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Article 13 is almost finished and will change the internet as we know it (juliareda.eu)
438 points by philipps 69 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 430 comments

It looks surprisingly reasonable.

"internet platforms that organise and promote large amounts of copyright-protected works uploaded by their users in order to make a profit"

That's actually a lot of limitation. From my understanding: "organise and promote" means it is not simple hosting, and "in order to make a profit" excludes organizations like Wikimedia Commons and "large amounts" most likely excludes smaller websites like fan sites, and "uploaded by their users" exclude search engines.

It is clearly meant to target a form of abuse that is much too common in the "internet as we know it". It is mostly apparent in sites like PornHub. They live by monetizing content they don't have the rights for, and they use their status as a platform as a way to stay legal. I think YouTube admitted that in the early days, they voluntarily turned a blind eye to copyright infringement as a way to grow ahead of their competition.

It is unfair to legitimate companies who do their best to make sure their content really is original or properly licensed.

And if it changes the internet as we know it today, is it that bad? It will push people to self publish instead of relying on "platforms", like the old internet.

As for the potential for abuse, remember that the article isn't finished, it has yet to be completed, ratified, and tried. Public debate is important and we shall not let everything pass, but IMHO, the spirit is good.

For your info: Hacker news is:

  - an Internet platform
  - that organizes and promotes large amounts of posts
  - which are copyright-protected works uploaded by their users 
  - in order to make a profit as it is an advertisement for y combinator.
So hacker news needs a filter lest you quote a sentence from some movie.

What is 'meant' is irrelevant. Important is the letter of the law. Besides, 'meant' is a very dangerous word when used by politicians as jaded as the EU folks. It is a way to whitewash unpopular laws, and make them look reasonable when they are in fact the complete opposite.

One way to "fix" this, unfortunately, is the same way some firms "fixed" their non-GDPR compliance. Block European users. More specifically, block users coming from IPs known to be located in Europe.

Fundamentally, laws have jurisdictions that they are valid in. Imposition of a law outside of a jurisdiction is problematic at best, as it enables some bad actor countries (pick and choose who you want to consider to be in this group) to export their internal battles globally.

A great example of this is the US's FATCA rules, which have resulted (at least initially) in many non-US banks denying banking options to US citizens. Due to the threat built into the law, of being unable to leverage US banking system, if they fail to comply.

As someone else commented, the road to hell is paved with "good intentions". Solutions will emerge to route around the liabilities and costs this creates, but probably not initially.

Yep, it is. The directive applies to Hacker News.

And it will certainly be in trouble people decided to use it to post an entire Harry Potter novel and it becomes the go-to place to read it.

But Hacker News has moderators, and in practice, these posts are aren't likely to stay long, therefore fulfilling Article 13 obligations.

I'm pretty sure that movie quotes are not copyright-protected. And the last point in the article seems to be there to protects such uses explicitly.

As for the potential for abuse, I don't know, I am not a lawyer. But as I said before, it is just a directive, not a law, and it is incomplete. The spirit is all we have now, there is still a lot of work to be done on the letter.

Why would movie quotes not be copyright-protected?

They are almost certainly copyright protected, with copyright law provisions granted for certain fair use purposes.

Keep in mind that "fair use" is an American doctrine, not built into international copyright treaties and often defined administratively (not legislatively) in other countries. And we are discussing copyright law in Europe. Europe uses several itemized exceptions to copyright; a movie quote could fall under 5.3i "incidental inclusion" or 5.3k "pastiche", or in some contexts 5.3d "criticism and review", but there's no overall doctrine that "reasonable uses" are allowed.

According to Wikipedia, fair use is mentioned in the Berne convention https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berne_Convention

That outcome sounds a lot like the outcome of US system.

Except in the U.S. judges can organically evolve the system as new questions arise and better resolutions are found. The continental legal system is much more bureaucratic. This matters because it's easier to push boundaries when the rules aren't written in stone, permitting more rapid and responsive evolution of the law.

Interestingly, the U.S. is slowly moving toward a more continental-style legal system while the E.U. is actually moving toward a more judge-made law system. That's because fragmented jurisdictional power in the E.U. has forced European judges (at both the national and EU level) to embrace de facto law making powers, and increasingly embracing doctrines that look exactly like stare decisis. (French-style civil law is a relatively recent development, anyhow; Europe isn't adopting the English system so much as reaching back into their own legal traditions to find a similar model of jurisprudence.)

By contrast, the bitterly partisan, winner take all politics in the U.S. has seen both the Democrats and Republicans attempt to centralize more power, both at the state and federal level. And judges, especially at the Federal level, increasingly eschew their law making role (albeit inconsistently). This is, arguably, why many common law copyright doctrines long relied upon by the open source community have begun falling to the wayside; judges increasingly prefer sticking to the strict letter of the statutes, effectively discarding the old doctrines that channeled and constrained their application.

Judges at the federal level do not have a law making role. Their job is to interpret the Constitution.

This isn't true, even from a textualist or originalist point of view.

"Judicial Conservatives" in the US disagree with "Judicial Activists" on whether (or to what extent) it is OK to creatively interpret laws (including the Constitution) to get preferred outcomes.

