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The EU Copyright Directive: What Redditors in Europe Need to Know (redditblog.com)
315 points by DyslexicAtheist 14 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 275 comments



If Reddit and other similar sites want to make a point, a banner won't be enough. They need to do the unthinkable: Block all access from the EU.

If the legislation as written is going to make it impossible to do business in the region, then that's what these companies are facing eventually anyways. This sucks for them, sucks for users, sucks for everyone. So let's have a taste of what that looks like. A preview.

Reddit, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, Instagram, TwitchTV, etc. All the websites where the content is made by users. As a group, shut down for 24 hours within the EU, instead displaying a simple page explaining the problem and what can do done about it.

Until they're willing to do that, the users don't know or care what they're talking about. Legislators are relying on a population who is too distracted to care what they're doing. Well, fine, let's take away the distractions.


I live in the EU and I fully support this. Youtube should block all access from EU, as well as Reddit and others. The legislation is insane.

> Youtube should block all access from EU

Google already has upload filters[1]. They do this voluntarily.

[1] https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2797370?hl=en


nothing would be lost, i visit reddit for some subredits but if it gets blocked i can do what i did before reddit and go back to forums.

Most of those forums are now dead because of Reddit and FB.

There used to be a thing called Usenet but since the users couldn’t be monitized and sold for profit it fell prey to market forces. And there’s slways irc.

It couldn't be monetized, true, but the way I remember it netnews was still supported in the US until it became too politically hot to handle. See this ancient article for ex, https://mashable.com/2008/06/10/child-porn-usenet/

I ran an ISP in Oklahoma. I eventually moved our usenet to a hosted news server because the DA at the time was seizing hardware in the state.

IRC, like social networks, is slways tough to rank due to lack of structured data. I don't believe Usenet suffered this proform.

Re: Facebook I agree it has hurt, nay scourged, the Web—that's undeniable—but that has also created room to innovate how we share content on the surface web.

I enjoyed YouTube until I tested the effectiveness of ContentID and was banned under their ToS. May they burn in hell under the new EU regs.


Actually the new regs ensure that only companies with the resources of YouTube will survive.

> but since the users couldn’t be monitized and sold for profit it fell prey to market forces

but isn't being monetized and sold for profit also market forces?


Wouldn't the forums have the same problem...

They're even smaller, with less resources.. wouldn't they have even more incentive to block the EU?


No, why would they, especially if they aren't based in the EU? You don't have to worry about them throwing you in jail or fining your little forum. In the worst case, someone might report you and you'll get a warning. At that point you can choose to ignore it, block EU countries or try to comply.

If they're not for profit, the regulation won't cover them as I read it. Not will it cover them if they make money but have under 250 employees and turnover under €50M.

If I were in a position to comply I think I would be very happy about that.

Wouldn't the same law also apply to forums?

An honest question: Did you read the relevant text of the directive or is your opinion based only on the second-hand interpretations?

I doubt most of those people who've bought into the notion that small businesses like Reddit and nonprofit services like Wikipedia would be affected have read the relevant text, considering the text specifically says nonprofits and small businesses are exempt [1] from the rules of Article 13 (the takedown one).

I'm also puzzled by the people saying it's difficult to comprehend. The hardest part is mentally joining the diffs in amendments to the static copy before a document is updated. EU legislation is not nearly as weasely as US, and likes to use precise terms it defines earlier in the document. Such is the case with the terms 'information society service' and 'online content sharing service provider' [2], whose exact definitions are relevant.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18488844 [2] search for 'Amendment 150' in http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&langua...


Reddit is not a “small business” anymore, it hasn’t been one for quite some time now. Let alone the fact that it’s the fourth most visited website in the United States, it’s now mentioned almost everywhere, from SEC press releases, The Economist articles or “Cahiers du Cinema” movie reviews (the last one really puzzled me as the current batch of Cahiers du Cinema writers are pretty anti-US and anti-technology).

EU has a proper definition of what a small business is:

> SMEs are defined by the European Commission as having less than 250 persons employed. They should also have an annual turnover of up to EUR 50 million, or a balance sheet total of no more than EUR 43 million (Commission Recommendation of 6 May 2003). These definitions are important when assessing which enterprises may benefit from EU funding programmes aimed at promoting SMEs, as well as in relation to certain policies such as SME-specific competition rules.

https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/structural-business-statis...


Am on mobile and I’m too lazy to link, but I’ve found stories about Reddit having already reached $100 million in yearly turnover, which means that they’re no longer seen as a SME based on the second part of your post.

Yes. But the term is not ambiguous as the parent seemed to indicate.

According to Wikipedia Reddit had 230 employees 2017, so they are scratching the threshold or are already over it.

...and suddenly Reddit falls to 249 employees...

wikipedia is nonprofit so it is not affected.

And the EU didn't apply SME carve outs to the GDPR, really showing how much of a big company regulation lock in it was.

If you're tiny you get out of a few GDPR regulations, like having a data protection officer. Also the GDPR mostly calls for reasonable and appropriate measures, which are terms that scale with company size (measures reasonable for a hairdressing salon are not appropriate for a fortune 500).

Making even further cutouts for SMEs seems unreasonable, after all the individual citzen has similar impact from a data breach in a medium sized company compared to a data breach in a large enterprise.


To add to my earlier, as a personal note, this is frustrating to me, because the text is clearly worded to target the likes of Google and YouTube without calling them out by name, while exempting pretty much all of academia, hobbyist sites, small businesses, intranets, and content platforms that don't actively promote and significantly profit off of their collection and curation of low-effort, low-remix, non-OC, verbatim reposts of someone else's copyrighted content.

Yet, through the lobbying of interested parties the message becomes deliberately muddled. Sites like Reddit spread the FUD because were it not for their status as a small enterprise, the letter of the law could threaten their business model of aggregating large amounts of user-submitted content and profiting off of ads surfaced adjacent to them -- ironically, the old Reddit before ads would likely be exempt entirely. They see this law as an existential threat and lobby against it; this I can understand.

What puzzles me is parties like the EFF and Wikimedia Foundation spreading the FUD. Wikimedia would clearly be exempt. What gives?


Hi, I'm Danny O'Brien -- I work at EFF on Article 13.

So we talk a little a bit about this earlier this week: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2018/11/yes-eus-new-copyrightd...

I've mentioned this in Hacker News threads before, but here are the few things to bare in mind.

Firstly, the SME exemption (as well as the specific exceptions for Wikipedia and Github) was put in at the last moment in an attempt to win enough votes to get the Directive through the plenary following widespread opposition. It only exists in the European Parliament text, which is currently being negotiated with the original Council text. The news from the trilogues is that there's lots of lobbying to get it removed.

The exemptions sound good for Github and Wikipedia on paper: but Github and Wikipedia are the services that currently exist, and have been effectively grandparented in. It doesn't speak for all the other potential services that we can't describe, because they don't exist yet -- and won't exist if there's a liability regime that would have stopped Github and Wikipedia in their tracks if it had written before.

Thirdly, we know from experience that these exemptions don't work. In the European Parliament text, we have a blanket liability regime, which means that rightsholders can sue you, or your provider, by default. You can argue back, "oh it's okay, we're covered by this exemption", but you have to prove that you're really covered by the exemption -- and the expression of that exemption in each of the 28 implementations of the Directive in the member states. It creates a default of liability, and then fences of a small section of the Internet where you may be protected.

In the mean time, you -- as a person who hasn't paid up for a licensing arrangement with the major rightsholders -- will be on the receiving end of repeated orders to take down content, with the understanding if you don't successfully argue against that exemption, or the moment you cross that SME line, you'll be liable to an unbounded extent.

Why would you take that risk? How could you protect yourself against that risk?

Also note that many of these exemptions are expressed in the Recitals, which merely indicate the spirit of the law, the specific rules for transposition in the Articles themselves. Generally speaking, if you are threat-modelling new law, you might as well ignore the Recitals, because there is a substantial lobbying and legal community who have a big financial incentive to guide lawmakers, and deploy lawsuits in such a way as to sideline those non-binding commitments.

The exemption language was an attempt by lawmakers taken aback by the force of the opposition to Article 13 and 11, to both win over votes in the Parliament, and stop GitHub, Wikimedia and its users from complaining. The reason why Github, and Wikimedia and their users continue to complain is that they don't believe they can act in the future as though these exemptions will really work for them — and they have an interest in maintaining the rest of the Internet ecosystem, which will be still left out in the cold.

