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Wikimedia warns EU copyright reform threatens the ‘vibrant free web’ (techcrunch.com)
264 points by AnatMl2 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 125 comments



Article 13 is the key one, mandating upload filtering. This has all sorts of side effects - suddenly you can't make a Dropbox style file sharing site without implementing pre-emptive filtering. You can't rely on notify-and-takedown.

Article 11 potentially has huge implications for social media sites; suddenly a user posting a news article link with a quote becomes a copyright liability.

All the worry that was focused on the GDPR should be focused on this instead, in my opinion.


Absolutely agree. Both articles are a huge mistake for EU and will have incredibly negative impact on users and DSPs while favoring rights holders.

The status quo favors DSPs (and indirectly users) but damages rights holders. A solution is badly needed, however it should be one balancing needs of all 3 groups instead of favoring one (or two).


Why should there be “balancing”? The entire premise of copiright is just wrong to begin with.

Here we have this perfectly anti-rival public good produced. But of course anti-rival just doesn’t work that well with free market economics, you know with the externalities and all. And since we just can’t imagine any other form of work allocation schemes than the free market, what to do?!

Naturally the most obvious thing, destroy the pesky anti-rival externalities. Let’s waste as much effort, and misery, as it takes to force it into the shape of the rival goods we all know and love.

It’s quite sad really.


I'm sorry but I don't think I follow.

You disagree with the notion, that people that produce content should be paid for it?

I do believe that correct attribution and fair compensation is vital to get quality content. These proposals are not the answer though.


"You disagree with the notion, that people that produce content should be paid for it?"

Is that really that value that governments should be optimizing for? What about people who's content isn't all that good? Should they be ensuring payments for anyone who creates a new viral meme?

I'd propose a different value: "How do we best incentivize people to produce content?" (or perhaps "quality content")

Trying to make sure people can get paid is one strategy to incentivize the creation of quality content. But when you rethink of the problem in terms of optimizing for the production of quality content you can think up other strategies as well.

For example, Facebook and Twitter have done a great job of encouraging people to produce content (with questionable levels of quality), without attaching any monetary rewards to it.

Reframing the question in different ways will help us arrive at larger variety of solutions.


Deciding quality is a slippery slope. Who is going to decide the quality? Me? You? A committee? Government? Which one?

"Is that really that value that governments should be optimizing for? What about people who's content isn't all that good? Should they be ensuring payments for anyone who creates a new viral meme?"

That's exactly what government should do. Let the market to decide what content it perceives as good or not. The viral on its own means that the content is desired by some in the population. You or I may question its quality, but that doesn't discount its value to the ones who enjoy it.

I think that's where it should stop. Government shouldn't censure content (up until is outright harmful to the society [there are mechanisms in place already to deal with this]).

The curation should come from the platforms. Platform can compete for the eyeballs by picking the content they want to distribute. However creators, whoever they are, should be fairly compensated for it.


I agree. Quality is a subjective word, hence the parenthesis around it. I'm sure we can think up of a better goal.

My point was that ensuring people get paid is not what our end goal is. We should identify what our end goal should be and try to see if a different tactic might accomplish that goal better (with less collateral damage).

For example, people who create memes (the actual memes, not the images that later become memes) are motivated by social acknowledgement. Same goes for many Facebook posts.

Mandating payment systems is unlikely to motivate those types of content creation, and may in fact suppress many other types.

However, creating content based on social rewards (like most social media sites currently do) does help the creation of popular content.


I think this is more business point discussion for a platform (how do you motivate your users to create) than for a government how to enforce that creators are not being ripped off by users and platforms.

The case you described is already covered (at least in US) by the Fair Use doctrine [0] and works, well, works ok. I don't think the government should consider the use case of copyrighted work.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use


> You disagree with the notion, that people that produce content should be paid for it?

Nobody disagrees with that.

The fact is copyright exists to create artificial scarcity. "Content", once produced, is not scarce in any way; that's why the scarcity is artificial. These laws exist to force everybody to pretend that isn't how things work. It's fundamentally dishonest. It is trivial to copy and distribute "content". People have been doing it since computers were a thing and ironically they do it better than the copyright owners themselves.

It's up to the industry to find some other way to pay people. I don't really care how they're going to do it, and frankly it's nobody else's problem but their own. Instead of concentrating on a new business model, they keep embarrassing themselves with endless anti-piracy measures that do nothing but make the DRM-free copy look better than the original.


"> You disagree with the notion, that people that produce content should be paid for it?

Nobody disagrees with that."

From your post above and your clarification below, it seems like you believe:

1. People that produce content should be paid for it.

2. The burden is on content producers to find a way to get paid and, if they don't find one, then so be it.

Those are both reasonable positions, but I don't understand how you can hold both at the same time, unless I'm misunderstanding what you mean by 'should' in the first statement. Do you mean:

A) 'Should', as in 'this is the outcome we (society) want, and so we are willing to use the resources at our disposal (e.g. the legal system) to make it so, if it doesn't happen on its own', OR

B) "I hope they'll get paid", OR

C) 'I expect they'll get paid', OR

D) Something else?