But all common law systems take for granted that judges fill in the inevitable gaps in the law by setting precedents. They can't just interpret it ab initio each time (which in principle is what they are supposed to do on the Continent, though I don't know about practice).

So for example, suppose a city bans anti-abortion pamphleteers from operating on the street outside an abortion clinic. Does that violate the 1st Amendment? Does it matter whether the pamphleteers are quiet or noisy? Does it matter if the exclusion zone is 10 feet vs. 1000 feet?

The text of the constitution is too compressed to answer those edge questions directly. Instead judges have come up with finer-grained rules to satisfy the general requirement of the text, and try (or claim to try) to apply them consistently. Developing these rules is lawmaking.

Thank you very much. Great points. I concede.

The law has an exception for quotations.

How can you prove that it came from a movie? You can not copyright words else no one would be able to say anything. That's what trademarks are for.

easy from the perspective of this law: build a db of every line spoken in every movie. Then block all posts containing a line from this db. If this blocks too much, dang provides human appeal.

UPDATE: To be clear, I am very much against this law. The collateral damage will be immense. But the politicians who want this law, they simply dont care.

...Which is a shockingly bad idea. Europe is crushing itself under it's own administratove state.

Is HN a EU entity? Sure they could decide to abide, but legally, the EU has no jursdiction over other countries. It's going to (continue to) break up anyway so this is all rather moot.

Most film quotes on HN would be covered by "fair use"[0]. If someone pasted an entire script in a comment that would be something different entirely, and likely to be picked up by the existing flagging or moderation system. Also, I'm not entirely sure how HN itself can be said to be profit-making, e.g. there are no subscription fees to use it and it doesn't appear to have any advertisements from any advertising platforms.

[0] e.g. https://www.bl.uk/business-and-ip-centre/articles/fair-use-c... for UK and https://www.copyright.gov/fair-use/more-info.html for US

Fair Use is cold comfort, if we’ve learned anything from the abuse of DMCA.

Fair use is annoying vaguely defined in the law. This means media companies will tell you that's it is so limited as to be almost useless, while the EFF and the courts may disagree. You may hear stuff about "10 second clips are the max allowed by law", but the law doesn't draw any clear likes like that and in fact is usually much more generous. Typically quotes like that come from a single precedent where someone was acting outrageously in many other ways and not relevant precedent for what you're doing.

That's true in the US. EU law actually knows no such thing as vague, court-interpreted fair use. The EU instead has a list of very specific exceptions and limitations to copyright – which member states don't even have to implement, so what you can do varies widely.

I highly doubt they would be flagged and instead upvoted. I have seen multiple instances here where a US website has blocked the EU due to GDPR and some user posts the entire content of the article as a comment.

It would be both - having a copy of an entire article is both desirable for the readers and dangerous to the service.

Companies pay to get their job listings in front of the HN eyeballs. This is advertising.

I feel like we had this exact same argument over GDPR, but no horror stories have descended about Mom and Pop operations run out of business but the evil Brusselcrats.

> we had this exact same argument over GDPR, but no horror stories have descended

Romania has already deployed GDPR as a weapon against its press [1]. I also have a short list of anecdotes of economic activity (start-ups and other new market entrants) that would have happened in the EU but, in large part due to compliance costs–including GDPR–wound up happening outside the EU.

[1] https://euobserver.com/justice/143356

And the EU is trying to prevent Romania from doing it. I don't see your point. Romania could just have used another law or just made a new one to harass the press.

> the EU is trying to prevent Romania from doing it

Giving people in power broad discretion with the law and then counting on them being nice is a delicate strategy. It counts on every administration being benevolent.

> Romania could just have used another law or just made a new one to harass the press

There is a big difference between using the authority of the EU, through an EU regulation, and passing a domestic law to go after people you don't like.

More broadly, this argument can be made against any over-reaching law. Just because some hypothetical law could be bad doesn't make an ambiguous law granting widespread power to select bureaucrats okay.

This is not related to business but there's a horror story with Romania (it's in the EU) asking a news organization to provide informants information related to some corruption leaks.

The information is requested by the national GDPR enforcer so it bypasses the prevention written in the GDPR about news leaks.

Now there's a trial going around with this which blocked any further spread of that information until it's solved. It can be easily seen how the GDPR can be weaponized.

Isn't that just straight abuse of the law? AFAIK GDPR only protects your personal information, it can't be used to request someone else's personal information (if anything, you could argue that GDPR prevents you from giving out another person's info).

This isn't the police or the parliament asking for the information. It's the regulatory body that does inspections to companies to see if they respect GDPR.

So the pretext they're using is that they want to see the information to make sure that the news organisation is not selling it or mishandling it to other third parties. In the process, they'll be able to get the information and maybe it will go to the people involved in the corruption charges (which is the head of one part of the Parliament).

wouldn't any other regulatory body be able to ask that data to check, for example, if they are doing _anything illegal_ with that data?

For example, can't you check for all data to verify that the business is not doing anything with forbidden individuals or countries? (think OFAC)

I don't think GDPR allows anything more than any other law.

Potentual for abuse of laws is one of the concerns people have about laws.