Remember too, that almost every platform we use to communicate online has been accused (and sued) as a method to encourage infringement. The music industry attempted to sue the MP3 player out of existence as an infringing device (https://www.zdnet.com/article/stop-the-music-diamond-multime... ), the movie industry sued YouTube claiming that it was primarily a device for piracy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viacom_International_Inc._v._Y....


^ This should be the top comment. Thank you for the excellent summary, and for fighting the good fight!

Are there really specific exceptions for Wikipedia and Github? How does that work? They can't be named explicitly in the law, surely?

The relevant quote from this version [1] is:

>"The definition of online content sharing service providers under this Directive does not cover microenterprises and small sized enterprises within the meaning of Title I of the Annex to Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EC and service providers that act 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 right holders concerned, such as educational or scientific repositories. 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."

[1] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=TA&langua...


> online services where the content is uploaded with the authorisation of all right holders concerned,

Does the service trust the uploader about this? There will inevitably be disputes about that self declaration.

It's also impossible to know which are all the rightholder of a piece of content. There might always be one more making a claim later on. Any system, automated or manual, is going to have many false positives and negatives.

On the other side, this system is already in place for traditional media. It's dealt with litigation. Again, no need to create special legislation for the internet. The blame must be passed over to the content creator, not to the distributor. This means that the creator must be identifiable, to know who to sue.

However this means that the supposed rightholder is going to automatically sue a zillion of people, with false negatives. This is unfair. I propose that in case of false negatives they lose the right on the content.

An example.

It's May and they play the final of the Champions League (this is about the EU). People will post the highlights. The rightholder will manually identify some hundreds of those videos, sue the uploaders and win. This will teach people not to upload those kind of videos next time. But if they sue a guy because they mistake him playing with friends as the Champions-League final, they'll lose all the rights on it. They'll be very careful about who to sue, people will be careful about what they upload, I won't see highlights anymore on YouTube but I can live with that. It seems fair for everybody.

The part about losing the rights is not going to happen though so I wasted your time, sorry.


Wow. That doesn't even make sense: "service providers that act 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 right holders"

Are they really assuming all online encyclopaedias are non-commercial?


Since Github is now part of Microsoft ... it's kind of hard to see them as SMEs, based upon the text of the articles.

> Why would you take that risk? How could you protect yourself against that risk?

Host only original content of which you or your registered users are the declared copyright holders.

Flickr, Smugmug and other enthusiast photo gallery sites seem to have walked this line quite successfully. Imgur and its ilk haven't because they've never really had a reason to care. Now they do.

So YouTube wouldn't be the massive entity it is now if it were truly YouTube and forbade uploading of any derived content. But perhaps that would be better.

MP3 sites might be more like SoundCloud with original content.

I find it difficult to be moved by the protests of people who just want to post other people's creations. Link to it, don't copy it.


> Host only original content of which you or your registered users are the declared copyright holders.

And what magic spell do you expect publishers to cast to distinguish the two when you allow users to post content? Do you have the faintest idea how absurd what you're saying is?


> Host only original content of which you or your registered users are the declared copyright holders.

How would a company go about being certain of this, do you think? I can't think of a way to do it with uploaded content that doesn't have a nasty error rate. Obviously it becomes trivial if you take the Netflix approach and source everything from the owners directly, which means working only with the biggest providers who have legal departments and such. With restrictions like this, even SoundCloud can't exist - almost everything on there is a derived work!

Have I missed something? Can you help me understand how a site can be certain it hosts only original or otherwise authorized content without taking a Netflix-type approach? I would love to be wrong, and for there to be an easy, cost-efficient approach that offers a suitably low error rate and enables protecting content creators while preventing abuses.


> Host only original content of which you or your registered users are the declared copyright holders.

Good luck proving what copyright everything that your users upload has. Such systems cost billions of dollars to develop and are prone to abuse.

> it were truly YouTube and forbade uploading of any derived content

Most content is in some way derived. Forbidding such things would effectively eliminate gaming channels, political channels, music channels, review channels, podcasts etc.

> MP3 sites might be more like SoundCloud

You do realize the RIAA is not particularly happy about SoundCloud either, right? And much content on there can still be described as 'derived'.

> I find it difficult to be moved by the protests of people who just want to post other people's creations.

I find it difficult to be moved by copyright maximalists, who used other people's work to get where thy are, but now insist that they should profit from a piece of work 70+ years after the author is dead.


No memes = no culture.

I am opposed, and will remain so, until such time as the big players either demonstrate real harm, or recognize the many benefits they get.

And they do benefit significantly.

What they claim is always the same,"billions lost", yet fail ti explain where all that money actually comes from.

Entertainment dollars for the vast majority are largely fixed. There aren't those dollars actually out there.

What I find particularly onerous is the idea of not actually being able to put material out there intended to be shared freely. Did that make it into this mess?


It's not just about hosting. It's about linking, too.

> the text is clearly worded to target the likes of Google and YouTube without calling them out by name

Google and YouTube already do this via ContentID, a system which only abuses small time creators. I don't see how expanding this EU-wide helps small businesses. Do you?

> What gives?

Room for abuse? Who do you think pushed for this? It wasn't your friendly neighborhood photographer. It was the RIAA/MPA etc. Just look at the DMCA.

> What puzzles me is parties like the EFF and Wikimedia Foundation spreading the FUD

What puzzles me is why would anyone who is not a dinosaur gatekeeper be for this?


> What puzzles me is parties like the EFF and Wikimedia Foundation spreading the FUD. Wikimedia would clearly be exempt. What gives?

I think they're making a moral or equality standing. If it's wrong for one company to do something just because they're large, why is it ok for another org to do the same just because they're "small"? And what do small companies strive to be? Usually bigger companies. The law doesn't make sense to begin with. By exempting smaller entities, they're basically saying it's not "really" illegal and it's more of just a free money grab to take from larger producers. You basically said it yourself when you said it's "clearly worded to target the likes of Google and YouTube without calling them out by name". And why are they "targeted???" Because they have deep pockets, and that's it. This has nothing to actually do with copyright other than a subjective means to go after some companies while exempting others. It's either wrong, or it's not. The size shouldn't come into play.


To compensate for all the other advantages huge companies have over small ones.

> the text is clearly worded to target the likes of Google and YouTube without calling them out by name

Have you read the text? Nowhere does it target only the likes of Alphabet (Google and YouTube). The exemption threshold for small companies (50m revenue, 43m balance sheet, or 250 headcount) is orders of magnitude below Alphabet's revenue and headcount. Sure, hobbyists and truly small companies are exempt, but the threshold is so low that far far more companies than just the tech giants will be affected.


Surely you can recognize targeting hosts of small business's content and traffic sources is essentially targeting small business. I would imagine this only frustrates you because you are not one of those small businesses leveraging the services of larger ones. Intent notwithstanding, who is really going to be harmed? Who is really going to be helped? Are your answers to those just hopes and is it fair for your hopes to affect the rest of the pragmatic internet?

How is Reddit a small business?

They're supposedly under 500 employees, which is the EU threshold for small and medium enterprise. They prominently mention their small business status in their post. It's likely that their assertion is deliberate.

Reddit having under 500 employees is beyond ridiculous.. it might be understandable if they were a honorable company that protected people's privacy, but they're the complete opposite, and they even go out of their way to make it near impossible for 99% of their users to download a video on their site (kinda hypocritical).

If Reddit didn't exist and their traffic was driven to niche forums/websites then you could expect hundreds of thousands of jobs.


So it's great that Reddit exists because now you don't have to have hundreds of thousands of people maintaining these small websites and have hundreds of people maintaining one website.

It would be great if they were a honorable company (ideally a non-profit org) that protected user privacy rather than taking great pride in violating it.

And I don't think it's great that you have one site controlled by an evil company and filled with low quality content/discussion about every niche topic when you could instead visit 2-10 websites about the niche content you care about.


Employee count seems like a really bad way to measure business size. A hardware store business with only a couple of stores could hit 500 and still be virtually unknown to everyone but a business like reddit owns one of the biggest websites in the world with an almost global impact.

If the law so clearly excludes Reddit, why are we reading this blog post? Is your claim that Reddit is confused about the law? Or something else?

The requirements are unreasonable no matter the size of the company. A perfect copyright filter is impossible. No matter how many resources you throw at the problem, content will spill through the cracks.

The directive outlaws content sharing websites, regardless of who's running those websites.


Reddit is not a small business.