I mostly agree with A. I don't agree with the "if it doesn't happen on its own" part. If they can't make it work on their own, is it really meant to be? Should we keep making laws to support business models that worked before but don't work anymore?

When physical records were created, an industry naturally formed around them. The objective was to record good content, make copies and sell them. These copies were actually scarce. They had to be manufactured. Copying content wasn't trivial; you'd actually need to run a counterfeiting enterprise in order to do it. In that context, I'd even say copyright law sounded reasonable. It allowed the law to target and punish those counterfeiters.

Computers changed that. Now nearly everyone can suddenly become a criminal for downloading some music from sites as big as YouTube. What if 82% of a country's population engages in copyright infringement? I think it's a sign that these laws are out of touch with reality.

Instead of forcing everyone to pretend copies are still scarce, let the industry die instead. Let them go bankrupt. They should be forced to adapt by figuring out how to make money despite all the copying. If that means they'll make less money than before, then so be it.


I say A). It's the same why we have labor law, property law, ... It's vital for the society to have creative people to produce entertainment for masses (or for a few). It makes a whole.


That's a bit harsh, don't you think? Just because something is easy to copy doesn't mean it doesn't have value. Creators should be paid for their work no matter how simple is to copy. If they are the first one who created it and someone else benefits, then they deserve to be compensated.

My best solution would be something along these lines https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17913535


> That's a bit harsh, don't you think?

No.

Given the chance, these people would turn all the computers we use and love into locked-down content consumption machines. I think it is safe to assume this agenda is against the interests of everyone on hacker news. In fact, if copyright holders got their way, it would be impossible to be a hacker.

The only way to stop copyright infringement is to destroy computing as we know it. That is their end game. They want to take control of the user's computer and actively prevent them from doing things they don't like. This battle for copyright is similar to the battle against encryption: corporations and governments don't want you to have any control because it allows you to subvert them.

> Just because something is easy to copy doesn't mean it doesn't have value.

I didn't say it had no value. I said it wasn't scarce.

> Creators should be paid for their work no matter how simple is to copy. > If they are the first one who created it and someone else benefits, then they deserve to be compensated.

Then, for all our sakes, I hope they can figure out how to get paid regardless of how many copies are out there.


It’s not harsh. Although I disagree with his solution- we need copy right, but copy-rights have been terrible for us.

However - Have people (on HN) forgotten how the content companies enforce copy right ? The RiAa/MPAA?

Copy rights were to help creators earn return on their creation. Today copy rights extend far beyond the natural life of the creator and are constantly being extended to favor corporations/owners, at the expense of the commons.

The lotr will never enter the public domain. And Disney is one of the greatest problems in this field. (And now they own Fox!)

Packet sniffing was created for the *AAs. Massive invasions of privacy and the initial subversion of the internet traces to their doorstep.

Copy right was one of the first fights of the collective group of people who landed up on /. And HN


>Copy rights were to help creators earn return on their creation. Today copy rights extend far beyond the natural life of the creator and are constantly being extended to favor corporations/owners, at the expense of the commons.

Just playing devils advocate: if most copyright nowadays belong to corporations, and corporations are immortal entities, perhaps eternal copyright makes sense? Not saying that's a good thing.


> Packet sniffing was created for the AAs

I'm pretty sure tcpdump predates Napster and any involvement of the AAs in the workings of the Internet...


Nope - as I recall that was the ISPs defense “we don’t know what people are sharing since we can’t look into packets”


The first version of tcpdump dates from '88[0]. And I'm not sure it was even the first sniffer out there, quite likely not.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tcpdump


Pay doesn’t come from value. In fact markets work very hard to destroy any surplus value above costs. It’s kind of their main feature, find a cheaper way to provide the same value and _lower the price_.

Economics only focuses on balancing limited resources between competing interests and has generally nothing useful to say wrt actual value.


What is wrong with artificial rights? Aren’t a lot of rights already artificial? You can also argue that property rights are artificial: if someone points a tank at you then you will have to give up all your property, so property right pretends like that isn’t reality and is dishonest. But I’d say it is a good thing that people aren’t allowed to point a tank at me.


I don't believe in those rights either. They're just as artificial as copyright to me. Criminals and even the government itself violate property rights on a daily basis.

The low level concept that enables society's rules is violence and the threat of it.


People do deserve to be paid for their work, but at what "deadweight" cost to the rest of us?

Rights collection these days works by media suppression: almost all the effort is put into preventing people from getting it, destroying copies etc. Given free reign they would put a lock on every technological system to ensure prices stay high and media inconvenient.

Netflix and Spotify (and I think iTunes etc) only exist because piracy drove the media companies to negotiate.


I do agree with your assessment (although it's more complicated than that).

Historically, rights holders (RH) used to have the upper hand, then the Internet came and took their reign down while giving upper hand to DSPs. Now RHs are trying to tip the scale back where it was.

Neither is a good situation. I definitely do not know what the right solution is, but nor the status quo nor the proposal is any good.