They aren't actually following the letter of the law, so to me it's unclear how much they actually abuse the law rather than simply pasting the GDPR logo in one corner in a sort of legal phishing attempt.

It's a concern people have about governments.

The subjects of the injunction can likely refuse and appeal to the European Court of Justice, which exists precisely to sort out these situations.

GDPR has had a very detrimental effect on user experience, with never ending popups and warnings about crap nobody understands. And being in the EU there's several US publications we can no longer access.

I can buy arguments that extra compliance efforts make some businesses not cost-effective in Europe, but this particular argument is nonsense.

It's like a factory that dumped toxic waste into a river complaining that, because of a ban on dumping toxic waste into rivers, they now "have to" dump them to nearby meadows instead, and that makes local customers unhappy.

"Detrimental effect on user experience" is an intended effect that clearly signals the company doesn't want to stop abusing its users.

No, it's more like prop 47: "Hey, you have to warn people if there are carcinogens inside. No penalty for false warnings."

Every business: "Stuff in here causes cancer."

Every customer: "Okay."


Every business: "Hey, we use cookies to provide a better experience. That okay?"

Every customer: "OK."

> Every business: "Hey, we use cookies to provide a better experience. That okay?"

They're not required to unless they're using cookies for something other than providing better experience. Also, that's cookie laws, not GDPR.

It's more like:

GDPR: "We see you doing X, Y and Z which are pretty abusive. We want you to not do X, Y and Z, but if you absolutely must, you can only do that to volunteers and you can't deny service to people who do not volunteer. Oh, and it really must be opt-in."

Every business: "Hey, we do X, Y and Z. That okay? [x] no >>> [ ] <<< !! YES PRETTY PLEASE".

Seeing HackerNews complain about GDPR is a strange experience. Every day I utilize GDPR to ensure that I am not tracked by the websites that I visit. The expectations of GDPR are lower for smaller companies.

GDPR is a massive win for the individual.

> Hey, we use cookies to provide a better experience.

Cookies are a separate law and entirely unrelated to GDPR.

Also the annoying "this is what we are doing, you have to agree to this to proceed" is explicitly forbidden for the GDPR. So your criticism does not apply.

It's not just the costs, it's attaching a 20M EUR risk to activity that may not even be worth 20M of revenue.

No, the risk is created by abusing customer data. If the cost was less than revenue then it’d be a toothless law.

GDPR is the size of a novel and attorneys can't even agree yet on what counts as PII. It's nowhere near a crisp law that only prohibits bad things you'd know not to do.

Yes, that's right, it's messy when you are tackling legislation to play catch up with technology. We've seen how wrong it can go with stuff like the last generation of cookie laws that were too tightly coupled to implementation details. GDPR is actually a nice step forward into resolving these huge gray areas that the web and smart phones have enabled as they become mainstream.

The status quo where corporations make vast profits peddling ever finer-grained user data unbeknownst to the consumer with no oversight is not good. A cultural shift is necessary. I'm glad to see the EU has the stones to tackle the issue because there is zero political will stateside for any political action other than driving corporate profits masked by populist appeals to xenophobia and whatever other irrelevant distractions they can cook up.

You can thank large media conglomerates for the latter, all it takes is one executive decision for dozens of networks and websites to start geo-blocking Euorpe.

GDPR is still fairly new, and it usually takes a while for the full consequences of complex new legislation to be felt.

As an American who spends a lot of time in Europe, what I have noticed is that a majority of local news sites in the US block me from accessing them using IP geolocation.

These are enforced on a national level though aren't they, in the UK ICO doesn't have the resources to hunt people down and are probably only going to enforce action against major players in the market as they are under the most scrutiny.

The problem comes when a nation decides to use those rules in a way that is detrimental to the populace or a service they see as troublesome.

An old client of mine, an actual mom and pop operation in Germany was harassed and was almost ran out of business by a law-firm who went around, the moment GDPR dropped, trying to find targets to sue.

Do you have any details? What did the mom and pop operation sell? How did they go afoul the GDPR with this?

AFAIK, no independent lawyer can sue you for violating the GDPR. Only the German regulatory body could sue them.

They received a letter threatening a lawsuit due to the fact that they had a newsletter sign up form without double opt-in feature on their site and some explicit legal documentation missing. Other than that it was a really simple presentational site made in Wordpress. Our business relationship ended years ago but I received a mail from them years ago asking for help in putting those things in because they were afraid of having to deal with legal stuff over such small bs. I obviously did.

Now I don't know German law, as I'm not German, but it felt like they were really afraid that it could happen.

> no horror stories

law need to be tested trough time, because it will be used by the next party in power for hundreds years, whether you like the party in power or not.

the only reasonable way to reason about law is full on pessimism.

it's like we already forgot the tyranny that was going on less than a century ago and was acquired through escalating legal abuse.

Does the EU parliament even have parties?

no they forbid dual mandate, they have now groups but those are super nationals. but the country receiving the regulations do, so there's that.

GDPR has a very worthy purpose though: companies were taking far too many liberties with people's personal data. I don't see analogous problems with copyrighted material (there is some infringement, but it doesn't really seem problematic to society).