This is actually a significant problem with the way many EU directives are written. Wording is often loose, sometimes vague, and subject to considerable interpretation. Perhaps deliberately so.

I second this. Most people did not even dare to read it.

To be fair, it is a really difficult thing to read and comprehend. I've read the whole proposal around May this year, and it is tough. When I did get to the articles 11 and 13, a lot of the stuff people were really warning against wasn't even there.

It was in a reference to another law, already passed years ago and only referenced by its number. So you had to look that up and any references it had, too.

And at the end of it, you're still left with a deep unease that you've probably missed a lot of data and meaning because these things don't seem to be written in a way non-layers can understand.


Google blocked Gema back then and it took almost a decade for it to get solved.

> Reddit ... the websites where the content is made by users.

Except for /r/WorldNews or /r/news or /r/programming or ...

The phenomenon certainly exists where hundreds of people will debate an article without ever reading more than the title and maybe seeing a picture. Sometimes the entire article will be copied into the discussion, even. Whether this phenomenon causes harm and requires correction is unclear.


"Sometimes". Yes, as opposed to "Never".

I won't deny that it have happened, but it's certainly nowhere even close to the norm.


Yes, and take a look at the norm: link to external content. Debate about that content.

Reddit's whole business model requires that other people create and host the content.

There's nothing wrong with that. Bars hire bands to come play, lots of business models revolve around using other people's works. But at what level should royalties come into play? Certainly never isn't the answer. Only the most unhinged reading of the EU legislation thinks it applies immediately at linking.


The norm is to link to external content but I doubt the norm is to click on it. Most people vote based on the title so absolute garbage articles make it to the top that aren't worth clicking and then the new reddit UI makes it much harder to get to the external link and very easy to just jump to the comments.

Arguably the external content is next to worthless to reddit because they could just make the website text and image posts only and nothing would be lost.


You should have replied to my upper level comment, where I was pointing out this phenomenon. At the level you commented, I was agreeing with the other person that this phenomenon, while lamentable, is not the norm. While I have no data to back that up, at the very least it is not the intended or canonical reddit experience.

More to point, I think the phenomenon is somewhat irrelevant to what the EU is trying to achieve, which is what I was alluding to. Even the intended experience of Reddit is to profit off the creations of others without paying royalties. There is obviously arguments to be made on whether that is good or not. The EU seems to believe that it is not just and probably does not believe that moving to a more just approach will not destroy Reddit.


Even better might be to force all the EU into a single thread about the legislation. Then Reddit users can whip other Reddit users into a frenzy, as Reddit does best.

Or it might devolve into political debate with an unhealthy mix of bot generated content and trolls.


So what do we do about big countries that does military and political pressure on smaller countries enforcing their copyright laws? The Pirate Bay comes to mind, as does Kim Dotcom. I'm sure there are more but I'm not that interested in the movie garbage from Hollywood to keep up.

That the EU starts doing copyright law like this is due to pressure and lobbying mainly from USA.


Actually most of the lobbying pressure is coming from big copyright companies inside the EU like record companies and associated groups, "Big Content" companies.

They have already "militarized" copyright enforcement in Germany with GEMA (though not in the Kim DotCom way)


Learning by watching the other big companies.

The actually did that but it disappeared after a few hours https://np.reddit.com/r/europe/comments/9yrbgb/so_this_happe...

Poorly worded. And shouldn't have backed down. If it were me, I'd say something like:

> We're sorry. Due to pending legislation in the European Union Parliament, we will soon be unable to maintain this website for European users. Today, we are testing our block and giving a users a preview of what it's going to look like. We're sorry that this is interrupting your usage- we don't want that to happen either.

> There is still time to prevent this from becoming permanent. Click here to learn more about why this is happening, and click here to contact your MEP to ask them to please help prevent this from happening.

> Again, we are so sorry that we've had to block you today. We hope you'll help us fight to keep the internet open.

But then, I'm Canadian so most of my sentences start with "Sorry".


Is there actually an alternative to sites like Reddit blocking EU users if the new law is passed?

Best I can think of based on what I know about the law is that perhaps links can't be active for EU users until the domain they go to has an agreement with the site and goes onto the whitelist. This would need to apply to both comments and stories, based on my what I know.

Would that work?


The only effect it would have would be polarizing European users against those companies.

Would it? Some, maybe. But it really depends how it's implemented. Take the Canadian approach of starting with "We're Sorry", and explain that this is a test of how things will soon be given pending legislation.

that would be a rash decision. But i would like to see twitter move in that direction: make all tweets copyrighted, and require a fee every time they appear in newspapers.

Copyright is automatic. Tweets are already copyrighted.

I doubt it, you probably give up at least some of your copyright to Twitter, based on their ToS.

right. perhaps they could make it exclusive

Or better, get the IPs of EU parliaments and block them.

I really don’t think we’d be missing much if these websites were shut down. In fact, it might be a good thing.

It might even spur new European based social media companies that aren't full of American politics 90% of the time. To make Reddit useable I essentially have to filter out most of the website.

Also for a long time I've been frustrated with the content policing that American companies enforce on European users. As a German user I have always been confused by the fact that a topless woman is going to get her account closed while some guy with a burning cross in his backyard and a swastika on his forehead can post merrily.

Maybe the result of this is social media in Europe more closely aligned with people's values over here. I've never been a fan of Zuckerberg's 'connect the world' mentality.


Yeah, that's not going to happen.

> If Reddit and other similar sites want to make a point, a banner won't be enough. They need to do the unthinkable: Block all access from the EU.

What they need to do is work together in a unified manner like the media and the politicians have done. Instead, they are bickering and fighting against each other while the journalists and politicians form a unified front against freedom and free speech.

> Legislators are relying on a population who is too distracted to care what they're doing.

Exactly. They rely on a lazy populace and of course relentless anti-tech propaganda from news organizations.


> They need to do the unthinkable: Block all access from the EU.

This is not a solution. This is just allowing beauracrats the power to make us voluntarily erect borders in cyberspace where none are required.

Blocking entire geographic regions is the worst possible response.


Reddit replacing all of Reddit for EU users with a page explaining how to contact their government officials is the only thing that will work. Users won't be bothered for anything less.

A one day blackout was very helpful in stopping the US SOPA proposal. I can imagine the same thing being useful in raising public awareness in Europe.

> Blocking entire geographic regions is the worst possible response.

I agree when it's only on principles (not everyone there is guilty). However, blocking entire geographic regions is entirely reasonable for small businesses unwilling to comply with those rules. I'm glad that governments haven't completely disallowed companies the freedom to choose their regions. I have no doubt this will be attempted at some point via treaty.


Or for some websites, simply ignore the EU regulations.

You can ignore other countries laws. You don't have to bow down to the EU.

Edit I don't get why people hate this, but it is a reality.


> Or for some websites, simply ignore the EU regulations.

They'll be fined millions of not billions. The interest will add up on the fine if they don't pay, then assets will be ceased. This isn't a reasonable way to do business in Europe. Either follow the law or effectively shut down.


lol come and take it. I don’t live in europe and you’ll never be able to enforce any of your fines.

This is the dumbest position a company could possibly take.

Paying ransoms (especially for organisations outside of the respective jurisdiction) isn't?

I guess there sureley will be employees who want to continue traveling to Europe at some point in their lives.

Employees are on the hook for their companies decisions when they are taking a vacation? That doesn't sound right.

But willingly ignoring European laws does?

So an individual employee is on the hook if the company they work at violates European laws?

I don't know the details and decisions of my company, but I guess I shouldn't travel to Europe in that case.


We're not just talking about "violating laws". That happens all the time, mostly accidentally. We're talking about a company that willingly ignored the laws, was sued in Europe, fined millions, doesn't pay, all European assets have been ceased and now operates by "lol come and take it".

Most companies don't have European assets, so yes "lol come and take it" is valid. There are many companies in the world that could explicitly and willfully violate every aspect of European laws and there is nothing that can be done about it. The other post was essentially saying there is no recourse to companies that do not have have European assets.

> there is nothing that can be done about it.

There are multiple things that could be done. The EU could deny entry to employees of the company. They could ask the country of the company to press charges there. Of course the country could also ignore the EU, but than it would risk its good relationship with the EU.


That is insane. Denying entry to someone going on vacation because the higher ups did something the EU arbitrarly disagrees with?

The point is simple, Europe is not the target market for a large portion of the internet.

I didn't downvote you, but I guess the problem they see is that it's not practical for any company that sells products or ads to EU countries.

