparently we have to pay this lovely organisation 334.40 euros for each copier and 300.9 euros for each printer per year to print out copyrighted information. This seems to include copyrighted documents we have paid for via subscriptions. Seems like these rentier organisations propagate like crazy in Germany (also see GEMA). Of course VG-Wort's homepage says "yes to the European copyright reform proposal".


Can you give more details because I couldn't find much by searching for "VG-Wort printer fees" and "Germany annual printer fees"?


I've only received this from higher up in our organisation, but it appears to be something to do with § 54c of the German Copyright Act (UrhG).

Edit: this seems to be because I am at a research institute.


Yeah, universities do this. Apparently there's a kind of "copyright filter" already in effect and the only way these institutions can work around it is by having these agreements where they simply pay a fixed fee to avoid having to strictly police printer/copier use.

A similar fee most people are unaware of but that actually affects individuals: empty VHS cassettes, audio tapes, CD-Rs and so on are subject to a special "sales tax" to reimburse publishers for supposed financial losses. Of course publishers are still able to sue people for damages when they violate their copyright, this apparently only covers personal use (which is still legally protected but narrowly defined).


>German publishers got their beloved "Leistungsschutzrecht" kicked into the bin by the constitutional court. So, instead of accepting defeat they and their cronies started lobbying in the EU, so they can reintroduce it and say "Oh, we are so sorry, we didn't want to do this, but they FORCED US!" ... its an age old strategy.

The law is a directive, which means every EU country will have to implement it on its own. I heard it's not compatible with Polish constitution, ironic that Polish representatives voted for. Apparently both countries will have to change their law to adopt article 13.


I have a feeling about this one... The GDPR received overwhelmingly positive reviews from the tech community and average Joe doesn't care.

Now, if this one passes through and starts getting implement, the internet as we know it in Europe, will basically shut down overnight. The backlash will be humongous. It's my belief that this law will either pass and but not get enforced or will pass and then be abolished very quickly.


>This whole shit happened because German publishers got their beloved "Leistungsschutzrecht" kicked into the bin by the constitutional court.

Do you have a citation for this? I couldn't find any mentioning of a judgement. The only thing which pops up is that Yahoo tried and lost.


erm you made a typo there its spelled "Leichenschutzrecht".


Gesundheit.


>Any website with a comments section (hey, this one included) would need to extensively monitor all posts by the public to ensure no one posts anything copyrighted.

Even this concedes too much. Suppose machine learning gets really good and it became effortless to monitor posts for infringing content? We'd still be deploying tools that control, constrain, and chill internet activity in haunting ways, and that's not a direction we should go.

To me, that is the problem, not the practical difficulty of implementing the rule, which implicitly admits that it's right.


I'm a little confused, are you saying that there should be no copyright? It's a little hard to discern your position because if you are for copyright it would seem like you are against policing it.


I'm not the GP here, but I think the idea is that there shouldn't be a de facto prior restraint on speech for the sake of copyright. By telling the hosts of user content that they're liable if their users do anything that violates copyright, it would mostly force sites to assume that all content infringes until checked to be otherwise.

Even if you own the copyright to whatever you posted, it's not in most site's interest to certify that to enough of a degree of confidence to allow it. I think back to issues Youtube has had in its own attempts to police Copyright, which has led to widespread abuse, and absurd situations like composers being hit with strikes for uploading music that they composed.


Yeah I agree with all that for the current situation but how I interpreted the other person was that even if checking was absurdly trivial he would still be against it (obviously it can't happen in real life but it's just a hypothetical). That means that they wouldn't have to "assume content infringes" and the whole YouTube problem is a moot point. It requires a different argument than the norm (as your post shows) so I was curious if that was what he was arguing and what that argument would be.


I'm not saying there should be no copyright. I'm analogizing vast restrictions on copyright to arguments people often make about surveillance, that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to lose.

I think that argument is more or less well understood, and I think the logic transfers over to use of powerful tools to police copyright infringement.

We can't anticipate how those tools will be abused in idiosyncratic ways by flawed political systems, and we shouldn't enable vast enforcement powers without building in the same checks against human abuses that are part of democratic systems.


> a man who doesn't understand the laws he's trying to push forward.

I think we should stop giving politicians the benefit of the doubt, that they do not understand the laws they are lobbying for.

It is their freaking job to do so. And if it's above their head technically, no matter whether it is about internet, nuclear power or farming, it is up to them to either catch up or back off.


From my limited experience with calling MEPs, they don't always get the entire picture. Who could blame them for not being experts in web, nuclear energy, agricultural policies and more all at the same time? One way to help them is by calling them up and explaining our views on topics we care about. Mass emailing doesn't seem to do more than clog their spam filters, but a phone call actually seems to at least be listened to, if not acted on.


That is the other side of the coin. People and especially journalists expect any politician to have a short, quotable statement ready on any topic at any point in time and don't accept "I don't know" as an answer. Which is just a silly expectation.

I'd rather have a politician not having strong opinions on social issues (and doesn't vote on them) if they have proven expertise and focus on lets say agriculture. But lots of people would disqualify that person on the latter because they don't align with them politically on the former.

Maybe I'm too cynical, but I have my doubts that calling them really changes their mind, or if they just count the number of calls and when it reaches the threshold to endanger their reelection, they act on it. That kind of coercion is perfectly fine by me, if the system doesn't provide other tools to the public like more direct democracy in Switzerland, but it is not ideal.


Sorry, due to Hanlon's Razor, we have to accept that every politician who feigns ignorance while collecting massive checks is operating in good faith. We still have to accept that good faith after we've loudly, painstakingly and publicly explained the details to them, because they may be deaf or have memory issues.


Heinlein’s Razor! Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity, but don’t rule out malice.


Sufficiently advanced malice disguises itself as stupidity.


Seriously, Hanlon's Razor seems a bit naive, especially when politics are concerned. Heinlein's reminds us to maintain a critical view.


>(hey, this one included) would need to extensively monitor all posts by the public

This is really huge simplification. This "law" is a directive, which means that every country in EU will have to implement it on its own. I heard that both articles 11 and 13 are incompatible with Polish constitution, which is one problem. Another problem is that German implementation of each article might be not compatible with Italian or Norwegian version. Each county will have slightly different versions, wordings and holes. It would be enough for websites that get multimedia and text to just simply ban everyone from EU from posting, as it will be impossible to write a filter or API service that is compatible with every regulation in every country, or create a very restrictive filter, that rejects content if there is only 5% chance of it being copyrighted.


> What it will effectively mean is that many websites won't bother allowing access from the EU anymore.