My radical view on this is to try to come up with some kind of compulsory license similar to the one that exists in music in US [0] for all content. The rates could be set up by panel of judges (similarly to US) or put in place arbitrary at lets say 50%.

This way, if creator produces content and decides to distribute it, she can't prevent a platform (DSP) from distributing it, however DSP can't avoid a payment.

Obviously this is a gross simplification, but I'm not seeing many ways out of this mess.

[0] https://www.thebalancecareers.com/what-is-a-compulsory-licen...


No. I disagree with the notion that copyright is a desirable approach to any problem in this discussion (the economics of anti-rival goods and its producing)

But for the record I don’t believe there is a good answer to your question that spans the entire domain of activities currently covered by copyright. And equally copyright doesn’t have much of role in generating revenue for most of it.

I should add that I also believe there is a large domain of desirable activities outside content creation that suffers in similar ways from our desire to fit everything into our current economic models.

As an illustration, when invited to dinner you might bring a bottle of wine, which is usually appreciated. Yet if you instead brought money of an equal amount as the cost of the bottle the host would probably be offended, and increasing the amount of money would probably do little to alleviate that.

There’s a quality in the effort of buying a bottle of wine here that doesnt fit into a purely economic model of the work performed. Yet you still need time and money to perform it, so limited resources do play a role.

In a similar vein there are lots of activities that requires time and money. Raising a child could be an example. Where the cost is easy to fit into the model, but the value and motivations are qualitively outside the realm of economics.

I think we simply need to recognize that these values are some times public goods, and the costs needs to be covered by other means than direct free market transactions.

Personally I believe that a basic income could be a part of this discussion.


Understood. I don't right answer either. The best I ever came up with I described here [0] but I still may be off significantly. In any way, we do have to find solution and fairly quickly, or we will get stuck with Article 11/13 and similar.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17913535


Amanda Palmer, does ahve a big point in her reformulating of the Question.

It's not how do we make people pay for it, how do we let people pay for it.

People want to pay for content, the current systems don't let people pay for it.


I agree. That's why we have to change the status quo. However the proposal from the EU commission is step in a very wrong direction.


The GDPR was a huge blessing for everyone who was tired of large companies, many of them from the States (which wouldn't matter except the attitude of "you can go fuck yourself" is much stronger in US companies) trampling all over their right to privacy. It has made the privacy situation in the EU a lot better. If that doesn't help you, it sucks for you - but saying it's a mistake is denying the nuances that are present in the situation.


I feel like there isn't enough focus on this point - mandating extra elements (filters) inside an otherwise direct line of communication is always a bad idea. The best case scenario you get is the telephone game...


The problem is, that particular direct line of communication is lately somewhat of a one way line to propaganda, misinformation, libel, etc etc. Now we are at the popularity stage where money can be made from lawsuits too.

This development was inevitable.


I think copyright reform has come about the same way GPDR has. Large tech corporations have been ignoring the concerns of governments, steamrolling those governments citizens, and then when given a few choices on how to act the companies argue out of both sides of their mouth.

In this case corporations like Facebook, Google, et al have stated that they are platforms and can't be responsible for what people post on their systems. At the same time they are selectively removing content based on their beliefs or economic concerns, and not solely under court order.

There are two options. One is to be a dumb platform serving anything someone wants to out up, and thus free from any copyright claims. The other option it to be an arbiter of the content, which means they are responsible for said content and so they are responsible for the endemic amount of copyright violation on their systems.

The companies didn't want to pick their role, so governments are picking for them


> Large tech corporations have been ignoring the concerns of governments, steamrolling those governments citizens

Quite the opposite; in case of copyright expansion the large companies you mention are the copyright holders, which are about to be given governmental mandate to steamroll over the citizens even more. Quite the opposite of GDPR which went to protect the interests of individual citizens.


The large companies can both benefit from copyright protections while ignoring other companies and individuals copyrights. A magazine that keep putting in copyrighted novels would get sued. Somehow when google let's people upload movies to YouTube and remove it after it has already been uploaded, it's alright because they don't want to pay for employees to pre screen uploads.

That was fine when they we're dumb platforms, but when they started picking and choosing what content was allowed based on their own interests they really gutted any sort of claim to just being a platform


Whilst I agree internet firms are trying to have their cake and eat it with respect to content filtering, I don't believe this has anything to do with the EU's actions here.

This sort of thing is just an extension of a very long running feud that goes back a decade or more, driven primarily by the newspaper industries in the EU "core" states. The German and Spanish "Google taxes" were also attempts to change how copyright works on the internet, targeted at Google News entirely to the benefit of newspaper owners, but they failed because Google just either cut deals or in Spain shut down Google News entirely.

So now the newspapers are trying to do the same thing at the EU level, working on the theory that if all EU countries act in concert then Google and Facebook will have to cut the newspapers a big cheque. Early attempts to just change copyright so the act of linking or snippetting requires a license have now warped into this wider attempt to extract money from internet companies via copyright.