For most websites outside of the EU that is of no concern. For some reason every website that will never do business there seems to be concerned about the EU regulations. A large portion of the internet will never have to comply.

> A large portion of the internet will never have to comply.

Most sites are out of the scope of the regulation


Even if those that are in scope of the regulation they are not in the jurisdiction, so the regulations can be ignored.

Not if they want to target Europeans.

Again that is my point, most companies don't. The small amount that do will have to. There is a huge amount of companies that will never target Europe. They will never do business or have a presence there. The regulations are irrelevant for them.

I've noticed this persistent attitude that somehow eu regulations are globally applicable, in reality they are not.


A lot of the GDPR hysteria is from sites that are not located in Europe and do not target people from there (HENCE not subject to the regulation; which hasn't helped with all the BS "Unavailable for legal reasons" or similar knee-jerk reactions)

No, your local news site won't get fined by the EU


I'm forgetting the legal terms here, but this is not a direct legislation by the EU, rather, every country "should" individually draft legislation corresponding to it.


> They need to do the unthinkable: Block all access from the EU.

This seems like a deeply cowardly move. The courageous and virtuous move is to simply ignore the law and continue as usual - to challenge the state to do what, if we all unite in support of each other and our basic freedoms, it will be unable to do.


This seems like what folks have been complaining about of late - tech companies ignoring regulations.

There's a difference between taking action to make society irregular (ie, violation regulations) and merely breaking the law. Sometimes the latter is the right thing to do.

I completely agree if they can reasonably risk it. However for those that feel similarly about the expanse, overreach, and unjustness of the GDPR, are they similarly courageous in ignoring the law? If their motives are the exact same as here (i.e. about internet freedom from egregious oversight, not bottom line)? I'd say so in the interest of consistency, many would say not just because they like one imposition on the internet and not the other.

Which aspects of the GDPR do you believe "unjust"?

My comment is about consistency of acceptable response, not about my personal GDPR beliefs. The GDPR has been debated ad nauseam on this board that I don't think a subthread about it here has value.

The problem is that corporations are fundamentally organs of the state. This inevitable authoritarian spiral was entirely predictable at the start of "Web 2.0", as it is a bad technology designed around centralizing third party intermediaries. Unfortunately, the lure of scalable riches caused most to look the other way.

Are you volunteering to pay for the lawyers and any fines?

One thing I don't understand is how you prove your from the EU. I route most of my internet traffic through various VPNs. I'm in the U.S., but am increasingly more often hit with EU specific guidence. Prove I'm from the EU (or US) - you can't.

Why would they need to prove that?

the EU says I owe them 10 trillion dollars. I have no assets in the EU. what next?

You won't be able to enter the EU.

It's perfectly fine to share links, the EU directive specifically states so. What you can't do, is take content, and host it as your own without getting authorization to do so by the content creator.

You can probably imagine why that would be a problem from Reddit.

I don't personally care if companies like reddit get to face the harshest possible fines from the EU, they are morally bankrupt after all. I mean, almost every image posed on reddit is a form of piracy, and very rarely does the original content creators actually benefit from having their works shared or altered on reddit, and that's not even touching their shady political and commercial manipulation. On the other hand, I really doubt that EU legislation will ever be successful in stopping people from sharing dank memes.

Also, I'm guessing this only applies to the desktop version of reddit, because would be impossible to see anything on the mobile version anyway since everything is blocked by all those "USE OUR APP" banners.


Morally bankrupt? Copyright is not a moral issue, it is just a several centuries old regulation created by people who could never have envisioned something like the Internet. The effort to turn copyright into a moral issue is nothing more than a tactic employed by copyright-based industries in their desperate bid to stay relevant without changing their business models.

The potential moral issue is that the creator of the work (author, photographer, artist, musician) receives no compensation for widespread use of their work. On the other hand, the publishing company or record label or other middleman almost always makes most of the money anyway. An illegal but morally somewhat right thing I’ve seen people do is to pirate the work and pay the artist directly, cutting out most of the expense while still benefiting the creator.

There is no moral obligation for people to be paid for their work, even if other people enjoy that work, even if it is widespread. Are you going to track down every person who told you a funny joke at a bar that you go around repeating to your friends, or perhaps feel guilty about repeating that joke?

The idea that there is moral obligation to pay authors for their writing was itself a tactic used by the publishing industry to establish copyright law when it was first being debated. As you point out, publishers almost always receive the bulk of the money while creators receive little if any compensation. Copyright has always been about business interests and not about morality.


> There is no moral obligation for people to be paid for their work

Make sure to tell your boss.


He and his boss have a contract. That’s the difference.

So do you and the content creator.

I mean, we've all laughed at the "you wouldn't steal a car" commercials, and the truth is, if you could download and 3D print a car, risk free, you probably would steal it.

The underlying social part of that statement is both true and interesting though. Because the reason you wouldn't steal a car is because of the social contract you have with other members of society. We don't steal from each other, and if we do, society punishes us.

That's basically what the EU is doing with this legislation, and sure, its annoying, but I have a hard time seeing how it's wrong.


There is a very hard difference between stealing something from someone, which deprives them from having access to it, and copying it, which doesn't. The first one is considered morally wrong by everyone here, the second one is argued not to be.

> There is a very hard difference between stealing something from someone, which deprives them from having access to it, and copying it, which doesn't.

That's why I'm 100% in favor of counterfeiting money, since that has the same properties: no one is deprived of the money they already have.


> counterfeiting money

except counterfeit money can cause higher inflation. "Counterfeit" media doesn't.


Bad analogy, counterfeit money dilutes the value of all other outstanding money when it is spent.

I think it's worth being careful with your language, but then you are talking about whether or not it's okay to infringe on the rights of another and I don't think it's any easier to say it is.

Copyrights are not "rights" the way most other "rights" are understood. The term "right" in this context is an abstraction and it is becoming increasingly strained in the modern world. Copyright is a "right" the way that minerals rights are "rights" -- in reality it is a regulation on an industry.

You're right that there are a range of rights, but Copyright is very closely tied to the rights of speech and expression.

Usurping somebody's mineral rights sounds like straight up theft.


Copyright is tied to speech and expression the way speed limits are tied to driving: copyright is a restriction on what a person can say and how they can say it.

As for mineral rights, "theft" is not so clear at least based on the history of oil exploration. If I drill a well on my property to tap reserves that span the ground beneath both of our properties, is it really "theft" if I do not pay you a share? Historically the problem was that people were generally incentivized to drill their own land, which led to over-exploitation of petroleum reserves and giant messes in places like Los Angeles. Mineral rights were created to solve that problem by regulating the petroleum industry in a way that minimally disrupts property rights as they are generally understood.

In both cases there is nothing fundamental underlying the regulations. There would be nothing particularly wrong with a system that ignores the ownership of land above a petroleum reserve -- that is how air traffic is regulated in the US (nobody can demand compensation for the airplanes that fly over their property above a certain height). Copyright law has been changed many times since the Statute of Anne, and the original motivation for copyrights was to restore the publishing monopoly that had existed under a previous regulation system (the Licensing of the Press act, which was actually intended to enforce censorship). The rules are mostly arbitrary, and I would argue that in the case of copyright the goal of the regulation is also arbitrary (i.e. copyright was not established to solve an actual problem facing society).


Maybe if you're comparing piracy to stealing of personal goods, but if you steel a few gallons of milk from your local supermarket then you're not depriving them of selling that particular brand of milk either.

Digital products are easy to replicate, so they're obviously different, but that doesn't mean you can do whatever you want with them. Well you can, because it's extremely hard to regulate, but that frankly doesn't make it any better from a moral point of view.


> but if you steel a few gallons of milk from your local supermarket then you're not depriving them of selling that particular brand of milk either.

You've deprived them from selling those specific gallons of milk to someone else and caused them a direct monetary loss. Conflating that with brand is intellectually dishonest.

> but that doesn't mean you can do whatever you want with them. Well you can, because it's extremely hard to regulate, but that frankly doesn't make it any better from a moral point of view.

Yes it does, it's hard to regulate because it's stupid precisely because you haven't actually deprived them of anything which makes it morally not wrong.


I recommend reading this to learn why your milk analogy is off: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rivalry_(economics)

> I mean, we've all laughed at the "you wouldn't steal a car" commercials, and the truth is, if you could download and 3D print a car, risk free, you probably would steal it.