The ideal approach is to disregard the EU's laws if you aren't governed by them (or don't have a very good reason to comply with them). What Web sites should do instead, is to not comply or censor, unless they are legally forced to under the jurisdiction of the EU.

There is nothing the EU can do to me, as an American Internet business owner, to force me to comply with their GDPR or this new filter law. They would stand no chance in an American court. The sole means to cut off EU users from my services is to put up a Chinese firewall in the EU and 1984 the people there behind it.

Sites & operators in Canada, or Brazil, or Australia, or Mexico, or Singapore etc are no more required to comply with EU privacy rules, as they are to obey the US Bill of Rights (or, the new California privacy law). Every site outside the US doesn't have to suddenly comply with California's privacy laws, or the privacy laws of Rhode Island. Acting from a practical basis, it strictly depends on whether you need to do business there. No average site can comply with every law in every town, city, state, province, country, zone, region, union around the world.

You can freely take on / allow access to EU users and entirely disregard the wishes of bureacrats in the EU, so long as you don't hold assets in the EU or do business in the EU. They largely have no means to enforce their policies outside of the EU, exactly as it should be.


They can stop you from having business in EU.

A EU court can just order a whole-EU dns block for your site and any related urls and you would be incapable of serving any person from EU. If you have a big share of profits from them you will lose everything. Maybe for you it's ok, but for many business it would be a total disaster with a fine on top of it (if they want to get back the right of serving eu users) very big considering your "malicious intentions" would be evident


> They can stop you from having business in EU. ... Maybe for you it's ok, but for many business it would be a total disaster

I already covered that in my post. I very clearly said that you should only comply if you have business interests in the EU. A Canadian recipe site is unlikely to have to be concerned with such a thing; that's similarly true for the majority of all sites on the planet. They can freely disregard EU laws, so long as they have no business interests in the EU.

The majority of all sites will never comply with GDPR, they will never concern themselves with it at all: because it does not apply to them if they're strictly operating outside of the EU.

If 18 US states decide to implement their own unique privacy laws, you know what isn't going to happen? Every site on earth outside of the US is not going to rush out and try to comply with every aspect of those 18 unique privacy laws. Because that would be insane.

> A EU court can just order a whole-EU dns block for your site and any related urls and you would be incapable of serving any person from EU.

I also covered that in my post. The sole means for the EU to practically enforce its policies globally, is to put up a Chinese firewall and very aggressively censor everything that people in the EU can see. If the people of the EU want to live like that, that's their problem. If you're a big service, of course they can specifically target you for DNS blocking, and that still only matters if you're doing business in the EU.


>A EU court can just order a whole-EU dns block for your site and any related urls and you would be incapable of serving any person from EU.

They could do that, but it's certainly not within the scope of the GDPR - member states can issue fines and penalties, but if you have no assets in the EU that is the extent of enforcement i.e., none at all. The GDPR makes no mention about Chinese style firewalls or blocking European customers off from your business either, it is simply legislation for getting European businesses or foreign businesses operating within the EU to respect data protection laws.

The more realistic alternative to foreign businesses not cooperating with the GDPR is that European businesses will voluntarily choose to not do business with you as they'll share liability for your non-compliance.


Promote your users to use an openvpn service. Hell give them a month free with a good service. If appropriate consider rolling it into your service. For an additional 5.99 a month enjoy secure unfettered access to sites all over the world.


I would be happy to see mass disobedience of this law even by EU companies.


I'm vacationing in Germany right now, and as a news aggregator junkie I'm amazed at how much content is just blocked, with nearly everything else having dark patterned UI that either inconveniences or punishes you if you don't accept their tracking. It was really sad to see NPR's options: Either consent to everything or view plain HTML that would render correctly on Mozilla 1.0, with no images.


More likely their site was built on the assumption of a free and open internet, and it would be a massive effort to rebuild it to comply with new regulations. And even if they did it would be obsoleted by future regulations. At this point serving static html to the EU is the only safe choice. Welcome back geocities!


>At this point serving static html to the EU is the only safe choice.

This seems like an improvement for probably 90% of the websites out there, so I'm fine with that.


> At this point serving static html to the EU is the only safe choice.

Technically even serving a blank page means you need to also serve a privacy policy because accessing the blank page requires the user to submit personal data for technical reasons and they have no way to know whether you'll store it.

So, no, there is no "safe choice". Minimalise data use, use a generator to get a compliant privacy policy describing that use and treat your users with respect.


Bring back frames!


>view plain HTML

Which is perfect, right?


Pretty much, other than they break the deep link.

Follow https://www.npr.org/2018/07/03/625544265/pentagon-questioned...

Redirect to https://choice.npr.org/index.html?origin=https://www.npr.org...

Reject the sell-your-soul option and get dumped to https://text.npr.org/

You should instead be sent to https://text.npr.org/s.php?sId=625544265

There is no technical reason for these sites to not work without accepting cookies -- this is easily proven with curl. The sId is right there in the URL.

(of course there's no technical reason the full featured site can't be served either without setting hundereds of external cookies to nameless numbers of companies)


> You should instead be sent to https://text.npr.org/s.php?sId=625544265

My god that site's beautiful. Add a little CSS to limit the line width and it's perfect.


The thing that galled me was that the link I was originally following was to an image. That's a little bit of a deal breaker.



No more pesky switching to Lynx!


>Already, I have to screenshot and email my sister in Britain recipes from a Canadian website that doesn't want to deal with GDPR.

Have her install this https://anonymox.net/en it's a free Firefox addon that'll let her access the sites by making them think she's in the US


To be clear its not just hiding your IP you are proxying all your potentially sensitive data via their servers. Also bandwidth may be cheap but its not free. It mentions a paid option for a bout 5 euros a month that is 10x faster with unlimited bandwidth.

I interpret this to mean that the free option has a finite supply of bandwidth and is slow which is logical because otherwise people that want to watch 4k netflix over it would put them out of business.

I also see that they offer a browser plugin but don't seem to provide say an openvpn connection which seems inferior as that protects all forms of data rather than just browsing data.


Just to mention another option, Opera installs with a free VPN built-in.


A free VPN on a browser owned by a random group of Chinese investors? Probably not the safest idea.


Really? Chinese investors sound like exactly the people who would most want a secure private VPN.


It depends on their relationship with the Party. Ultrasurf, for instance, was developed by Chinese dissidents.


>> The rubbish I see here is a man who doesn't understand the laws he's trying to push forward.

I think this almost universally holds true for most law makers. Atleast if you only consider their public statements.

That being said, I think becoming a law maker is incredibly hard, and a person elected to office is generally quite smart and would understand, or atleast be able to find someone to explain to them, the entire ramifications of any proposed legislation. But they push it forward in any case, for reasons that aren't, and will possibly never be, made public.