There is some political background here too - newspapers can't do this by lobbying national governments directly, because the finances of newspapers is far, far, far down the list of things citizens care about and national governments are all focused on other things. Luckily for them (!) the EU doesn't care what citizen's priorities are and doesn't need to!

Moreover the EU is heavily incentivised to please the newspaper owners because it benefits from unusually positive coverage for governments in the old European media (not so much in the UK or eastern European states). Journalists have largely bought into the narrative that the EU is a glorious positive peace-filled future and as such newspapers in Germany or France heavily weight their scrutiny towards the "legacy" national governments instead. The piper is now demanding to be paid. The Commission is probably worried that if it loses the support of the press then things will get a lot harder for it in future.


Can we just agree to silo off the EU? Why should foreign companies have to comply with these policies anyway? GDPR compliance has already had a negative impact on web UX.


Imagine a scenario where this passes. Larger companies in the US and elsewhere are able to put in place "filtering" to comply with the mandate, but then other smaller companies simply turn off the EU.

When it comes to regulations, larger companies have the will and resources to meet them. Stifling competition and becoming dominant in the marketplace.

Sure, some commentators will argue that SaaS products can popup to fill the "filtering" requirements. But it could be something that companies just simply cannot afford to implement and again, we're back to blocking off the EU.

The knock on effect is that at least for EU content, startups will have yet another hurdle to get off the ground.

Now, when the rest of the world starts to block off the EU and EU customers start seeing their access being limited as time goes on. It may or may not cause a backlash. Who knows at this point.

As a solo-founder who is working on a startup that is hugely impacted by this. I really hope this does not pass. If it does, oh well. I'll shrug and postpone EU participation until my company is able to afford the extra cost.


>Why should foreign companies have to comply with these policies anyway?

Because they want revenue from EU citizens? Should a car company from China have to comply to US safety regulations when selling cars to US citizens?

>GDPR compliance has already had a negative impact on web UX.

Nah. I've switched off tracking on every website I use often via the popups and I've noticed much faster loading. Imo GDPR has made the web experience better.


> Should a car company from China have to comply to US safety regulations when selling cars to US citizens?

In your example, the car company is implicitly selling to a foreign country. When it comes to software/websites, a user from a foreign country is incidentally served rather than implicitly.


The websites are profiting off the visitors no matter what country they're in. If they don't want to follow the laws then block the country.


So everyone who hosts a website has the obligation to read up on the legality of that particular website for all countries in the world, and block accordingly?

That doesn’t seem reasonable to me.


Uh...yes? You think you can just open a business in country x, break their laws, then shrug your shoulders and say "Well it's legal where I'm from"


Which part of the ip is hard to decode? If you don't like how a country's laws are shaped, then stop selling there. You can't have your pie and eat it too. Either you obey the market laws and sell or you don't. If someone is using a VPN to get around your geo ban, then I think that's the user's implicit choice.


Why should the onus of blocking content in some faraway country be on the company publishing it? If you don't want your country's citizens to have access to something, well then, time for a Great Firewall.


>If you don't want your country's citizens to have access to something, well then, time for a Great Firewall.

It's not the EU who wants to ban access to something. It's the provider who wants to benefit financially from selling that product( targeted ads) without having to comply to the laws of the country that the selling happens. There is no other market that you get to do that. Why should your web page be different?


IP addresses aren't country codes, in the same way that phone numbers aren't permanent unique identifiers. If you block IP ranges, you'll let some European users through, and block some non-European users.

Is "at least we tried"-style blocking good enough?


>Is "at least we tried"-style blocking good enough?

Yea exactly. In absence of a mechanism to block users the discussion of who gets to police who is worthwhile. But if a company chooses not to comply with GDPR and at the same time doesn't utilize any available mechanism to block EU users then there is definitely intentional ignorance on their part.


> Because they want revenue from EU citizens?

First of all not all websites make money.

Secondly, monetizing the EU is a step that usually occurs very late into the life of a startup. Startups almost always monetize the US first.

So if you are a company that owns a website that doesn't make money from the EU and the EU comes up with regulations that adds thousands of dollars in costs and hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential liability to your business, the obvious and easiest solution is to simply shut them off.

We have seen this occur for GDPR and I am confident it will occur for this legislation as well.


>Secondly, monetizing the EU is a step that usually occurs very late into the life of a startup. Startups almost always monetize the US first.

It's not a matter of what the founder/CEO of a startup chooses here. I will often open links from e.g. New York Times or other US news sites because something happened in New York or there's an interesting opinion piece that I want to read. These sites are profiting from my clicks so they have to obey the EU laws. If it was impossible for them to determine that I'm an EU citizen then it's a different story but an geo ban is trivial.


Or - they could just make money off you, and ignore what the EU wants!

Ultimately the EU's only recourse in things like this is to either convince the USA to act as its enforcer, or to set up a Great Firewall to stop you browsing to the NYT.


Or the EU could declare that business with NYT means you can't do business in the EU. Which would probably hurt a bit if ad networks jump off (I doubt Google wants to deal with this).

There are more than two options there, many more.