The reason those commercials were funny is that they were a transparent attempt to pretend that copyright infringement was theft. It is not, either in law, or in effect. Copyright is a time-limited grant by a government over a category of items. It is not ownership of an item.

If someone could download and 3D print a car, the most important reason that they wouldn't steal it is that usage of the car would not be theft.


I can produce a copy of the contract I have with my employer that specifies my wages and other terms of my employment. If you believe I have a contract with some "content creator" then produce the contract, and show me where my signature was applied.

I am not claiming that the EU legislation is "wrong," I just want people to stop pretending that it is motivated by some high-minded ideal or that it addresses a fundamentally important issue for society. It is nothing more than a regulation imposed on one industry for the benefit of another industry. Copyright has always been about business interests, and the notion that a poor author somewhere is the real beneficiary of copyright is just a nice story publishers have told people since they started lobbying for the Statute of Anne.


> I mean, we've all laughed at the "you wouldn't steal a car" commercials, and the truth is, if you could download and 3D print a car, risk free, you probably would steal it.

Wouldn't it be awesome if we could just 3D print ourselves all kinds of nice things we'd like to have?

If we could actually pull off such utopia, why should society as a whole consider it acceptable to artificially restrict this capability?

When the legal situation around monopoly rights is holding us back, maybe the time is ripe to come up with a new social contract that is actually beneficial to society?


> if you could download and 3D print a car, risk free, you probably would steal it.

That wouldn't be theft, that would be making your own care. Theft necessarily involves depriving the person you stole something from of having it. It'd be theft if you downloaded the blueprint and then deleted it from their servers so you had the only remaining copy; that's theft. Copying is not theft.


So is it immoral to eat a holiday dinner at Grandma's house without paying Grandma for cooking? Not likely. In fact, it would probably be immoral to offer payment. But it IS immoral to skip out on your bill at a restaurant, even if your grandma was the cook. Why?

The morality around payment for work is an attribute of the work having been done "for hire". It has nothing to do with the type of work, the effort involved, the skill of the worker, or the value of the benefit received. Everything is contingent on whether the work was done as a this-for-that exchange.

Copyright has nothing at all to do with work, or payment for work. Copyright turns the expression of your thoughts into property, and allows you to make rules about how that expression of ideas can be used, including selling that expression as if it were a good, or even selling the right to make the rules. It's a weird system when you think about it.

Whether or not you think this system is reasonable depends on whether or not you think that the expression of thoughts is itself property, independent of the tangible objects you create in the process.

What is NOT part of the discussion is whether or not people can or should get paid for being creative. Work-for-hire does not depend on intellectual property rights; people have been getting paid to write and draw and paint and sculpt for thousands of years before copyright ever was even a concept.


On the flip side, the newspapers I subscribe to have high paywalls and publish content I can't find elsewhere for free. If I could reliably find FT content for free on Reddit, I'm not sure I'd be a subscriber.

What is your point? That FT's business model might fail if they could not rely on copyrights? I think they need a business model that is better suited to the modern world if that is the case (or we need to own the fact that when it comes to newspapers etc. we are not interested in a market-based approach).

Such business models "better suited to the modern world" were actually developed. Click here to read 5 reasons why the result might shock you!

> they need a business model that is better suited to the modern world

The model that works under such constraints is a hard, high paywall guarding differentiated content. A consequence of such regulation is one having to pay for content with dollars, not eyeballs.


Oh cool. Let's stop paying Google and Reddit employees.

Why should the packagers and distributors of other people's work always have the power? Google is the ultimate middleman.


I want to help articulate the point even though I don’t know how I feel about it: Reddit makes money when users post popular things with no regard to how those things were acquired. Often this happens via the inner circle of power posters and meme-trend setters and not actually original content authors. And reddit is perfectly okay with this because it makes them money. If you believe it’s immoral to treat content creators this way it’s a moral issue. I tend to agree more with the GP because I’m pretty copyleft, but I also don’t like the fact that the “reddit machine” is basically an internet link record label where the payout is zero...

Why would anyone pay you for linking to your site? Presumably you can charge money for the content, solicit donations on the site or run ads.

But what if the link text itself contains the most important part of the content? For example the title of a news article?.

Lets break it down. You intrepid reporter have discovered that Chairman John Smith has been embezzling from the company coffers and lying to shareholders and even now is preparing to abscond with his ill gotten gains to an island paradise. Your release a blistering expose on this titled Mr Smith goes to Jamaica... with all your money. Robbery and shame at foo corp.

You might think that your title communicates the most import part of your hard work but 99.9% of the value consists of the fact that you have no right no NOT your clever presentation of such.


When copyright was invented, the bulk of communication was personal and free. Now it is captured into electronic silos on the internet. Creators can't have priority over the interest of the population. They have to cede that public interest in discussing news is more important than their 'right' to monetise even the headlines themselves. When balancing rights, we have to take a larger perspective that includes more than the creators interests.

It's worth noting that in the US there is already the DMCA that content creators can use to take down their work.

Most content owners even big companies like Disney choose to allow (or maybe just ignore) the memes and likenesses because it's free advertising. So in a way they are getting value.


Memes and whatnot are almost always protected under fair use, which the EUCD does not have.

You can also say that it is immoral to receive compensation for not working, i.e. rent-seeking. The creator should be compensated for his or her work, but that's not what copyright is about, it's about being compensated at the time of information exchange. Further confounding the moral issue is the fact that copyright can be assigned, so now a third party is charging rent for the information exchange of a product that they didn't create.

In practical terms, this leads to the creation of entities - media companies, that do not care for morality and are entirely built to maximise profits from the rents they control. Which in turn creates other problems, since those same entities can amass enough wealth and power in order to bend our information exchange technologies in amoral ways, all in the pursuit of perfect rent exploitation. So while the concept of "artist gets paid a fair sum for creating art" is commendable, the current implementation has very detrimental side effects. And you can't fight the side-effects with policy, because free information exchange generates less revenue than the rent on information exchange the media companies seek to extract, so you have less money to lobby for laws against the people trying to restrict your freedom of speech.


> The potential moral issue is that the creator of the work (author, photographer, artist, musician) receives no compensation for widespread use of their work.

Just because something has widespread use doesn't mean it's actually worth anything.


When I call them morally bankrupt, its because of the social manipulation, meddling with democracy and selling of user data, not so much the fact that they allow people to share images of Yoda. But I guess I could have made that a little bit clearer.

I don't personally think the laws are wrong though. I'm a content creator myself, and while much of the code I write is open source, and I'm happy to see people use it to build cool things, I also don't want anyone to steal it and pretend it's their own, and I certainly wouldn't want a social media company to make money from it being shared.

So I like the law, and I think it should apply equally to you as it should to a social media company. Reddit shouldn't be above the law, and it makes me proud to be a European citizen when our politicians stand up and tell these companies that they aren't.


> I certainly wouldn't want a social media company to make money from it being shared

If you can't handle things like this, you basically can't handle platforms that allow others to share things openly. You'll never have an open environment for anyone to create platforms if you also want to pick and choose communication outlets because it effectively devolves to prior restraint like it has here.

Freedom comes at a price, be it sharing your stuff or whatever, and every effort to curb its ills, no matter how noble, reduces the freedom. Sadly, the rest of the world has to suffer these freedom tradeoffs so some can feel proud they are standing up to some companies they don't like.


Github is a platform that allows anyone to share my things openly. It also lets them contribute or perhaps even take ownership of the work if we agree it's better off in their hands.

I'm perfectly fine with that.


Do you believe Github should preemptively filter content you are trying to git push? You're ok with me uploading all of your copyrighted photos to my GitHub page with the laws that exist today? Do you believe GitHub profits off of their popularity (driving more private repo and enterprise sales) built on a platform that allows users to upload copyrighted content? Is your answer going to be the same as the ones making judgements on GitHub while clutching this new legislation?

I do not think your politicians are "standing up" for you or any other content creators. They are standing up for the big copyright industries who have basically captured European politicians (to a much greater extent than they captured America's).

The general approach that Europe seems to take is to protect old industries from any challenge, even at the expense of new industries. I see that as a big reason for the sad state of the European tech industry. Europe is falling further and further behind America and China in terms of tech industry leadership and relevance, and with each new effort to "stand up" to tech companies Europe makes it harder for small tech startups. Where is the European answer to Reddit, or to Google, or Facebook or Tencent or Weibo? At this point it looks like European politicians have given up and are just trying to get as much money out of foreign tech companies as they can.