"Already, I have to screenshot and email my sister in Britain recipes from a Canadian website that doesn't want to deal with GDPR."

I had a friend telling me almost similar thing I thought he was joking. This is actually happening?


He understands that the laws are what publishing companies are paying him to support.


> Any website with a comments section (hey, this one included) would need to extensively monitor all posts

That's not true. The law only applies to "content sharing service providers" (sites like YouTube, SoundCloud, Instagram, Megaupload and so on).


Right, so since YouTube, SoundCloud and Instagram will all have the extensive legal and development teams needed to build these automated censorship systems, how will anyone ever be able to oppose them?

Do you want to try to build a startup today taking on YouTube knowing that the legal system is a complex mess and if you make any mistake, you'll be sued out of a company? Will any VC want to fund you in those conditions?

And what makes this website not a "content sharing service provider"? All the site does is share links to content. And since linking to content will now obligate paying the person you link to, hackernews will have to start finding a way to monetize just to pay for all of the linking it does.


"Do you want to try to build a startup today taking on YouTube knowing that the legal system is a complex mess and if you make any mistake, you'll be sued out of a company?"

Yes, it's tough. Try to build a car company. Or a toys company. Or really, any kind of consumer goods company you may think of. They all bring with them that kind of hassle as package when having to deal with masses. The masses wanted better protection and they are getting it, everything else comes second. The wilderness was fun while it lasted, eh?


The wilderness is still quite fun.

The solution to the new EU laws is fairly simple. Block any and all traffic coming from the EU. That's what I'm planning on implementing with all of my future side projects and website.


The first such phenomenon that I remember was with Pandora Radio. It is a solution. However, Pandora did that to satisfy a USA requirement, not out of its pure own choice. Is your resolve political in nature or is just a preventive measure to insulate yourself from perceived trouble?


It is both political AND preventative. I'm not going to bother following rules and regulations for a small userbase. It is easier to just block them entirely and have them deal with the consequences.


How is it a small user base? The EU has a larger population than the USA.


> Do you want to try to build a startup today taking on YouTube

It was already really hard

It's not harder now

> Will any VC want to fund you in those conditions?

I don't think VCs are the best way to fund a startup

In Europe there's less emphasis on chasing or becoming unicorns


> how will anyone ever be able to oppose them?

The law clearly states that the size of the company and the costs of the "measures" should be taken into account, so that shouldn't be an issue.

> if you make any mistake, you'll be sued out of a company?

If you can prove that you've tried that you're not liable anymore and therefore can't be sued.

> what makes this website not a "content sharing service provider"? All the site does is share links to content.

You kind of answered your own question there.

> And since linking to content will now obligate paying the person you link to

No idea where this linking myth comes from. Commercial websites now have to pay a license fee when they publish substantial portions of press publications.

Source: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/media/35373/st09134-en18.pdf


> The law clearly states that the size of the company and the costs of the "measures" should be taken into account

Text: "should be effective but remain proportionate, in particular with regard to the size of the online content sharing service provider."

But this is exactly the wrong level of detail; it's not a reassurance because you and I and startups can have no idea what the level actually is. If they'd said "less than X employees or turnover less than X" it would be a specification. Instead it's horrible, expensive vagueness.

>> All the site does is share links to content.

> You kind of answered your own question there.

So we should expect HN to block Europe if this goes through, because otherwise they're liable for all copyright infringement of any linked page?


Americans tend to freak out at EU style regulation, becuase they have a pathological relationship to their own regulators.

Here's a UK case where a large chain was serving beer using glasses that were too small.

That chain hasn't been shut down, nor fined huge amounts. They weren't even prosecuted. They recalled all the glasses nationwide and replaced them with the correct size.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/07/03/pint-scam-major-...

This kind of regulation is not unusual.

EDIT just for clarification: I think this is a lousy law, and I hope it doesn't pass in its current form.


> Americans tend to freak out at EU style regulation, becuase they have a pathological relationship to their own regulators

I’m Swiss American. My fellow Swissmen are similarly sceptical.

The realistic risk isn’t someone fining everyone a billion dollars. It’s that you didn’t curry sufficient political favour with the right regulator and now get to see their capricious side. These are a legitimate concerns for anyone considering doing business in Europe.


It is meaningfully different: with the glass example the company can take concrete action and get back into compliance, and no longer have ongoing issues.

With any website (hackernews included) the only way they can actually completely prevent there from being copyrighted content in the comments that they host and publish is to not offer the ability to comment at all.


Or just remove all the links from comments...

We don't really need to link something to express an opinion

BTW HN have to check anyway, if I post a link to an obscure video sharing platform containing copyrighted material, that's an infringement

Even if the domain is whitelisted, say github.com, I could host copyrighted material there

They simply don't do it and rely on users's good faith


The text of a comment itself is user generated content that can contain copyrighted material.


The law regulates linked content

Web sites are already responsible for copyright infringements committed by their users


That's more Trading Standards though than EU-originated regulation - I think it's a bad example because weights and measures is extremely old and well-understood.


> otherwise they're liable for all copyright infringement of any linked page?

No, of course not. Like I said above, the "link tax" part (article 11) has nothing to do with linking. But even if it would, it still wouldn't have anything to do with the content filter law part (article 13). They're two completely separate things.


The level is "are you actually making an effort".

It's intentionally vague, because these laws only ever come into play if someone really messes up or is intentionally being deceptive..

If you set an exact limit or try and set exact definitions, people try and use them to create loopholes.. which I personally find to be a very American thing to do.

If you're actively making an effort trying to filter content, you have nothing to worry about. If it can be shown that you're intentionally trying to game the system, you can land in trouble.

It's pretty simple, really.


So now bureaucrats can pass out political favors through selective enforcement.


Vague laws are clearly and obviously tyranny because then you are subject to laws that nobody can clearly define and the only remaining question is if you are on the right parties good side and the usual way of remaining so is political favors.


> actively making an effort trying to filter content, you have nothing to worry about.

But you do: you have to worry about filtering content. And you can never know whether you've made enough effort.

You have to have a process, and devote human time to it, and (as I understand it) do so proactively rather than just responding to takedown requests.


>The law clearly states that the size of the company and the costs of the "measures" should be taken into account, so that shouldn't be an issue.

Umm, no. It doesn't stop it being an issue. The wording is ambiguous and this is risk that needs consideration when embarking on a venture. This law has definitely added at least friction to competing startups, and a barrier to entry at worst.


> This law has definitely added at least friction to competing startups, and a barrier to entry at worst.