That's not what it's for. The GDPR legslates what events one can remember (using incrementalisim). It's ultimately an attack on general purpose computing.

> It's ultimately an attack on general purpose computing.

I don't get it. How is GDPR an attack on general purpose computing?

Does your GPC comply with the GPDR?

But people can store data on themselves on their own PC of course. I don't see how GPDR affects that. I don't want a GPC that sends personal data back to the mothership anyway.

It's incremental. The companies covered by the EU's GDPR are untimately comprised of people too. It's easiest to start with a subset, and the GDPR is no exception to that rule.

Ya lost me on the reporting to the mothership thing, that is definately what many power centers would like, for example, non-DRM 3D printers that can cheaply print metal objects will be reserved for criminals in countries controlled by repressive regimes because they can make effective life saving tools.

It's not clear what's going on with GDPR, good test cases are only now starting to be tested. But the fact that many American newspapers, for example, are blocked in Europe is certainly something to worry about.

> But the fact that many American newspapers, for example, are blocked in Europe is certainly something to worry about.

They are not blocked. They have chosen to take their services offline because they don’t think changing their business model such that it no longer depends on aggressively tracking their users is worthwhile or cost-effective. Which is fine by me imho.

You must understand the economics. Newspapers have zero cash on hand these days, so their choice was to fire staff to allocate money for GDPR or not. Seeing how staff is at a minimum, that was the practical option. Result is equivalent to censorship. I'm surprised you don't find this a terrible outcome.

> Result is equivalent to censorship.

I don't agree that if a business chooses not to operate in a country, because it's unwilling to spend the money required to comply with the country's laws, that that is equivalent to censorship.

Another person's personal information is not protected speech.

I always viewed it as a transaction--go to the news site and read the news, in exchange they will sell data on what articles you're reading, etc.

I was fine with that transaction. In fact, I would rather have them sell my data instead of charging money.

Consumers have a choice on whether or not they want to go to these sites, it's not like they are forced to give away their personal information to news sites.

I would say the GDPR blocking news sites is a net negative because it denies consumers the choice to read news stories.

> I always viewed it as a transaction--go to the news site and read the news, in exchange they will sell data on what articles you're reading, etc.

And I always thought (back in my more naïve days) that I read the site in exchange for being advertised to. Point being, the exact details of the transaction were never shown to the visitors. GDPR fixes that by forcing companies to state the terms of this transaction explicitly, and actually ask the visitors if they're willing to participate in it.

GDPR isn't blocking any sites, it's only disallowing a very particular way of getting users to give up their data and then monetizing that data. Nobody is entitled to their business model working forever, and some companies prefer to shut off a large segment of their market instead of updating their business model. It's their choice.

Agree. There are ways to protect your data if that’s important to you. If I walk out in the middle of a freeway I should expect that I might be hit by a car rather — the EU instead says, “let’s ban freeways”.

No, EU says "let's put signs that point to where there are (previously invisible) freeways".* GDPR does not ban any practices, it just says that certain practices need to be communicated to and approved by the people affected by them.

*metaphors can get quite silly

I personally don't think that it is any government's business to regulate a company that is not inside its jurisdiction, I also don't think think it should be their prerogative to stop me from engaging and communicating with one just because they rightfully say that it's not their job to bend the knee to them. As an adult the EU is neither my parent nor my guardian.

>They are not blocked.

Self blocking in response to a law to avoid the penalties under the law is being blocked by the law.

Self-blocking instead of making one's business model compliant with the law is a choice. An alternative would be to update the business model.

That's all there is to it. GDPR isn't banning news sites, or other companies; it's banning a very particular set of antisocial business practices.

You’re muddying the waters. Just because someone doesn’t want to take on the compliance burden does not mean they have an antisocial business practice. What you’re saying does not logically follow.

It does, you just made an illogical connection. I didn't say that companies who self-block must necessarily have antisocial business practices. I only said that GDPR is banning those practices. I also said that companies have a choice between removing themselves from European market or adjusting their business model to be compliant.

> companies have a choice between removing themselves from European market or adjusting their business model to be compliant

The problem isn't only adjusting business models. It's proving you've adjusted your business model to twenty-eight EU regulators. If one of them misbehaves, you now have to wage a legal fight in a foreign jurisdiction. Against those costs and risks is a minimum required revenue. If that revenue doesn't exist, it doesn't make sense to serve that market. Regardless of your business model.

So if a law gives you a choice in how you choose to censor a work of literature, would it be the artist's self censoring and not an act of government censorship? Assuming we applied the same logic.

> But the fact that many American newspapers, for example, are blocked in Europe is certainly something to worry about.

There's just one large company that decided to block EU visitors: Tribune Publishing[0]. Yes, them blocking Europe is bad. Them owning so many local newspapers that this decision even makes an impact is a bigger problem.

I'm not saying that they're the only ones blocking Europe, but I am saying that we wouldn't think of it to be as wide spread if it weren't for Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, and LA Times (among others).

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

LA Times was blocked before but now loads fine in EU. The other two are still blocked.

tronc [vt] To make content unavailable in certain jurisdictions due to unwillingness to comply with their laws.


* Tribune have troncked Europe because their data control is jazzy.