> I certainly wouldn't want a social media company to make money from it being shared

Reddit/etc make money because of their platform not content. All of the content on reddit is available via api for free. So its definitely not the content.


> Reddit is morally bankrupt

> When I call them morally bankrupt, it is because of meddling with democracy

To say that, you have to affirm that the people in your democracy are unable to decode various forms of information. It happened in East Germany because East Germany didn’t have the freedom of information, so people were gullible (or so said historians). Your remedy is to... what, shut down Reddit, so only information controlled by the state is published.

Despite being a bad idea from the get go, let’s analyse what people usually criticize as fake news. Statistics about criminality. Statistics that don’t comfort the idea that women are oppressed. Remember that you can write a 10-page document citing sources and having it backed by 5 scientists across the world and be fired by Google for fake newsing.

So in the end you’re just advocating to shut down information that doesn’t comfort your ideas. And you’re using the argument of « morally corrupt » for it.


I'm not advocating for anyone to shut down information, I just wouldn't be sad to see a world without companies like Reddit.

I think freedom of information will actually do better without them, though.


The sort of images most commonly posted to reddit are screengrabs from movies or games with text added for humorous effect. This sort of use has traditionally been classed as fair use under copyright law.

Penalizing reddit for doing so would not result in more revenue for the creators of the source material.


If anything it results in less. Memetic sharing of snippets of content leads lots of people to get interested in the source material, seek it out and pay for it.

Indeed. I recently binge-watched four seasons of a series on Netflix after seeing a Youtube montage of the lead character murdering people.

What series?

The Blacklist.

That's not illegal under the EU directive though...

> and very rarely does the original content creators actually benefit from having their works shared or altered on reddit

Very often, when a gif taken from a video is shared, for example, the top comment will be a link to the source video. In even more cases, such a comment is near the top of the thread. That absolutely benefits the content creator.


It would be much better if the post was linked to the creators actual page so they can get ad views.

This is awfully dogmatic, and I'm sad to see it on HN.

Your arguments would effectively turn the internet into nothing more than a text messaging service seeing as Google indexing and mirroring images is also "piracy".

P.S. - Maybe we should ditch the old MPAA/RIAA propaganda lingo? No one is talking about robbing a sea faring vessel.


> MPAA/RIAA propaganda lingo?

yes, sad to see people on here using that bollocks speech still. This is far more complex and subtle than stealing doubloons on all sides of the argument.


> almost every image posed on reddit is a form of piracy

You mean copyright infringement? You know there's an infinite amount of debate as to how much copyright protection costs society vs its actual benefits (most of the said benefits go to big cartels rather than individual creators anyway).

> almost every image

Really? You have any source to prove your extraordinary claim?

> very rarely does the original content creators actually benefit from having their works shared or altered on reddit,

Erm... ever heard of publicity?


>> very rarely does the original content creators actually benefit from having their works shared or altered on reddit, > > Erm... ever heard of publicity?

Publicity doesn’t pay the bills, and it only works if the original author is mentioned.


I totally agree with the sentiment. You can't take content from the world and host it without giving something back. A newspaper reporting on a funeral? pay the descendants a fee. Reporting on celebs? pay another fee. Reporting on science? pay the scientists a fee. We forget though that the media is also another form of aggregator. They write about the news, but don't create them. Whether one sort of aggregator is more profitable than the other depends on the cost of the writing and the breadth of the audience.

I believe the way copyright is structured and enforced today is the moral issue here.

Let's not forget why Hollywood is in Hollywood after all.


So linking to an image in-place is fine, but reuploading to Imgur is not?


If I'm a photographer and you see my images and like them, then you can't download them and then upload them as your own on reddit, and reddit certainly can't make money from the clicks generated by my photos that you uploaded to their site. Unless you have my permission.

Thats the clear case, it gets difficult with stuff like Star Wars memes. Disney probably doesn't mind someone using Darth Vader to tell a joke, they probably don't care if you stole the image and uploaded it as your own either, and they probably don't care if your joke is distributed on reddit either or whether they make money from it. Because at the end of the day, thet's sort of a free commercial.

Under the law though, you have to ask permission.

It's annoying to be honest. I give a lot of presentations, and not having every image on the internet available to me, is just annoying. But I work for a municipality, and it can potentially be held accountable if I use proprietary images without having permission to do so.

It's been like that for a long while by the way, but internet companies like Reddit have somehow gotten away with doing what the rest of us cannot. In fact they've build a big part of their business model around it, and now the EU is telling them they aren't above the law, so of course they're unhappy.


> somehow gotten away with doing what the rest of us cannot [...] the EU is telling them they aren't above the law, so of course they're unhappy

It is so unfortunate to see a lack of enforcement of existing statutes justify increasing the number of statutes. "Somehow" your company/municipality is subject to a law Reddit is not? And you wonder why that subjectivity exists? And instead of questioning the efficacy of the law or its enforcement you defend doubling down with the same approach?

And surely you recognize that an employee violating an existing law is different than a user of that company's materials doing so? Shall we go after copy machine companies next for not checking whether something can be copied before transferring it to paper?


> If I'm a photographer and you see my images and like them, then you can't download them and then upload them as your own on reddit,

It would strengthen your point to remove “download them and then”. When reading through this, I stopped to mentally argue with this at that point (since having viewed the image implies downloading already), but that part is incidental to your argument.


Image hosters, before comments and likes, were useful mirror too

> every image posed on reddit is a form of piracy, and very rarely does the original content creators actually benefit from having their works shared or altered on reddit

Almost every time I stumble upon a picture I really like I tineye it to find more works of the same author and a hi-res version perhaps. Some times this leads to discovering amazing artists on resources like DeviantArt and popularizing them everywhere continuously and even considering buying a print. I can see no reason how sharing a low to medium resolution version of a picture even without mentioning the author means any harm to the author but in cases when they prefer to keep their work secret. In fact I believe forcing everybody to contact the author to request a formal approval is much more harm to them and their profits.


> almost every image posed on reddit is a form of piracy

This statement seems questionable and needs to be backed up by statistics. Looking at the front-page, the most entertaining items are original content contributed by the users. Clearly, piracy is happening too, perhaps in the total uploads more so than what reaches the front-page, but I distrust the notion that this is associated with substantial economic loss. And in the utilitarian analysis of the problem it matters whether it is substantial because of the implications on freedom of speech that may come from an automated filter.


That's not the problem. The problem is that the law wants the webpage owners to be liable for copyright infringements from whatever content users generate.

Most threads on reddit are either links to an original source or text threads where users are providing the content. How is this theft?

Only for news articles. Almost all images and videos are rehosted

I really can't be bothered to defend platforms like Reddit or Facebook from directives or laws, but what I do care and hold dear is the user experience that will suffer greatly if the directives pass as proposed. In the end, it's the users who will bear the brunt of legislation like this by losing access and tools to communicate, and that is the crux of this issue, legislation rarely does what it's primary intention is and ends up harming the public the most. After all, laws are very blunt objects to deal with soft matters because they are enforced by fines and penalties and weakest members, usually individuals, are least prepared to defend their rights, companies can hire lawyers or even shift focus to something else. Users will lose everything.

Explain the difference in hosting content on a server vs downloading and hosting it local to be rendered by a browser ?

The number of people in the audience its being shared with ? If I show someone what I have locally I have doubled that audience.

Remember the double a penny math ?

If everyone shared a photo with 1 person effectively doubling the sharing, in 40 days you are going to have the entire world covered.

The entire premise of IP and copyright is broken when it is so cheap the common method of presenting material is to copy it and render it locally.


By this standard, HN users constantly indulge in blatant piracy, through encouragement and use of outline.com to bypass paywalls.

> I mean, almost every image posed on reddit is a form of piracy

No it's not. It's called fair use. As long as it is changed or altered in some way as a means of commentary/criticism/etc.

Using your logic, everything is piracy, even "original" content.


> like sharing links to news articles

Aren't there repeated statements in the text that links are not covered?

> the use of existing content for creative new purposes (r/photoshopbattles, anyone?) would suddenly become questionable under the law

What's actually changed about the law here? AFAIK the rights for fair use aren't changed, and using copyrighted content otherwise is already legally questionable.


The problem is the liability will now fall on the host rather than the uploader.

And even with less extreme rules we already had YT ContentID which errs on the side of the possible rights holder even if they aren't actually holding the rights.

A13 seems to require that users can dispute things (and that rightsholders have to justify the takedown), requirements of proportionality and I think also requires an independent body setup by member states to raise these issues up to if not properly solved.