That's a bit of an understatement especially if you consider how bad the law looks from a PR standpoint, how unlikely it is to actually benefit any of the big content producers and so on. I've actually been on the record saying the law will never happen because of how stupid and useless it is but obviously I've been wrong.

Anyway as far as ambiguity goes I think they do that on purpose to ensure a judge has the last word. I'm pretty sure this is supposed to stop trolls from suing little companies into oblivion rather than the other way around.


Every time a retarded policy comes out of the eu the bandwagon sounds the same tune of “eu finer are proportional and eu bodies are lenient” which is complete bullshit because law stay for hundred years unchanged while the political scenario changes every decade.


"Commercial websites now have to pay a license fee when they publish substantial portions of press publications."

Almost every website is a commercial endeavor to the point where they use ad revenue to pay the costs of operating.

By substantial portion you mean the little paragraph that helps you figure out which link contains the information you want to click on? Because people who are driving traffic to your website should obviously promote you for free AND pay you.

Quit shilling for your incompetent politicians.


I think substantial means substantial

If the website just posts what's inside the RSS feed it's ok.

If they extract meaning from the complete web page, that's a different story.


Do they define content? Medium is written content. Probably can't re-issue a novel in a medium post, what about someone posting the contents of a novel in their comments, what about any comments anywhere? See the issue?

More to the point, who is this helping? There's records sales being set all over the place every year.


Does it explicitly exclude textual content? Lot of copyrighted stuff is written.


Your wrong stop spreading this misinformation please.


What am I wrong about?


That the censorship rules only apply to services like youtube


It certainly seems like it applies to a lot more than youtube to me, including comment boards. Looking at the wording in teamhappy's response to you (which I cannot reply to)

> one of the main purposes of which is to store and give access to the public to copyright protected works or other protected subject-matter uploaded by its users

That sounds like it includes comments by users (since their comments would be automatically copyrighted)

> the content is uploaded with the authorisation of all rightholders concerned

The owner of a comment board has no way of knowing if their users will include (in their comments) content to which they don't have the authorisation to do so.

It seems pretty clear to me that it applies to comment boards.


What else do you think it applies to? The latest version of the law that I've seen says:

"(4b) ‘online content sharing service provider’ means a provider of an information society service one of the main purposes of which is to store and give access to the public to copyright protected works or other protected subject-matter uploaded by its users, which the service optimises. Services acting in a non-commercial purpose capacity such as online encyclopaedia, and providers of online services where the content is uploaded with the authorisation of all rightholders concerned, such as educational or scientific repositories, should not be considered online content sharing service providers within the meaning of this Directive. Providers of cloud services for individual use which do not provide direct access to the public, open source software developing platforms, and online market places whose main activity is online retail of physical goods, should not be considered online content sharing service providers within the meaning of this Directive;"


The words " What else do you think it applies to? The latest version of the law that I've seen says:" are subject to your copyright and hacker news exists to give public access to copyrighted matter such as your words above. Also almost nothing is strictly non commercial.


In other words, link sharing service providers are explicitly excluded? Pinterest, HN, Reddit?


In the case of Pinterest that would be hugely ironic?


[flagged]


This breaks the HN guidelines. Please read and follow them when commenting here: https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html.


The web is becoming more and more fragmented. I wonder where this will lead to. Europe seems to fall behind the US at an accelerating pace.

During the last two decades, Europe already failed to take part in building the internet. Now Europeans all use US services. Amazon, Ebay, Facebook, Google, Dropbox, AirBnB, Uber...

This was due to the culture of Europes entrepreneurs which is often "bureaucracy first, product later".

Now lawmakers seem busy putting another burden on top of that. Laws that put Europe behind the rest of the world in how easy it is to build online services.

Where will Europe be in 20 years? Will it become a developing continent of the digital area? Or will German Engineers somehow make up for innovation via assiduous execution? I find it hard to see how that could work.

Politicians might think 'Now that we have the web, lets regulate it'. But I wonder: Now that we lost the web, how will we avoid the same with AI? AI will have orders of magnitude more impact on our lives then the web. How will we avoid losing crypto? In the age of crypto, people might freely chose what currency to use. Do we want the worlds currency to be owned by a US company? How will we avoid losing biotech? Will the same happen to our bodies that happened to our data? Will they be owned by a handful of US companies?


Europe is not falling behind the US. That's bullshit. I'm an American living in Amsterdam for a decade or so, so I have some perspective.

All those companies you mentioned are prominent, but they are only important because they are a few percent cheaper or more useful or have better marketing. But they come at a high cost to society.

European cultures are different. It moves slower. Rules are more acceptable. But the things it produces are more polished. Amsterdam is better than any US city, for example.


I'm a European (born and bred) who just renounced US citizenship (gained through parent) and I have to counter you. Yes Amsterdam is way better than any US city but that has nothing to do with internet entrepreneurship. The EU, European governments and European culture in general do not support entrepreneurs. I bootstrapped a company in Berlin and all the government did was try find ways to shut us down. Our main competitor (Rocket Internet company) had the means to deal with this BS but as we were a small scrappy bootstrapped company we were treated like dirt. The Stripe story is very telling in this regard. Before moving to SV they tried to launch with Irish banks as partners and were laughed at for being naive children. No one is laughing anymore.


That example isn’t very convincing. I’ve only seen 1 or so service use stripe and their transaction costs are very high. You can’t call it’s existence positive without evoking some cultural values.

Plus, Europe is way ahead of the us in terms of banking convinence and efficiency.


Stripe is a multi-billion dollar company. It could have been Irish based for free. The Irish government spend billions to attract companies like Stripe. Also Stripe is a global brand now used by tens of thousands of businesses.


Wasn't Theranos multibillion valued at some point? Not trying to imply anything about Stripe being fraudulent, just evoking an extreme example of clear overvaluation to put such numbers into perspective. Stripe might also very well not have made much sense for Irish banks and a lot for US ones. Time will tell whether that was a mistake.


Nonsense on all counts.


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

Ironically, your single statement was actually "nonsense on all accounts" as Theranos definitely was valued multiple billions at some point.


> Plus, Europe is way ahead of the us in terms of banking convinence and efficiency.

I heard that just posting a picture of your credit card number somehow means you can get all your money stolen/cause bad things to happen. Is this true? How can this be a thing?


> But they come at a high cost to society.

That's such a hand-wavy argument. Can you prove that the cost of these laws is less?

> Amsterdam is better than any US city, for example.

Yes, for you. Not everyone's going to agree with that.


Not everyone has to agree, but to argue that Europe is falling behind you need to provide some evidence which is greater than all cultural differences.

For example, the Neanderthals are falling behind humans because they are all dead.