> It's not a matter of what the founder/CEO of a startup chooses here. I will often open links from e.g. New York Times or other US news sites because something happened in New York or there's an interesting opinion piece that I want to read. These sites are profiting from my clicks so they have to obey the EU laws

Ok, I don't think you understand how ads work. Your clicks don't make a website money if they are not selling ads in your country. The New York Times is not a startup so your point is irrelevant.

edit: if you are not aware that different countries have different ads markets your probably shouldn't have an opinion on GDPR.


> First of all not all websites make money.

If they don't make money, then why would they need to collect and share data about their users? If they don't collect and share, then they don't need to make any privacy notifications, so it doesn't impact UX.


> If they don't make money, then why would they need to collect and share data about their users?

If you've ever developed a website you should absolutely know why you might need to collect and share data. Google analytics is considered sharing btw.


Perhaps I wasn't explicit, but by data I mean personal data, which is what GDPR is all about. While the desire to collect general statistics about site usage is obvious, I still do not see any reason to collect personal data.


Welcome to what the rest of the world has been experiencing under the US hegemony for the past 3 decades. Since we are not all operating under the same authority, and so we don't have anyone to appeal to for a final answer when we disagree, relations between nation's and their companies have been a matter of practicality rather than ethics. If you can silo off the EU feel free, but most companies won't voluntarily give up access to the largest economy in the known universe if they can find any way at all you can mitigate the local regulations


> If you can silo off the EU feel free, but most companies won't voluntarily give up access to the largest economy in the known universe

What metric are you using because wikipedia disagrees with you: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(nomi...


I was going off articles like https://www.businessinsider.com/charts-eu-economy-is-bigger-...

However, when I was just looking it up now to find evidence for you I found various sources saying the US, China, or the EU was the largest so now I am not sure


How does that follow?

The US does regulate domestic internet firms from time to time like with COPPA. But my daily internet experience is by and large left alone by Congress.

Whereas I have to dismiss annoying cookie popups every few hours thanks to the EU. Somehow I prefer Congress.


"We"?

Who are you addressing? Some of us are currently in the EU.


>Who are you addressing? Some of us are currently in the EU.

The one country largely responsible for the invention of the internet.


Forgive me. I didn't realise I was intruding on a private conversation.


This is just nationalistic jingoism...

As but one (or, actually: thousands) of data points in evidence: If your idea was workable, there'd be some among the tech companies both large and small would have implemented it.


EU builds a good reputation after setting a good standard with GDPR, some politicians started talking about copying it which made me happy. Now I'm scared again wondering what would happen if they go through with this and politicians everywhere start copying it.


Good reputation for what? Government interference in the free web? GDPR was just the first step. Open your eyes.


Honestly curious what definition of "free" you're using here? Are you saying that anything moving away from uncontrolled anarchy is cutting away freedom and we therefore shouldn't do that?

The government forbids you to make a company spying in people bathrooms and sell the pictures, would you say that's interference in your free life as well?


I don't want to put words in openbasic's mouth, but here I go anyway:

>what definition of "free" you're using here

Free as in relatively unencumbered by government regulation. I think it's fair to say based off his "GDPR was just the first step" comment that he views increased government control of the internet as the axis along which the freedom he is referring to is measured.

>Are you saying that anything moving away from uncontrolled anarchy is cutting away freedom..

I take that as a given. Anarchy is the state in which people are unconstrained, and are thus maximally free. Anything short of anarchy implies that there is something limiting people's choices.

>...and we therefore shouldn't do that?

Isn't this basically the entire issue with governments? We give up freedoms in exchange for other benefits. Entire political philosophies devote their energy to the question of how much freedom we should exchange.

>The government forbids you to make a company spying in people bathrooms and sell the pictures, would you say that's interference in your free life as well?

Do you really think that openbasic is taking this EU move as a chance to advocate for total anarchy? Or is it more likely that they disagree with this freedom/benefits trade-off and you are strawmanning?


>Free as in relatively unencumbered by government regulation. I think it's fair to say based off his "GDPR was just the first step" comment that he views increased government control of the internet as the axis along which the freedom he is referring to is measured.

Freedom in the US and Freedom in the EU are differently defined, in part because of history and culture.

The GDPR takes away some "freedoms to", but, for example, it gives me "freedom from tracking without consent" and "freedom from having my data eternally stored by a third party"/"freedom from having my data owned by a third party", which I think of as valuable freedoms to have.


Ah, I think your comment made clear to me where my confusion stems from.

I think the problem is that there are actually two meanings for "free" used in this discussion, right?

One is "free" as a positive descriptor of a good society, comparable with words like "equal" etc.

The second one is more like ..."technical" freedom maybe? Total anarchy would be the state of maximum freedom by this definition.

Most people probably desire maximal freedom by the first definition but not the second. And to achieve the first kind (free to live my life like I want for example) the government or some other instance has to cut away freedom from the second definition (forbiding me to prevent other people too live their way, using the same example). So the discussion should rather focus on how much the government shall cut off the second king, because speaking of freedom as a onedimensional scale is obviously confusing - do you agree with that?