* Google should really tronc China - fight the Firewall!

The GDPR is very similar to the old Data Protection Directive, which came into force in 1995. Many member states had done a piss-poor job of implementing and enforcing the DPD, which was largely the motivation for passing the GDPR. Directives have to be transposed into national law by individual member states, while regulations are immediately applicable across the entire Union.


I'm not saying there won't be an effect, but having an effect it's why you pass a law. But 8 months in, and the landscape doesn't seem radically altered.

If anything, major players deciding not to compete in a market is good to my mind, as a means of increasing a diversity of business styles. Laws like this make businesses pay for the actual cost of thier hidden externalities.

[humor] Given the "quality" of reporting in most of the publications here, we should be thanked for that outcome [/humor]

More seriously, GDPR should not extend beyond its jurisdiction. It does though, and there are consequences. Blocking european IPs cost (loss of revenue) must be balanced against compliance costs.

Claims that "they've had N years to prepare" are specicious, if for no other reason than they aren't bound by the specific law. Meanwhile the law introduces a new, potentially large, liability. Which results in companies self censoring by geolocation.

This is what you call an unintended consequence. Remote access to quite a few resources outside of Europe is likely to be restricted should this pass into EU law. As we like to say here, elections have consequences.

FWIW, I support the aims of GDPR, and wish we would get a sane law on this here in the US as well. But I don't want our law extending to others. That would be unfair to them.

Have you ever heard about the financial law Fatca? Please read up. What about sanctions of Iran that the US forces the rest of the world to go along with?

The US is probably the biggest "exporter" of laws that are forced down the throaths of all other countries.

American newspapers don't need to care about GDPR. Most websites don't need to care about GDPR. Europe does not get to dictate how non European based websites operate. The GDPR can be outright ignored for a significant part of the internet. I have no idea why an American newspaper would give a shit about GDPR. They could literally put a huge banner up saying "fuck GDPR" and face zero legal consequences.

I’m not sure how accurate that is. It’s obvious to me that American companies larger than mine have cared enough to take action. If they really had no obligation I’m sure they would have simply done nothing.

Do they also follow Saudi Arabian law?

>"internet platforms that organise and promote large amounts of copyright-protected works uploaded by their users in order to make a profit"

HN does not organize large amounts of copyright-protected works, nor are the links to articles an 'upload'. If HN organized PDFs of the linked articles so you could just skip heading to a third party site then we'd be talking.

'meant' is not a dangerous word. All laws require interpretation, which is why most countries have specific interpretation guidelines for legislation and even then sometimes it takes a few cracks at the can to get it right.

That's not something 'dangerous', although it can and does go wrong from time to time. But it's a standard risk of rulemaking as it's the standard process for courts interfacing with legislation or other rule-making texts.

Many of the comments on HN are substantive enough to be covered by copyright, and modern copyright law protects everything protectable whether there’s a copyright notice or not.

...So what?

Comment content is governable in the site ToS, where copyright assignment or other methods of defining the respective user/site rights can be dealt with.

Even if it wasn't, your performance in posting implies consent to provide at the very least a limited license to publish content you posted.

So where's the beef here?

> Comment content is governable in the site ToS,

Which is probably non-binding or invalid in most non-US jurisdictions and does not address the problem.

> Even if it wasn't, your performance in posting implies consent to provide at the very least a limited license to publish content you posted.

That is like claiming a random user uploading Star Wars movies on youtube is no problem because that user gave them a limited license. That "license" is obviously invalid and Disney can claim copyright infringement. The proposed law now discusses whether "random user" or youtube or both are liable for this.

Only that, the comments section alone on HN is pretty straightforwardly “organis(ing) and promot(ing) [...] copyright-protected works uploaded by (its) users”, and so whether or not it falls under the scope of this section(1) hinges only on the regulators’ and courts’ opinions of what a “large amount” is.

(1) In a hypothetical world where this law has unbounded jurisdiction

Even if we take this doomsday hypo at face value (HN promotes comments? Really?), so what?

What's the scary remedy for a copyright holder if they already provided a license to publish the published content?

User posts don't make every forum into pornhub. Calm down.

> What's the scary remedy for a copyright holder if they already provided a license to publish the published content?

The core problem this law is trying to address is that website users are, en masse, contributing content to websites when they don’t have a license to do so. This behavior is against pretty much all websites’ terms of service.

As there are many users with no money all putting illegitimate content onto a few websites with a lot of money, this law seeks to shift the burden of liability onto the websites. As a policy, it’s not completely unreasonable, but makes the mass content-farm websites like YouTube unfeasable.

The lawmakers fear for their jobs if YouTube shuts down because of their new law, so they carve out a bunch of exceptions to let key sectors of the internet continue operating (with some work to comply).

The broadest of these, implementing automated content filters, is expensive and unreliable. Operators of smaller websites, such as a typical Internet forum, have their own exception. The problem is that the boundaries here are vague and (potentially) poorly drawn, leaving sites like HN (if it were in EU jurisdiction) with a bad set of options:

  * Hope nobody notices
  * Accept the liability and vigorously police the site manually, probably buying insurance against a judgment 
  * Rely on judges allowing them the small-volume or non-profit-seeking exemptions
  * Implement content filters that are expensive and a terrible user experience

"As a policy, it’s not completely unreasonable, but makes the mass content-farm websites like YouTube unfeasable."