> but to argue that Europe is falling behind you need to provide some evidence which is greater than all cultural differences.

The parent post does provide evidence: no EU tech companies have hit Google/Facebook/Amazon/Microsoft scale. That's not a cultural difference, it shows that EU has not been as successful economically on the internet.


> no EU tech companies have hit Google/Facebook/Amazon/Microsoft scale.

SAP and Accenture are up there. I get your point though.


Are you really implying that in Europe there are no big tech companies just because in Europe fintech is stronger than search engines?

If you look at fortune 500, 143 companies are north American and 143 are European

But in 2001 215 were north American while only 158 were from Europe

EU market is just more fragmented not less innovative


That is a cultural reference because Europeans do care that much about scale. That is only important as a show of power. But it has little positive balance on everyday life. So it’s a difference in values.


> That is a cultural reference because Europeans do care that much about scale. That is only important as a show of power.

I'm not really talking about technical scale here. I'm talking about economic scale. In those terms, it does indeed seem that the EU is falling behind.

Also, it is not just a show of power, because these companies are reaping economic benefits from their power.

> But it has little positive balance on everyday life.

That's really your personal opinion. Many people (me included) would argue that the scale of these companies definitely makes a difference in your everyday life.


> Many people (me included) would argue that the scale of these companies definitely makes a difference

Many people would then be arguing sideways past the GP comment, which made no claim to the extent of the difference, rather that it was not a positive one.

As you say, though, it's definitely objectively clear from an economical standpoint.


Can confirm Amsterdam is better than any American city.


European engineers will move to places that pay them higher, like a chunk of them do today.


They do that? I never noticed anything like that. Do you have a source?

And while this bill indeed is a disaster, I really don't mind some extra regulations. They might not get it right the first time, but seeing how normal Americans get screwed and exploited over and over by internet companies, I think it's better than having no regulation at all.


I have coworkers here in the USA, from Europe. You do know the pay is significantly higher for software engineers in the USA compared to anywhere in the EU correct?


I don't know that. It is not enough to compare raw numbers, since the cost of living is so different. Healthcare is a famous example. But even leaving that aside, wages and standard of living differ already significant within Europe and I assume the same goes for the United States.

My colleagues and I live a comfortable life with a pay well above average in my country (The Netherlands) and while no country is perfect, I don't think I'd move away from family and friends even if I was payed double overseas.


> It is not enough to compare raw numbers, since the cost of living is so different. Healthcare is a famous example.

Yes, but this has the opposite effect from what you'd expect. The US has higher disposable income, both per capita and at the median, than Europe does. That means that, even accounting for the greater cost of healthcare in the US, households end up with greater purchasing power.

That's true across the country, but if you're comparing tech jobs, the effect is even more pronounced, because most tech companies provide health plans that ultimately are comparable (in terms of out-of-pocket expenses) to coverage in most of Europe. So you end up with significantly higher salaries[0], much lower taxes, and comparable health benefits.

As you point out, there may be other reasons that someone might not want to move (or be able to move), but there's no ignoring that salaries, disposable income, and purchasing power are dramatically higher in the US.

[0] London, for example, typically pays about half what you get in NYC or SF, for the same job title at the same company.


>>> So you end up with significantly higher salaries[0], much lower taxes, and comparable health benefits

If you're talking about Silicon Valley or New York, taxes won't be that different. And you'll get decent health insurance, sure. But it's still insurance (co-pays, premiums, only covered at these clinics etc)


As someone who moved from a developed country with single payer healthcare, it's actually better. No more waiting 3 months to see a specialist. The pay differential makes up the difference plus way more.


> No more waiting 3 months to see a specialist

I don't want to start a universal vs private debate, it's been done before. But private insurance as a job benefit exists independently of a government run program (mostly).


I did the same and no it's not better. It's just that wherever you moved from was badly managed. It doesn't have to be that way. It really sucks being at the mercy of the health insurance company if you happen to actually need to use your private health insurance for anything more than incidental usage.


> If you're talking about Silicon Valley or New York, taxes won't be that different.

I live in New York City. My taxes (as a percentage of my income) are substantially lower than they would be if I worked the same job in London, Berlin, Paris, Stockholm, Amsterdam, or any of the European cities that are considered to be "tech hubs".

> But it's still insurance (co-pays, premiums, only covered at these clinics etc)

...so? That's the case in most of Europe too, with the UK being the main exception. Most European companies use some form of private insurance or have out-of-pocket expenditures.

As far as I'm concerned, none of those "problems" exist. I have no monthly premiums to pay, most copays are $0 or close to it, and I don't think twice about finding in-network providers. It's much easier for me to book a specialist if I need to than it would be in any of those other cities.


> I live in New York City. My taxes (as a percentage of my income) are substantially lower than they would be if I worked the same job in London, Berlin, Paris, Stockholm, Amsterdam, or any of the European cities that are considered to be "tech hubs

Got any numbers on this? I was under the impression that effective tax rate is pretty much the same (if not lower, depending on your income) in London vs New York [0]. Could be wrong.

[0]http://www.hopesandfears.com/hopes/city/city_index/168817-ta...

>>> As far as I'm concerned, none of those "problems" exist. I have no monthly premiums to pay, most copays are $0 or close to it, and I don't think twice about finding in-network providers.

Right, so it works like universal healthcare... Great. You forgot to mention your deductible. Is that 0 true? Is it 0 to most people?

> That's the case in most of Europe too, with the UK being the main exception. Most European companies use some form of private insurance or have out-of-pocket expenditures.

Except private insurance in Europe is basically subsidised by government programs, which is why they are so much cheaper than in the US. Also, co-pays may exit, but do deductibles? I'm not aware of that.

> It's much easier for me to book a specialist if I need to than it would be in any of those other cities

Sure. You can also just get extra private insurance in those countries too.


> Got any numbers on this? I was under the impression that effective tax rate is pretty much the same (if not lower, depending on your income) in London vs New York

I have no idea how they're calculating those numbers in that link. They're all dead wrong.

> Except private insurance in Europe is basically subsidised by government programs, which is why they are so much cheaper than in the US. Also, co-pays may exit, but do deductibles? I'm not aware of that.

Once again, none of this is relevant, because at the end, it all works out to the same level of coverage, except with dramatically higher levels of disposable income for people in the US compared to those other cities.

It literally doesn't matter how heavily the government subsidizes it, because it still doesn't make up for the dramatically lower salaries.


The deductible usually is in the range of $200-$500. Doctor vists are a $25 flat fee, drugs are similar, etc. If you get cancer or something huge, maybe you'll pay $2000-5000/yr out of pocket?