Government interference which requires websites to inform users about collected data, therefore improving freedom of those users by giving them control over their data.


Ah, that peculiarly American sentiment where the word "government" is always followed by "interference" and never by "protection" or similar.


We all have our own strengths and weaknesses.


Succinct! Great reply.


GDPR is a disaster. Look at those websites, now after cookie disclaimers you have popups with "privacy" options. I don't see how they ever built good rep.


What's with all the comments supporting censorship all of sudden? Every social media site now has hordes of "people" defending censorship. Is it just more european users on social media now? Or is it just government funded trolling? I just don't get it.

Saudi arabia just declared online satire as a cybercrime punishable up to 5 years in prison.

https://www.france24.com/en/20180904-saudi-arabia-declares-o...

We know how much china and russia loves censorship. And of course europe has a long tradition of censorship.

As americans, we had long hoped that the world would join us and embrace freedom, but it looks more and more like we are forced to join them.

I'd rather keep our freedom and separate the internet into "intranets". There is no european or saudi or chinese or russian websites or tech I need. Let the world have their backwards censorship and lets hold onto our freedom.

If we have to cater to everyone's sensitivities, than that is a race to the lowest common denominator. That means we have no freedom at all.


For real? I was with you until you started trying to sell me the US a good example - if your freedom is so exceptional why...

...do you have an abyssimal rate of reintegration of ex-prisoners to literally every other Western country?

...do you have a president who actively recommends violence against journalists?

...is an absolute majority of your news stations owned by one mega-corp?

But we don't even have to go there. It's even in your comment:

You are in the most free country, so the best path is to cut the freedom to communicate globally?

Of course, you're writing this from your US-made phone, no parts from China, no ressources from Africa/Middle East. It was delivered by foot I guess, since who needs cars (crappy German engineering)? It's also impressing how you write stuff in HackerNews without even needing THE INTERNET (filthy Brits)!

I actually believe that a lot of problem would be long solved if people would spend less time convincing themself how superior their random place of birth is!


You read a lot into my comment that simply wasn't there. By freedom I was talking about freedom of speech.

> ...do you have an abyssimal rate of reintegration of ex-prisoners to literally every other Western country?

What does this have to do with freedom of speech and censorship online?

> ...do you have a president who actively recommends violence against journalists?

Criticism isn't violence. Stop it.

> ...is an absolute majority of your news stations owned by one mega-corp?

I don't know? Should we have 1 state sponsored news company like the BBC or Xinhua that dominates media? Also, what does this have to do with freedom of speech?

> You are in the most free country, so the best path is to cut the freedom to communicate globally?

No. I said we should protect freedom of speech. In other words, we should communicate globally on our terms, not on censored european, chinese or saudi terms.

> You are in the most free country, so the best path is to cut the freedom to communicate globally?...

Did I say I was against trade?

> needing THE INTERNET (filthy Brits)!

The brits didn't invent the internet. You would think that someone on HN would know the difference between the internet and the web. And even the world wide web was partly invented by a brit. Feel free to look up who invented the "hypertext" in hypertext protocol. Can I ask if you are a journalist or work in the news/media industry? It's obvious you aren't from the tech world.

The US has freedom of speech like no other in the world. If you disagree, then go look at the list of speech you could get arrested for in europe, russia, china, saudi arabia. And compare that to the US. Not sure why you had to bring in trade, prison, US nationalism and a poor understanding of the history of the internet into this. None of that has anything to do with free speech and censorship. I certainly don't think the US is the great at everything. But we certainly do free speech well.


>The US has freedom of speech like no other in the world.

The fundamental communication issue there is that the EU is not the US, not culturally or in history. Freedom, and as a consequence, Freedom of Speech, are defined different here. Or in some cases you have Freedom of Opinion not Freedom of Speech.

People in Europe have simply agreed that in polite and free society, certain speech is not desirable and corrodes the fundamentals of our democratic process and values.

People in the US think that all speed is allowed or else you corrode the fundamentals of their democratic process and values.

Both opinions are valid. But people in the EU will think that the US isn't doing free speech well and people in the US will think the EU isn't doing free speech well. Ultimately, neither of those is the objectively right way to do freedom because there is none.


Please understand that for many of us in the EU, freedom of speech as understood and implemented by Americans is not something desirable.

Based solely on my personal experience, most of the people are actually happy on how censorship is handled by our institutions. I've never felt restricted in expressing my opinion in whichever topic we are discussing, and I am actually happy that people preaching racist ideologies (that have cost us a lot in the past) find some obstacles in their way.

I personally don't consider your freedom of speech as inherently superior or the obvious step into progress. As many things in life, it has its pros and cons. Would you deem as "progress" all those echo chambers on the internet where people find support for ideologies that have cost millions of lives in the past?


>I've never felt restricted in expressing my opinion in whichever topic we are discussing

Of course, if you belong to a mainstream ideology...


In some cases I do, in others I don't. I've never encounter censorship in either of those. Besides, I had some pretty interesting discussions with people expressing ideas which did not agree with my thoughts. If, as you said, I would be on the "mainstream" side, they would have been censored. That did not happen.