...? Where are you getting this?

Have you read the current copy of the draft proposal? I did.

None of the restrictions are going to kill sites like Youtube (let alone HN). The proportionality element alone makes the 'we need to invest 200% of our revenue into content blocking' myth absurd.

Will some margin need to be shunted into mitigating unauthorized distribution of works that profit the platform? Yes. But that's already the law. It's literally unjust enrichment 101.

> Where are you getting this?

My imagination, mostly. Note the policy being referred to in that sentence is meant to be a hypothetical one that was never actually proposed, which shifts liability without any of the safeguards. The second clause is the justification for the various limitations and exemptions bolted onto the basic concept.

> Have you read the current copy?

Not the current copy, no. Last time this came up I tried, but I had a hard time slogging through the European legalese to get to the meat, which I’m not used to reading. That’s why I’ve tried to keep my analysis here in the small, only considering the particular clause that started this discussion thread.

Given how hard it is to read, and the general unhelpfulness of the community (1), it’s probably a good assumption that effectively no one has read the actual text, and instead is relying on the reporting, which feels extremely biased to me on this one.

> The proportionality element alone makes the 'we need to invest 200% of our revenue into content blocking' myth absurd.

You should consider making this the lede instead of burying it three replies deep. This shows that the entire discussion about the other clause is moot, as there won’t be a problem in our scenario regardless of the result of that analysis.

(1) When I did ask for some help getting through the citations last time, the only substantive advice was “just skip that stuff, it doesn’t matter.” If I have learned anything, it’s that everything written into legislation matters.

> doomsday hyp(e), ... Calm down.

As an aside, my original reply to you was simply trying to correct your statement “HN does not organize large amounts of copyright-protected works” by means of a counter-example. I think you may be reading things between my lines that aren’t there.

I am, and always have been, calm on this matter. I don’t find the situation scary in any way. I simply enjoy exploring the logical consequences of various lines of thought through the medium of writing, even to the point of playing the devil’s advocate for the purpose of a more thorough exploration of the various issues.

I’m really not sure where my opinions lie on this one, so I’ve been free-wheeling a bit more than usual. I’d like to apologize if my mental wandering caused you any distress. It was not intended.

I'm not upset. Sorry if I'm coming off that way.

It's just that there's a big disconnect between what people have read out of the article regarding it's applicability and what remedies actually flow out of it.

Hence the ...so what?

Large sites will have a tool like photoDNA or ContentID to be able to flag works so you can't do something like repeatedly upload something like Aquaman an hour after release. That's reasonable. With respect to a site like HN, it's highly probable the entire article literally has zero impact, unless people take to posting book chapters in comments constantly (and if that happened, you'd expect they should take action in some way).

The proportionality requirement alone alleviates almost EVERY concern people are bringing up. I don't think the legislation is perfect, but it's pretty good, fairly clear, and very easily suited to judicial interpretation to create fair results in unanticipated situations.

Comments are copyrighted works uploaded by the users of HN. HN organizes and promotes comments. There are certainly a large amount of these comments. Profit motive of HN is uncertain, but it may receive payment for jobs ads? And it certainly operates as part of a for-profit organization.

In the US the letter of the law matters because of how jurisprudence evolved there.

EU has a different jurisprudence system based on guidelines and interpretation.

There is a wide range of options philosophically. Confucian courts are even farther from what you might recognize.

I have a pretty limited understanding, but at first, I would think you would have this the other way around? The US uses a case law system where precedential judicial proceedings modify how the law works in practice relative to how they got written. Besides the UK, most of the EU has a statutory law system, where the law gets applied as written with less regard for previous judicial decisions.

So, the short version of the question, in regard to your original comment, how so..?

I get the larger point you’re making, but I’d guess that copyright-protected works make up less than 0.05% of all content posted to this site and that includes repo links. /new is mostly just TechCrunch articles and things like that. I’m aware that bad faith interpretation of imprecise wording can be used to weaponize laws, and that laws are sometimes passed for this very reason, but it would be an incredible stretch (both legally and colloquially) to claim that phrasing applies here.

Every comment and article written in the last century is copywrited.

>/new is mostly just TechCrunch articles and things like that

Those are all copyright-protected works. Literally everything of any substance is automatically copyrighted.

Those articles also aren't uploaded but merely linked, so the rule doesn't apply.

Another article of the same law (Article 11) would apply copyright also to shortest excerpts of news articles, anything longer than "individual words". (Colloquially known as the "link tax" provision.)

So even reproducing the full title of a news article would likely be an infringement, and then that becomes another thing platforms take liability for/need to filter under Article 13. Whether there's a link or not would be irrelevant.

(It's meant to allow EU news publishers to bill Google and the social networks for distributing snippets/link previews of their content.)

> It's meant to allow EU news publishers to bill Google and the social networks for distributing snippets/link previews of their content.

I see this as an unreasonable reduction of previously established fair use. The fact that most of the companies linking to news articles using snippets are American, like Google and Facebook, while many news publishers involved are EU-based hints at a geopolitical motivation rather than any fundamental change to the fairness of this sort of use.