Yeah, but it still leads to overbroad takedown through filters first, maybe corrections after. Because everything else is simply too much risk for the platform.

And it should as long as the host profits from the uploader's work.

I think the real problem is that we allow Intel to make CPUs that pirates can use. If we had it happen at that level, we could effectively end piracy. Intel is profiting so they must police.

exactly, I don't understand how a company like reddit could promote this FALSE idea. Links are not covered. Why do they do this?

Could someone clarify the impact of this legislation on decentralized platforms?

It seems to me that all of the problems here stem from the fact that there's a centralized entity that is profiting from the re-use of links.

If you have a peer-to-peer protocol with no-one to "go after" so to speak, what happens then?

On the face of it this legislation looks bad, but could it be seen as a good thing if it sows the seeds for decentralized platforms to outcompete centralized ones (because they have a competitive advantage due to lower cost)?

The users themselves don't seem to be committing any crime by posting the links - it seems like the website, owned by a company or individual, ends up being chased after. So what if they don't exist?


I'm the CEO of a company (LBRY) that deals directly with these issues. I'm approaching six figures in legal bills and have spent hundreds of hours on this issue.

Here's the truth: no one knows. Not a single person. No one knows how even existing laws like the DMCA and CDA in the US apply to decentralized platforms. E.g. The DMCA and CDA both Utilize the term "service provider" - who is a service provider in a decentralized network? Under existing law, a service provider is supposed to at least be running a server.

This doesn't cover the European issues, but here's a ten page memo on this topic prepared pro bono by Cardozo Law on how the CDA/DMCA apply to my company: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2oudj04lCTJOFZ5V1g5dG9tR2N...

It is substantially similar to memos I've spent far more money on.


Thanks so much for publicly sharing this.

I don't think it's "a good thing" that they're making it harder to run online services.

I agree that the likely outcome is that decentralised systems get better, and I agree that that outcome would be a good thing. I still don't think the end justifies the means, and would rather see politicians just leave the internet alone: https://www.eff.org/cyberspace-independence


I agree.

Perhaps I'm just jaded; it seems obvious to me that the political view on copyright is radically out of touch with constituents, and copyright law is morphing from something that's a bit weird, to probably OTT, to evil, and eventually into complete absurdity as a result.

The entire system benefits a tiny number of elite players whilst the man on the street ignores copyright completely - unless their choice is restricted (e.g. DRM) they won't even think about violating it, it's "not a thing" to them.

If I thought that the legal system accurately represented the desires of the population, centralized entities wouldn't be anywhere near as much of a problem. It blatantly obviously doesn't, though.


> would rather see politicians just leave the internet alone

Unfortunately this can't happen because too many can't take the bad with the good. As a global platform, those who prefer their governments take control will affect everyone, often killing liberty with thunderous applause. GDPR wasn't enough, people gave givernments a mandate, implicitly promoted anti-web news blitzes, and generally helped build an enemy out of the internet as a projection of disagreements with elections and society in general.


We don't really know what the outcome will be yet. I think it's worth trying to see what happens and if it's bad, lets update the legislation and try again.

I don't know a whole lot about it, but from what I have read so far it doesn't seem that bad. It doesn't help that it's Reddit complaining. It's hard to feel any sympathy for them.


On Wikipedia I read:

"The proposal makes explicit that this does not include private cloud storage services, non-profit encyclopedias (such as Wikipedia), non-profit educational or scientific repositories, nor a variety of other cases."

The directive says:

"The definition of an online content sharing service provider under this Directive targets only online services which play an important role on the online content market by competing with other online content services, such as online audio and video streaming services, for the same audiences. The services covered by this intervention are those the main or one of the main purposes of which is to provide access to a large amount of copyright -protected content uploaded by their users with the purpose of obtaining profit therefrom, either directly or indirectly, by organising it and promoting it in order to attract more audiences. Organising and promoting content involves for example indexing the content, presenting it in a certain manner and categorising it, as well as using targeted promotion on it. The definition does not include services whose main purpose is not to provide access to copyright protected content with the purpose of obtaining profit from this activity. These include, for instance, electronic communication services within the meaning of Regulation 2015/2120/EU, including internet access providers, as well as providers of cloud services which allow users, to upload content for their own use, such as cyberlockers, or online marketplaces whose main activity is online retail and not giving access to copyright protected content. Nor does this definition cover websites which store and provide access to content for non-for-profit purposes, such as online encyclopaedias, scientific or educational repositories or open source software developing platforms which do not store and give access to content for profit making purposes. In order to ensure the high level of copyright protection and to avoid the possible application of the liability exemption mechanism provided for in this Directive, this Directive should not apply to services the main purpose of which is to engage in or to facilitate copyright piracy."


I think they ought to tread very carefully and very lightly. Imagine if there was an internet where you can't just remove something. Sure, you can see the IP address of the people hosting/distributing the material, but there are numerous ways to disguise that.

Suddenly, via P2P everyone becomes their own client _and_ server, and the _only_ way to remove content is to ensure everyone in the pool no longer has it.

Good luck with that.


What of it?

That's already how the world works (it's not limited to the Internet).

Public information is public. Someone has already saved it.


> Imagine if there was an internet where you can't just remove something.

Isn't that exactly the point of distributed services? There's no difference between the horror scenario you're describing and the ideal that other people are striving for. If you removed your opening and closing sentence, I'd have no way to tell whether this was an advertisement or a criticism.

Distributed services really are an area where one person's meat is another person's poison.


Decentralized will then be the target of the next regulation. They are too small to matter atm.

Are you saying “so what if Reddit does not exist?” Is that your argument?


> especially on small and medium-sized companies like Reddit

slightly OT, but is Reddit really a small / medium-sized company? or are they seriously downplaying it to get sympathy?


According to Wikipedia, Reddit itself has 230 employees. Advance Publications is private, though; I can't find numbers.

It's a rather small company, but it's in the top 20 Websites worldwide, top 10 in the US.

EU citizen here.

I keep using reddit but I have to admit the content quality has decreased. I keep going on it just like people like to go to facebook, just to entertain myself.

If reddit was blocked, I guess I would just give up using it.


i don't know a single other forum where you can converse with "EU citizens" other than /r/europe . I also follow other local reddits to find out the odd news that are not typically reported. And reddit is fun, entertaining, that's its value proposition and is based on the community, with posts being generally just a conversation starter. I would need an alternative to it.

I also bet a lot of publications are going to miss the traffic it gives them.


The content in general might have become less "deep", but the quality subreddits, posts, contributors are still there, just in total they make up a smaller percentage. At least this is my impression.

reddit makes money when a user shares a link. EU just disrupts their business model and they are defending.


Link target also (almost always) make money when visiting the site. They want the publicity from all sources. Nobody small lives on direct traffic.

Cool i guess, Reddit will lose money, doesn't affect me or anything. What is the point of this disruption though? Nobody gains from it, it's like "if i can't have it, nobody can have it".

Guys this is meant for platforms that continuously allow users to upload fully copyrighted stuff, offer no good takedown and just point to the users when asked. "We're a platform so the user is responsible".

Thousand, maybe millions, of Youtube videos by small channels are re-uploaded to FB everyday and essentially stolen.

Watch this, for example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7tA3NNKF0Q

This law just says: ehm no Facebook, you ARE responsible for this, and you can't just say 'talk to the user / page who stole it'.

The way Reddit and others interpret it is just because they don't want to be legally beholden to laws that protect people smaller than they are. And they're calling it a 'ban on memes' to get people online to protest it like useful idiots.

No one read the texts but everyone is angry.


Reddit allows image and video uploads nowadays by users.

How is Reddit supposed to filter all of it?


Initially I thought this was an appropriate and proportionate response. However, I eventually realised that doing so would be a tacit admission of acceptance of the extra-territorial ambition of the Directive and its application - which would be far worse, if we're truly concerned about global freedoms and rights.

The morally correct response, as an organisation outside of the EU in terms of its presence and activities, would be to ignore the Directive, just as thousands of other bits of local legislation are by routine and convention.

Unfortunately, Reddit is a subsidiary of Advance Publications, which I expect has physical operations in the EU and can therefore become subject to ransom locally. In which case, perhaps banning EU citizens in the EU from accessing Reddit is the most viable and proportionate moral response after all. It would mean I lose access, but I strongly believe that the European Commission monster must be tamed and cut down to size.


What is the end game for Reddit if this does pass? Will it just block European users?