[flagged]


> The difference between the US and Europe is that US loves freedom and europe doesn't This is absurd. Every country, including the US, has some restrictions. The fact that we put the boundaries in a different place doesn't mean that we don't love our freedom.

>Isn't the fact that we didn't have a nazi germany, soviet union or a fascist italy proof enough? No, it is not. Other countries in Europe following similar censorship policies have not experienced such regimes. Besides, although there is a strong relation between those regimes and censorship, there were plenty of others things happening that makes you wonder if things would not have happened anyway even with American free speech.

Your line of reasoning can be applied to attribute several of the historical and recent problems in the USA to your execution of free speech. Furthermore, even in the USA you have restrictions when voicing your opinion, just like in Europe.


I think the economic climate is worsening, there's much polarization which encourages censorship. Probably also gov't funded and big IP holder lobbying. The European officials act just like concerned grandparents, trying to censor selectively or regulate social media companies to self censor. Russia and China is no surprise.


So what can we, as citizens, do to get the watered-down, "compromise" version of the bill that's still much worse than current laws, but a bit better than this travesty?


The WWW is fundamentally broken at this point, perhaps this legislation will completely destroy it and kickstart some other form of network.


The EU needs to go.


Unfortunately, there isn’t a vibrant free web. Wikipedia is about the only major non-ad supported website that normal people visit. Most user content is probably on Facebook or Medium. Most breaking news is first available on twitter. Even independent websites, most likely have Google analytics and Google ads.

From a European point of view, the current copyright situation is just a wealth transfer from European companies who have the copyrights, to American advertising companies.


Where you think most content is, or where most content actually is, should have nothing to do with laws targeting all content. To say that there isn't a vibrant free web and counter with what is the majority makes me think you meant to say that a vibrant free web isn't the majority instead of completely, 100% non-existent. Lots of us have sites and stuff out here, and once again the EU is only looking at one big goose to make laws, albeit well intentioned, that will affect the rest of us here in the gander. Always more laws, always more rules, always unintended consequences and lax enforcement; the wise just ignore these governments crying wolf again.


Funny how the "big bad American companies" will be the only ones capable of following the draconian laws on filtering and blocking content.

If anything they will make more money, not less.

Not to mention the absurdity of the link tax, I'm thinking that could be the last nail on the coffin of traditional media.


Taxing ads seems like a better intervention than what is proposed.


But ads are taxed since ad based revenue is subject to tax.


OP is clearly talking about a targeted tax to lower profit margins on ads in order to incentivize developing other monetization schemes.


My thought exactly. If there is a `vibrant free web`, I can't see it.


Look at this very site. People link here a lot, quote here a lot, and sometimes say controversial things here.

If every submission had to be pre-moderated, and royalty paid for every substantial quotation, this site would be very different, and definitely less vibrant and free.


If every submission had to be checked by a copyright cop first this site wouldn't exist. Message boards in general wouldn't exist. It would take way too much manpower to run, especially if you have to worry about things like song lyrics in the post and handling multiple languages.


Quoting TFA:

«Article 13; which seeks to shift liability for platform users’ copyright infringements onto the platforms themselves — and which critics contend will therefore push them towards creating upload filters to monitor all content before it’s posted»

Emphasis mine.


> Wikipedia is about the only major non-ad supported website that normal people visit.

Which costs $69 million per year to operate, has 300+ employees and requires six million donations. Your example also isn't free.

> Most user content is probably on Facebook or Medium

Medium is less than 1% the size of Wordpress, both in terms of traffic and amount of content. The majority of all content on Wordpress sites is ad free.

The consumer is paying for all of it in one manner or another. If it's a donation, it's coming out of your pocket. If it's an ad, it's data about you being monetized. There is no such thing as free if you're talking about something the size of Wikipedia or similar services.


I'm not sure what you're implying, but I would say that $69 million per year is incredibly small compared to the amazing benefit that Wikipedia provides the world. Also, this money comes out of the pockets of people like myself who are happy to sponsor it for everyone else. I personally love this patronage model and would be happy to sponsor an ad-free open-access newspaper in a similar way, if I found one that I had confidence in.


That's a silly way to value Wikipedia IMO.

Fire is useful, so everyone who uses fire should pay a company some money? No, that's clearly mad. No matter how useful it is if it's poorly optimised or over costly then we should do better, not settle because it's already a great RoI.


Your analogy is silly. Fire is free to make (discounting the extremely little time/effort to make it). Hosting an online encyclopedia with low latency, moderation, etc is not.


Fire costs resources and produces costly environmental impacts, in many of the ways we make it it's an engineering marvel (ICE for example), but yeah it's not the greatest analogy.


There should be a better mechanism for funding sites like Wikipedia that provide what is effectively a global, common, public good. Perhaps a budget from the UN or something should be set aside for funding projects like Wikimedia, Archive.org, etc.

It’s a bit ridiculous that something so important to so many people relies on donations from individuals.


One of the problems with that model is it centralizes power in one organization which is subject to the whims of its members. I’d argue that that might guarantee less stability than the current system.