You are absolutely right: The mere fact that these publishers don't block Google using robots.txt and that they in fact spend a lot of effort optimizing their metadata so that link previews show up just the way they want them to proves that it's at least mutually beneficial, and not an abuse of their intellectual property.

Because google owns the index, if they don’t allow google to index they get no traffic. Google is a monopoly, there is no choice here, no market driving competition.

The sources I could find with a quick Google (yes, possibly ironic) search suggest news sites get most of their traffic from direct visits, but Google contributes a substantial amount[0]. It seems to me that the news sites want Google to provide them traffic and simultaneously pay for the privilege of doing so.

The behavior of publishers in countries where they won this battle is telling: a when laws were passed in Belgium and Spain requiring aggregators to license even small excerpts, Google stopped, and the publishers didn't take very long to offer free licenses.

[0] Here's one slightly dated example: https://www.sistrix.com/blog/new-data-is-google-or-facebook-...

They don’t want google or any other monopoly that is in competition with them to ‘give’ them traffic. They do want their services available and indexed on the internet. If the internet search market was evenly distributed among 5 search engines the I suspect this conversation wouldn’t exist.

Sort of, there is a big push in that direction mostly from the EU.


> So hacker news needs a filter lest you quote a sentence from some movie.

"Yipee-yi-yea...mother-fucker." ! -- Die Hard

Done :-)

>What is 'meant' is irrelevant. Important is the letter of the law.

Hold on, that's not true.

The intent of law matters and is codified in various ways, including stating the intent of the law directly in its text. This in turn informs judges (including appellate judges!) of how to evaluate a specific case. In jurisprudential systems, this in turn becomes case-law which further cements the intent of the law as a binding legal construct.

I agree the letter of the law is more strongly binding, but to dismiss intent as irrelevant suggests you don't understand the difference between law and computer code.

Or they are exceedingly cynical about the arbiters and paranoid about abuses - not a bad tradition when defending rights.

Intents may be pretenses which are cheap and mean nothing. The USSR was "for the people" and killed record ammounts of them. Even if ungrounded in displayed maliciousness a "how will this be abused" mindset is its own tradition and I argue a good thing when considering and writing laws.

Since writing a law meant to allow self defense that has text which allows shooting jaywalkers from your backyard is a bad law "to stop offenses in progress" is a bad law. Even if "reasonableness" is applied that leads to more judiciary work, uncertainty and the possibility of injust absurdities holding. Like bashing the head man who is stabbing you right now into the tile wasn't self defense because wood could have stopped him with less force. Explicit text definitions could have stopped the absurdity with say "threat of lethal force by an invading interloper may be met with lethal force" or "proportionate force" even.

I recognize EU law holds different principles but it isn't treating law as computer code. The opposite in my opinion - you are clinically paranoid if you think your compiler will try to twist your code in its favor. You are accurate when describing people and the law.

>you are clinically paranoid if you think your compiler will try to twist your code in its favor

C compilers have been known to "optimize" code with undefined behavior in such a way as to introduce a security vulnerability that would not exist in the most direct translation of the C code to machine code.

Yeah it is incompetence not malice. Although it probably feels malicious to anybody working with it.

There's very good reason for that : this law is yet another example of the EU's new favorite tactic: laws without the justice system.

The ONLY person that can use this law is the EU executive (commission). They get to sue, essentially any site they want on the internet. You, EU citizen or not, do not get to sue anyone else, no matter how much copyright infringement, how much damage. You can politely ask the (no doubt up to 10 person) EU agency that the commission puts in charge of this law, but that's it.

The EU commission is not just the only party that can use the law, they are also arbiter of this law. They never have to build a case before court, and of course in practice this means you're declared guilty and punished before your first chance to see a court.

In other words: they can prevent any site they like from getting sued at all and they can sue any site and convict. Then you can fight that decision in court (after, of course, penalties are extracted). In court, you start from an extremely disadvantaged position: you have been tried and found guilty. Effectively, in court you only get an appeal option.

I mean I know the EU is a dictatorship (because the both the positive and negative legislative power is in exclusive hands of the executive alone, the EU commission and council: they can enact any law they like with or without parliament approval and they can prevent any law from becoming law, no matter how much parliament wants it. Or they can change it at will, or ...

But this is even worse than that. This law does not just give them dictatorial power, but essentially makes them an international public prosecutor for internet sites, who does NOT report to any elected government (only reports to the commission which is not elected).

>Or they are exceedingly cynical about the arbiters and paranoid about abuses - not a bad tradition when defending rights.

I agree, but that's a matter of opinion. What's factual is that the parent post builds an argument on a false premise.

If you have to reference the intent for every trivial case like HN, the letter of the law is worthless.

For your info: Hacker News being responsible for the data its users provide is not a problem for the users, it is a problem for Hacker News and similar platforms who leech off content from the general public for their own profit.

Further for your info: Hacker News does not "need a filter lest you quote a sentence from some movie", it only needs to take responsibility of you commit copyright infringement by doing so.

I’d happily let Hacker News go if it means other such platforms go with it.