All those numbers are pretty small compared to your compensation. You can just throw it in a bank or brokerage account after working for a month and will cover your medical deductible expenses for a very long time.


> The deductible usually is in the range of $200-$500. Doctor vists are a $25 flat fee, drugs are similar, etc. If you get cancer or something huge, maybe you'll pay $2000-5000/yr out of pocket?

Exactly. The maximum you can pay out of pocket is capped at $7,350 for individuals and $14,700 for families. That's the absolute maximum, and the insurance plans for almost any tech job (which is what we're talking about in this thread) are going to have caps that are a lot less than that.

$14,700 isn't a small amount of money for a family, but it's a lot less than the after-tax difference between salaries in New York and London/Berlin/Munich/Paris/Amsterdam/etc. for these jobs. Even if you're a single-income household, you still come out way ahead.


You do know that quality of life in the USA is significantly worse?

(this has been discussed on HN ad nauseam, don't assume someone completely missed all of that)


> Now Europeans all use US services. Amazon, Ebay, Facebook, Google, Dropbox, AirBnB, Uber...

Well, to be fair, everyone (sans China) uses these US services too.


And I can't think of any other countries imposing their laws on the rest of the world like the EU is doing.


> And I can't think of any other countries imposing their laws on the rest of the world

The USA is infamous for doing exactly that: ITAR, FATCA, ...


..USA?

Hello, DMCA?


I can think of the US

EU is imposing rules on its market, not others


I encourage everyone in the EU to reach out to their representatives by mail (or by phone, even better!) and let them know how you feel about the proposal. I have already sent mails to mine, and have at time of writing gotten two responses indicating a shared opposition of the proposal. I moreover asked whether they are experiencing any significant surge in comments compared to other controversial topics to which they, much to my disappointment, said they are not. Whilst this likely depends entirely on the representative in question, I was reassured that every comment was read and taken into consideration - if anything then in an aggregated manner.


When you visit wikipedia in the UK you some times see a banner with information. I'm posting here the content and links of the banner:

> To all our readers in the UK This Tuesday we need your help. On 5 July 2018, the European Parliament will vote on a new copyright directive. If approved, these changes threaten to disrupt the open Internet that Wikipedia is a part of. You have time to act. Join the discussion. Thank you.

> Contact your MEP: https://changecopyright.org/

> Read about on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Directive_on_Copyright_in_the_...

> Learn more: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/EU_policy/2018_European_Parl...

In particular that changecopyright.org link seems organized by Mozilla, and connects you directly with an MEP.


I've just put together a simple list of MEPs and their voting intentions (far from complete, it's only the few I've heard about more or less directly). It would be great if you can add what you've heard from MEPs you've spoken to. If anything, it may help focus efforts when speaking to MEPs. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1A8H7OQfyjzdn8RhQ7ifw...


One important aspect about this is that this week's vote is a simple yes/no matter. If the vote is yes, the proposal continues to the next stage unamended. If the vote is no, each specific part of the proposal will be subject to amendments, which can then be voted on in a separate session. So having this table divided by article is not very sensible.

I called a bunch of German MEPs over the past few weeks. I spoke to every parliamentary group except the far-right. The CDU and CSU are voting for this, which makes sense as it's their proposal. They had zero interest in talking about the actual contents, saying instead that Voss is their expert on the topic and they trust his opinion. Every other parliamentary group among the German MEPs is opposed. There is one person in the Green group that is an exception (Helga Trüpel). She is violently in support and doesn't seem to want to discuss the matter (when I called a staffer told me that they were overwhelmed with calls about this topic and I should call another time but her Twitter feed leaves zero doubts). Every other member of the Green group is against, as are all the FDP representatives, all the SDP representatives, and all the Linke representatives. I didn't feel comfortable speaking with any AfD and associated people. I spoke to a handful of CDU people who asked me to email with specific questions, and then replied to said email with a one-liner saying they fully support their colleague's proposal. It's still a good idea to call German representatives outside the CDU/CSU faction and ask them to please attend the vote - attendance is possibly going to be more important here than convincing them of a position because it appears the party lines are now clear.

It might be a good idea to NOT call EPP/CDU/CSU members because that might motivate them to attend and the lower their attendance the better.


>Article 13 has been the most controversial, requiring websites to enforce copyright, even on content uploaded by users. (emphasis mine)

This is laughable. Laws like the aforementioned shows how disconnected the lawmakers and regulators in the European Union (not that they're unique) are from the tech/media industry and general internet-using public at large.

Regulations like these could backfire real bad even with best of intentions from folks at the helm of regulatory bodies, who -- more often than not -- have scanty, if any, understanding of the how online social platforms work.


It turns out that regulations are made largely by old lawyers, who are more connected and charismatic than smart and practical, and haven't operated in the real-world for decades.


Absolutely. This was on full-wide display at Mark Zuckerberg's senate testimony back in April, when a large proportion of senators had no idea what they were talking about when it came to technical aspects of Cambridge Analytica issue -- no wonder given the median age in that hearing was 62. [0]

[0] https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/4/10/17222062/m...


I was wondering recently how government would look if in addition to a minimum age for various posts (at least in the US) there was a maximum age as well. The argument of needing a certain age to have the correct knowledge and perspective on the current issues facing society applies equally well to an age ceiling as well as an age floor. There are doubtlessly exceptions of older politicians who are quite capable, but there are probably the same exceptions in quite capable younger would-be politicians who are currently excluded. It would certainly be interesting to see how that would effect the handling of emerging technologies.


"It turns out that regulations are made largely by old lawyers, who are more connected and charismatic than smart and practical, and haven't operated in the real-world for decades."

Maybe that's the career path for aging programmers. Get a law degree.


This is a fantastic idea. Perhaps HN community could start an initiative to support this. Ageism in tech is a huge problem that is widely discussed here as is the disconnect between technology and law makers. It is in fact the perfect intersection which will result in the maximum value add impact for ageing technologists.

I have created a post to discuss this further: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17455017


This is why lawyers should not run anything especially not countries and unions (like the EU).


Actually part of italian media industry is asking to pass this new directive considering the position of the government (which is against it) "extremely wrong and misguided"

eg (note this is an italian article, you need to google translate it): https://www.agi.it/blog-italia/digitale/copyright_link_tax_d...


"This is laughable."

Is it? Copyright enforcement was happening for a while now even "on content uploaded by users", where the take-down of reported infringing content got to be the norm. Are the lawmakers and regulators in the European Union really the disconnected ones here?


You've misunderstood.

Nobody is saying content uploaded by users should be inviolable. The points of contention are who is legally responsible for users' infringements. This law tilts the balance from "users are responsible" towards "websites are responsible."