I think the image is pretty clear, EU users will no longer be able to use Reddit.

Internet users in general have become used to unlimited free content and use. Unfortunately free platforms are paid for with ads and the revenue per user, with the exception of a few behemoths, is very slim. It is pretty easy to put things in the red if you decrease the value of ads and increase general legal compliance costs. If your bank account isn’t full of money, it is over when derived providers shut down your accounts.

There have been a lot of accusations made about companies which have chosen to block EU users. The companies choosing to do so are optimistic that they may be able to open to EU users in the future. They respect the laws of the EU and expect the system to continue to exist for some time. Unlike, say, a large number of countries where the sitting head of government could be publicly hung and no one would be surprised.


One thing I could imagine happening if the EU's attempts to regulate the internet become too onerous is that companies like reddit would simply pull any legal presence out of Europe and ignore European law. That would leave the EU with only nuclear options for enforcement like a Great Firewall of Europe or trade sanctions against the US.

Disclaimer: I might or might not agree with EU but I think I see the mechanism of action.

Now, the thought about "the EU attempting to regulate the internet" is rather myopic. EU is not initiating anything, the EU is simply continuing a process which was started long ago.

This is part of the same copyright enforcement continuum which ("long" ago) caused the US organization MPAA to work with the US government to exert political pressure on Sweden to shut down the The Pirate Bay (BitTorrent tracker).

The argument then was The Pirate Bay was helping people distribute copyright-protected content while getting money from this process.

Now, there are companies which do substantially the same thing: users upload copyright protected content to the service, the service disseminates the content back to users while the service is monetized e.g. with advertisements. In some cases the content is individual pictures, in some cases music tracks or albums or even entire movies.

Now, either this mechanism as a whole is OK or it is not OK. The EU is basically saying that the mechanism is not OK within EU regardless of whether the company is from USA or not.

If you observe this development over time, it has been about tightening of copyright enforcement everywhere. From that perspective it makes sense to tick-tock two of the biggest players in turn, to tighten the law in one, then make the other one follow.

I hope I'm wrong. Looking forward to see Mickey Mouse in public domain.


> Now, the thought about "the EU attempting to regulate the internet"

The EU has put out a series of regulations and proposals including this, GDPR, and the proposed terrorist content regulation. It looks like a pattern to me. I know the EU is not the only government trying to do this sort of thing, but so far, it seems to have had the most impact.

This isn't just about copyright. It seems to me that it's a popular opinion in Europe that American internet companies have too much power, and the EU ought to rein them in any way it can.


I don't think this is the same. The pirate bay is just straight up infringing causing lost sales. Reddit or memes/derivative works in this sense don't directly impact the work unless there are serious branding issues that result from it. The profit Reddit gets in this case isn't really due to the work in a way that takes away from the original creator, and it may benefit them. Many indie games would love to go viral and reddit. It's more trying to control all forms of hosting.

Oh, and you don't want mickey mouse in the public domain. We already have characters like him in it, Betty Boop and Max Fleischer versions of superman are in it, and you can go buy a DVD for under $10 usa that has hundreds of public domain cartoons.

What happens when something is put in the public domain is often no one has any incentive to care for, advertise, curate, or promote the characters. Yes, you can view the content for free, but it's almost always done in a basic or slapdash form, maybe a bad vhs rip or ebook with scanning errors. You often very rarely see actual new works based on the properties, because no company has an existing interest to keep the brand fresh.

Honestly copyright is the only reason some characters even endure. Woody Woodpecker would have died out had lantz not sold the shorts to universal, for example.


> Oh, and you don't want mickey mouse in the public domain.

I do. I don't care about Mickey Mouse per se, but I don't think copyrights should be indefinite, or substantially longer than an average human lifespan. Mickey Mouse is 90 years old. Its creator has been dead for 52 years.

I don't have a strong opinion about whether that should happen now (90 years after creation), in 10 years (100 years after creation), two years ago (50 years after the death of the author), or some other roughly similar timeframe, but creative works should pass into the commons after the creator has had a reasonable opportunity to profit from them.


Aren't you basically saying that long copyright terms stifle creativity by encouraging brand owners to reuse existing characters ad nauseam rather than coming up with new ones?

Upload filters ala Google’s ContentId. The impact will be similar to Youtube in the short term. Since Reddit is GIFs not audio it will be topical things like FIFA replays etc.

The ultimate goal is to lay ground work for filtering/shadow banning political content. But that will happen slowly, not overnight.


Which of course is where the truth comes out.

This helps big tech players at the little guys' expense. Big companies can build their own content filters. Small companies can't, and are forced to buy content filtering software or services from the big companies.


As far as I can tell it doesn't even help the big players, Google has said it is economically impossible to be compliant with article 11 https://news.slashdot.org/story/18/11/12/2045240/youtube-ceo...

There's a big difference between a DMCA system where the content host has the responsibility to take down copyrighted content in a reasonable time frame, while having safe harbor protection in cases where content gets through, versus a "non-safe harbor" law where you literally cannot allow any copyrighted content _on upload_, or you can be held liable. It would be impossible to decide who owns what, even for Google, and so they would need to have some other system that is not user generated content (who knows what).

User-generated content is the life blood of the web, it's why everyone can communicate and we have this new world, we simply need it I think. I really disagree with others who try to frame this as if Google and Reddit are simply another company trying to defend their turf. This is a real blunder for the EU and completely misinformed IMO


> The ultimate goal is to lay ground work for filtering/shadow banning political content.

And one wonders why the serious players only roll the their eyes when “the internet community” is mentioned.


It’s how it goes every single time. UK tried it with child pornography filters but it got a little too obvious.

I hope so... among many other more significant things on the web, and I say that as a current EU citizen - the people creating these laws need to see them fail hard.

Having the best intentions is not enough when defining laws for complex technology with broad application, it is necessary to have a basic understanding of it and the scope of it's reach - they clearly do not.


I see this as them mainly attempting to create a moat around the European internet, to create a space for European companies to have a competitive advantage. This seems to have been a trend over the last 20 years I have been observing at least. The goal is simply to make things difficult enough that is is far less worth someone's time unless Europe is their primary market. Unfortunately all Europeans wind up paying a heavy price for this mentality when it is applied to extremes, especially since it will still be only large companies that will have the resources to actually adhere to the law enough to avoid incredible risk of exposure.

In other words, I think the motivations here have very little to do with author's rights and everything to do with lobbying for European business.


> for European companies to have a competitive advantage

That moat is so big that even EU companies can't cross it. Our hands are tied even more than foreign companies.


The context seems to be substantially changed by the size of fines that the EU has historically given out to foreign companies.

But yes, I think you are right and the intended goal will be a wide miss.


I suspect it will disadvantage EU companies. Is the EU going to go after Chinese companies that violate? China will not yield.

Is the EU going to go after member nation companies? Yeah, probably, if it wants legislation to have teeth.


Why can't reddit pay some pennies for the link to appear on their site? Is it easier to cut all EU citizens? They have ads on their site. Why can't this lead to higher prices of ads on their site?


not even google with their endless cash can figure out how to walk through the logistics of this. And then the sites themselves will have to figure out ways to pay for everything that is payable in their articles.

They can have the link anyway - that's not restricted. You can link all you want to whatever you want.

My guess is it would mean things like news publishers would send copies of the main text to reddit and reddit would be required to filter out comments that contain some significant chunk of them unless there's some agreement made. Currently most paywalled articles have the entire text pasted into a comment within.


Exactly... it's O(n^2) hard over time, it's not fucking practical before even contemplating the moral issues.

Who are the companies behind these directives? Who are we fighting against?

Probably German media "giants" like Springer and Bertelsmann. They don't get their shit done and are losing mind share each year, so they are panicking. However their influence on politics is still strong, therefore they can pull off stuff like that.

That's where the EU link/Google taxes started but this copyright directive seems to have gone far beyond tackling news linking, which was what Axel Springer and friends cared about. Is there still provision in it for Google to have to pay for linking to news sites? I am reading contradictory things here - some are saying that links are perfectly fine now.

Probably since GDPR will decimate most targeted advertising based businesses, they need to find another way to make money.

The natural solution are paywalls but those don't work since people end up just copying the content and pasting it elsewhere. Shit, even journalists themselves rip off each others stories, paraphrasing the whole thing and then linking back to the source website. It's so prevalent that hacker news even has a rule about posting the original link to a story.


Example copying and pasting paywalled article: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18675496
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