Perhaps a large endowment, like private universities, could work? Enough money to let them invest in a diversified portfolio and run their sites off of the profits.


Why is it ridiculous? Wikipedia really isn't that expensive to run and clearly they have no problem raising the money. Funding based on volunteer donations seems a very equitable and reasonable way to fund something like Wikipedia - if it were to become totally useless for some reason people would stop donating, and that's good. If it was funded by the UN it'd become a zombie organisation that could never die even if it became irrelevant.

If anything Wikipedia is an example of the opposite problem - a charity that is too successful. Do you really think 300 people are needed to maintain the Wikipedia servers and software? No, of course not, the Wikimedia organisation has grown massively over time and almost all of those staff are working on things the average Wikipedia donator wouldn't even recognise.

I stopped donating to Wikipedia a long time ago, because it was clear that their fund-raising drives had stopped being connected to what the organisation actually needed to perform its mission and simply become a way to channel people's love for the work they had themselves produced together into a giant and very expensive party for a self-important management class.


Something like what the Brave browser is trying to do with crypto could be the answer but then again it's "crypto".


Why? Is Wikipedia in danger of going bust?


Wikipedia is contributing to the slow death of what could have been, and almost was, a web of independent pages maintained by individuals and groups. I have had a recurring experience of skimming a Wikipedia article, only to get the feeling that the text is familiar - then tracking it down to the book or article that it was lifted from, without attribution. If a "vibrant free web" means routine copyright theft committed by a homogenizing, centralized collective established as some kind of anonymous authority, I can do without it.



Nearly 2000 words on how I can police their website for them? No, thanks. If they took this problem seriously they would build a system to catch copy-paste before it went live on their site.


There is no 'them'. The Wikipedia community comprises everyone who wants to participate. WMF is small in comparison.


Sure, the magical internet gnomes can know what every book in the world contains and detect copy paste like that.

I would expect to read such an uninformed comment on Fox News comment section.


I think they already have such systems via bots, but they don't block or undo things automatically because I assume it's hard to know programmatically the licence of things that are posted on the Internet.


It it is hard, that they should not run wikipedia.


Kinda hard like the lawers are still after years trying to figure out the issue between Oracle and Google, Apple and Samsung... It's a really hard legal issue, expecting it to be easy for a computer to solve. It's naive.


That is crazy. Even systems like ContentID are full of flaws.


Wikipedia should verify the copyright before allowing changes. It should not be the publishers responsibility to enforce the copyright. Wikipedia should be responsible because they decided they wanted to allow anyone to edit. They should hire moderators, and if they cannot moderate, they should not run a platform of theft.


> It should not be the publishers responsibility to enforce the copyright.

Why not?

Copyright is an unnatural right created in the name of encouraging creative output; if the person who owns the rights to control copying a work don’t enforce it, why should the rest of us do it for them?


Don't you have a bloom filter for all content ever created with which you can compare the content?


How can I verify that your post is not a violation of copyright? Did you crib it from somewhere?

Maybe we should shift the burden of proof on you? Can you prove that you are not violating copyright with your post? If you can't do it, how on earth can Wikipedia do it?

In the Soviet Union, this was called "Prove that you are not a camel."


People who think like this should really chill the fuck out. Ownership of thoughts and ideas is pathetic at best, if you don't want it shared, keep it to yourself.

But nooo, "I want everyone to hear me and I want them to know it was me who said it. Me me me. I'm important, I want to feel like it". Get the fuck over it.

And if you want to make money off of it, there are plenty of much better ways besides braindead ads. GDPR seems to pander a bit too much to carebears.


You realise GDPR is basically the right of keeping things you don't want to be shared to yourself?

And sources are not for the carebears. I mean, too, but they wouldn't be enforced if that would be the only point. It is so that you and I can know where to go to verify or falsify a claim. What would be your alternative proposal?

Ok, let's just give every piece of published source a numeric code or something so we can sort and search and refer too it.

Ok, nobody cares. Let's use the name of the author instead so he has interest that what he says is true and get's used truthfully. Boom, there you have the idea of copyright (in an idealised form)


In the UK, what you’re describing — The right to be identified as the creator of work — would be called a “moral right” rather than a “copyright”.

I literally only know this because my first job contract, my university industrial year, signed that right away for the work I did there.


surely then, all forums should "verify the copyright" of posts before they are accepted. all email providers should screen all the mails users send.


There's actually an, at least arguable, point in your first sentence before you get to the copyright infringement. And there's a whole round-robin of content (or just "facts") being lifted from Wikipedia to put on other sites and from other sites to be put on Wikipedia that's often hard to sort out.

There is a broader point that centralization of content being found by search engines isn't ideal--even if Wikipedia were more pristine than it is a lot of the time.


You're right twice. But when I see things on Wikipedia lifted from textbooks published before there was Wikipedia it's not hard to sort out.

As to your second point, I think the combined effect of Wikipedia and Google's popularity-based search ranking is hurting the web. It's not a conspiracy, just a result of the system.




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