Much as it was fretted about at the time, the DMCA seems to have worked out pretty well in practice. It strikes a balance that is reasonably effective and not overly burdensome on small, fast-growing companies. The regulatory burden of the new law is much greater.


Since the companies who are advocating for economic censorship of the open web like lists so much, is there a github repo of all companies:products:services and associated lobbyists who are advocating for the proposed EU copyright law?

Such a list will be necessary for mass-market boycott, divestment and sanction of the companies who killed the open web. Users will have lots of time available to focus and channel their energy, if these laws are passed, economically outlawing most user-generated content.

In the history of online and offline publishing, what have been the commercial and censorship consequences of centralized copyright registers/databases and pre/post publication filters?


Just some trivia, and I'm sorry if I get any details wrong;

a former colleague (who is now a PhD student at Northwestern, in the US) made a Chrome extension that used publicly available data to transform every mention of a politician or political party into a 'link'. By hovering the mouse, the extension showed you exactly who/what companies donated how much to that politican/party.

It was eye opening to read the news with that on. He even made national headlines here (not EU).

Eventually the project was canned because the public source was discontinued by the government.


I made something similar for Belgium a while back [0]. Unfortunately, all I had were the official resources. How much is earned for most of the positions is not public information (or is well hidden in opaque structures). This form of information augmentation has an enormous impact on how you can consume the news.

[0] https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/hoeveel-verdient-e...


Thanks for the idea, a writeup or screenshots would be helpful. Maybe we can rebuild it using multiple data sources.


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

https://lobbyfacts.eu/reports/lobby-costs/all/0/1/1/1/11/0/

There is even a company that specialises in lobbying for their customers, making them invisible in lobbying process

http://www.burson-marsteller.eu/who-we-are/about-us/


> is there a github repo of all companies:products:services and associated lobbyists who are advocating for the proposed EU copyright law?

I like the idea for the site, but might a wiki be better suited for this? I've noticed with some passing curiosity that git is being used increasingly for things that aren't exactly its forte. Maybe it's just the metaphorical hammer that make all problems look like nails?


It's less the tool (git) than the culture of active OSS contribution across the social network of github members.

Github has wikis too, which are backed by repos.


Axel Springer


What the EU is doing is no more a killing of the open Web, than what China has done. China's economy will soon surpass the size of the EU, and of course its population post Brexit is 3x that of the EU.

The open Web will persist. Some countries/regions will be part of it, some won't.


How much bigger would be China's economy with an open web?


It'd probably be smaller because they'd have no domestic tech industry and be on Google Apple FB like everywhere else


Trade policy (protectionism) can co-exist with an open web, so Chinese tech companies could not only exist, they could serve non-Chinese customers in an open web, growing their market and competing globally with Google/FB/etc.


Some of them already do

Think of Alibaba


The internet that we have now, wouldn't have been possible with laws like these in place. Remember that when you are trying to rationalise this and other overreaching laws like the GDPR. We will be destroying the future if we allow this.


What's wrong with GDPR?


It impacts the majority of the web and it's vague in a number of important places.


Generic response and not this law in particular - things have changed. Internet protocols were not defined with security in mind and look where it has led to. Cryptocurrencies were created in similar naive fashion, and look what kind of pathetic amoral shit they evolved into. We didn't have PRISM, Guantanamo, war on terror creating and seeding terror, war on drugs creating whole drug empires and cartels, extroverty sociopath with most power in the world and so on.

some things are not possible anymore, some new are. I'll take at least some attempt to protect end user data over outright lying to my face and "we're above the law" any day.


It's worth pointing out the slight error in the article title here -- Wikipedia isn't organized by countries but by languages. Now granted, most Italian speakers are in Italy, so this isn't as bad of an error as conflating the Portuguese Wikipedia (most readers are Brazilian) with Portugal, or the English Wikipedia with England.

But Italian is also an official language of Switzerland, and fairly widely spoken in other countries like Slovenia and Croatia, and of course the whole expat Italian community in places like the US and Southern America.

And, most saliently, the Italian Wikipedia, like all Wikipedias, is run by a US-based organization, the Wikimedia Foundation. This affects the legal ramifications of this law on the Italian Wikipedia greatly.


Wikipedia servers are run by The Wikimedia Foundation. The wikipedias themselves are run by their own communities


The local communities can be (and have been) overridden on policies by the WMF. They aren't sovereign. It all comes down to the WMF, ultimately. They have final say on everything. Local language communities are more like users of the site, from a legal perspective.


We need support to ensure that everybody in world understand that the web is in danger. Not the European web because there is nothing like that. Web is global. If this law will be approved, it will impact the whole web and create a precedent for other countries to approve similar regulations. All governments, even the Western ones, want to control the web. This is a first tragic step. So, please, shut down all Wikipedia in world for at least one day. It is a small sacrifice to obtain a great victory for freedom. An Italian Wikipedian


I see the EC responded to Jimmy's tweet: https://twitter.com/EU_Commission/status/1014131021137285127


The Wikimedia Foundation hosts collaborative projects which are not encyclopedias. WikiNews for instance cuts right into the heart of what EC is trying to stop. Really shows how much thought the EC put into their "arbitrary exceptions to appease powerful entities" strategy.


I don't know if there is something more irritating than seeing people in power trying to regulate a field they have no idea about.


I would guess that more irritating than that, are ignorant people trying to discuss a field they have no idea about (I'm looking at you, antivaxxers)


Funny that we heard so much about net neutrality, but no one seems to care about copyright laws or GDPR.


Funny how American dominated websites care more of American politics over European ones.

To be glib about it, it also goes to show the demographics at work here. Even now, GDPR resulted in more of a pain for Europeans than Americans; it's quite common now to see comments about how this site is blocked in Europe or some bypass method to get to an article. This copyright law will very likely amount to the same deal, being a thorn in the side of Europeans but Americans couldn't care less.


The government shouldn't regulate the Internet.

Every time they try to regulate it, it's a complete nightmare.

I'm sure they have very good intentions.


Because most major websites are in US. I can totally see Google, Twitter and Yahoo making huge profit from that law. They host insane amount of contents, both text and multimedia. Someone will offer an API where EU services will be able to upload picture, video or text to get estimate if that content is copyrighted. Sounds like ContentID that YouTube already has. That's just another law that will export money and business from EU to US.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17195493


Would Hacker News (https://news.ycombinator.com) suffer directly since it exists out of content generated by users (Article 13) ? And it links to other websites. (Article 11) ?

Who is behind the recent changes on the internet ?

Months ago Agit Pai(FCC) ended net neutrality.

Month ago, may 25th, GDPR initiated (except this benefits the individual).

Now there is a push for laws that defeat the basics of the internet, the hyperlink:

Article 11: requires online platforms to pay publishers a fee if they link to their news content.

Article 13: requiring websites to enforce copyright, even on content uploaded by users.

There is a bigger force behind those recent major changes that can break the internet as we know. But who ?


GDPR is for the people, was passed over a year ago.

Don’t put all these things together.


> There is a bigger force behind those recent major changes that can break the internet as we know. But who ?

You're framing it as a conspiracy theory, but the answer is simple: business interests.

The internet is no longer about personal stuff-- your Geocities page, sharing 128kb MP3s with your friends, and blogging on LiveJournal. It's a platform to influence people and sell shit, and everybody who likes money wants to get in on that action.

And yes, these disparate interests are totally content to exploit it by lobbying for changes in their favor until it's too fragmented, restrictive and worthless to be useful to anybody, yet like cable television we'll treat it as something essential to life and pay the monthly bill through retirement just the same.


I believe I found the text of the proposed law, though this may be an older version: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A...

>Article 11 of the proposed law requires online platforms to pay publishers a fee if they link to their news content.

I don't see how the law does this. The proposal states, under section 33:

>This protection does not extend to acts of hyperlinking which do not constitute communication to the public.

This is the only mention of linking that I could find in the law.

As for article 13, it does seem far too broad. There needs to be explicit exemptions for what we call "fair use" in the US. Educational, research, transformative uses, parody, etc, must be preserved.


There would be a simple solution to a law that forbids linking to content without consent of the author:

Only link to content where the author added a standardized 'You are free to link to this page.' meta tag.

In no time, every page on the net would carry that tag. Because authors want to be linked to.


Could this be the renaissance of RSS syndication?

The users autonomously aggregate the RSS published by the authors or the owners of the content an build their own personal aggregators at home.

You wanna share it?

Just share the links to the RSS (which are public and used exactly for that purpose)

The owner is in control of what's being distributed, the user is in control of what they are reading

Wikipedia itself is a form a centralization of data and content, which is undesirable anyway.


Ha. The scope and enforcement of these actions and their predecessors make me want to write a new children's book entitled, "The Boy Who Cried 'Follow This Large Internet Law'".


It is such bullshit to talk about "copyrighted content" as if there were special more important kinds that are protected. Even CC content is copyrighted


I hope this law is used to rebalance how unfairly the US has treated the EU in services.


EU policy lobbying at its finest


Over 50000 people work full time lobbying in EU

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


Why Italy? Why not a country with more impact on EU laws, like Germany or France?


So I imagine this would only apply to servers hosted in the EU, no?


And services that make money in EU. Technically your service won't be able sell or buy from EU companies without having this filter and respecting (another dead regulation) GDPR.


This is just another shitshow driven by publishers, unions and music labels lobbying politicians in the attempt to make money given they have no clue how to innovate and make money anymore.

I wish people in the news would call this bs out for what it is but I doubt they ever will considered news publishers are among the ones lobbying. They'll be happy for us to be forced through their bs paywalls.

This is a very different matter from the GDPR, don't get fooled.


Once more into the breach deer friends..

Again and again we are supposed to rally, infinite protest against rows and rows of copyright reform - this is a dead alley. No protest culture or NGO has ever sustained a movement as long as the market interests undermining the allmende and democracy.

The right to time wise inject laws similar in intention into the governing process- must be limited. Once a proposal has been voted for or against, it must be stable for 4 or 8 years. Stable being only open to more precise definition, but not intent inversion or redefinition.


[flagged]


You've been posting a lot of inflammatory political comments, and that's simply not what this site is for. Could you please not do this?

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


How are EU startups going to compete if this proposed law is passed? If the proposed law is intended as a trade barrier, it needs to favor EU startups.


By asking for permissions to the authors...

It doesn't sound so bad.


How did that work out for Eastern Europe when the Soviet Union was in power?


Actually, not that bad, if you ask me

We had the the Russian Film School, the Polish Film and Animation school because of that

We had Stanisław Lem and Andrei Tarkovsky

We had East Germany Punk that inspired a lot of European bands (including Italian CCCP)

Now there is no typical eastern cultural product anymore.

Even in China they now produce massive blockbusters with American actors...


Why are people so desperate to trot out this one tired example while ignoring every other country and pretending context doesn't exist?


I don’t know why you’re getting downvotes. American business represent some of the absolute worst excesses of capitalist greed and have no place in somewhere as progressive and forward thinking in Europe, or even China. Pro-people laws like the GDRP and this copyright go a long way in fighting communities that the alt-right and neo Nazis fester in. Just imagine if that Nazi frog could be wiped from the internet and its posters arrested for hate speech.

I’m excited about this and it brings us closer to a world where America means less and people mean more.


> Pro-people laws like the GDRP and this copyright

I quite like the GDPR. I don't see how the current proposed law is of any benefit to people. It benefits a limited amount of companies. Good luck competing with e.g. Youtube if you have to invest 60M EUR in a difficult to create copyright filter.


> I don’t know why you’re getting downvotes. American business represent some of the absolute worst excesses of capitalist greed and have no place in somewhere as progressive and forward thinking in Europe, or even China.

Probably because this article is about Wikipedia, which I've never once heard accused of being greedy.


As Italian, I feel like this is gone completely out of hand.

Wikipedia content is licensed under CC license. There's no way their content could not be linked elsewhere.

Wikipedia also rises the question of the content they link, as, for example in the footnotes

In Italy it can be admitted under the "right to inform" (diritto di cronaca), it applies to everyone, not only to the press

Most of all the law only applies to content sharing providers, not to individuals

This is similar to what Xanadu envisioned, and could start a real fight back to fake news and the spreading of lies and online violence towards minorities

EU has a long history of being with the people of EU, not the corporations and I trust them

Besides, the law in Italy is being opposed by the worst kind of net abusers around, some of them are in charge thanks to the wave of fake news that started with Cambridge Analytica and some of them have been called out by CA itself (even though they didn't explicitly said the names, there are evidences that Matteo Salvini, leader of Lega, have been working with them)


I thought that wikipedia was made for the use of the public, but it is using the public (denying access to the encyclopedia to it) to promote the political agenda of a smaller group (the wikipedia community) instead. If the role of the internet is to concentrate resources, to put out of business alternatives, to command and conquer the masses, it's better to legistlate it away. I want my encarta disks back.


You're either trolling or a russian bot. No sane person can believe that Wikipedia is pushing a political agenda ("using the public" !?) to "put out of business alternatives". Wikipedia is defending an idea on which the Internet and Wikipedia itself is build. And the smaller group you refer to is a group of hundreds of millions of daily users.




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