> I’d happily let Hacker News go if it means other such platforms go with it.


I'll take as a given that many platforms are profiting from copyrighted content uploaded by users, but I very much doubt that the copyright owners would secure any of those profits for themselves if the platforms in question were driven out of existence.

Do you believe otherwise? If so, why?

PILATE: Hoo hoo hoo ho. The little wascal has spiwit.

CENTURION: Has what, sir?

PILATE: Spiwit.

CENTURION: Yes. He did, sir.

PILATE: No, no. Spiwit, siw. Um, bwavado. A touch of dewwing-do.

CENTURION: Oh. Ahh, about eleven, sir.

PILATE: So, you dare to waid us.

BRIAN: To what, sir?

PILATE: Stwike him, Centuwion, vewy woughly!


This would indeed seem to be a copyright infringement in many EU member states. For example, in Germany it wouldn't fall under the quotation exception (no such thing as vague "fair use" here), since you aren't critically engaging with or commenting on the quote, which would be allowed – you just reproduced it.

The movie studio could now hold HN liable.

Well, except that HN is not under EU jurisdiction, so it could probably choose to ignore EU court decisions against it. Bigger platforms of course won't have that luxury, so they'd need to come up with some way of limiting or avoiding that liability... or maybe just blocking EU users.

> you aren't critically engaging with or commenting on the quote

He's using the quote to make an unrelated point. This wouldn't be considered copyright infringement anywhere you have an impartial judiciary.

Your post, right here, discussing quote, makes this fair use.

True, I guess you could see "the comment thread" as the larger (collaborative) intellectual work within which the movie was quoted for illustrative purposes.

This is a very poor argument even under basic scrutiny.

yostrovs 69 days ago [flagged]

Are you sarcastic? It's often difficult to differentiate a Nazi from a nanny.

Please don't break the site guidelines regardless of how wrong another comment might be.


"internet platforms", "organize", "promote", "large amounts", "uploaded by their users", "in order to make a profit".

These phrases by themselves are open to interpretation in various ways. In particular, what I find dangerous is that these appear to be specific enough to convince people to believe there will be little to no room for abuse, and yet are vague enough to allow a motivated political actor to target someone if they really decided to.

Indeterminate legal concepts are very common, I don't know why this is always brought up as soon as it's "about the internet".

Programmers like to plan for every possible state and define things in the most technical, specific way possible.

Legislation is written contrariwise, which can seem baffling to programmers unfamiliar with the system.

Are you talking about directives in the E.U.? Or the law of a specific E.U. country?

It doesn't seem to be like this in the US. If you look at laws in the US, they try to define every word and every situation with a lot of cases. Vagueness seems to be avoided, and I'd say it actually doesn't seem too unfamiliar to programmers if used to the jargon

My response was in reaction to the parent comment brushing aside the level of ambiguity in the statement, and labelling it as "surprisingly reasonable" based on just another subjective interpretation of it.

As for vagueness, the issue has more to do with the scope. To me, as a citizen, the expanse of a given law is over the union of every possible interpretation of it that can be made by a reasonable person.

The more vague the language in a given law, the larger the scope for interpretation; the more specific and descriptive the language, the more restricted the scope.

It seems like an abdication of responsibility by duly elected legislators to leave the interpretation of the bounds of a vague law onto a far-removed, indirectly-elected judiciary, rather than passing specific laws defining those bounds more carefully from the get go. Why not just create a single law "Enforce good. Punish evil.", and leave it to the courts to implement?

As for why this uproar happens specifically on topics regarding the internet, the audience here on HN has a larger interest in everything to do with it compared to other issues. I do think that the same level of caution should be applied w.r.t. any and all vague laws, regardless of the topic.

Because it's often applied across borders, and in cases of late, potentially by independent bodies of different countries. IME, it's often brought up on any large set of laws, especially those governing freedom of information, and why most people discourage large encompassing new laws over meager ones or none at all.

The real question is why people take the it's-very-common approach to belittle people's concerns.

Being open just means that the judiciary has the room to make it work as cases emerge. Suggesting that this stuff would be politicised - what, the ECJ? - seems unlikely, although I'd be open to hearing of examples of blatant political interference in the EU-wide judicial process.

Is this a joke? Judicial activism by the ECJ even has its own wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judicial_activism_in_the_Europ...

A political court is essential to the european project. Absolutely essential.

> DMCA: there will be no abuse


> GDPR: there will be no abuse


> Art. 13; there will be no abuse

yeah, let's be optimistic!

[paraphrase] You keep using that phrase "no abuse". I do not think it means what you think it means ... [/paraphrase]

Single paraphrased/modified quote from a movie, meant to mock the abuse that has, and surely will, happen, under the existing, and new regimes. Fair use, and parody all wrapped up in one sentence.

> and "in order to make a profit" excludes organizations like Wikimedia Commons[...]

But what about fandom sites like Wikia? There's mass copyright infringement going on quite openly there, but it's survived under the understanding that e.g. Memory Alpha discussing various topics from Star Trek wasn't causing Paramount any financial harm.

But if the hosters of fan wikis like that will need to become paranoid about that liability they might not host them at all.

Hopefully that would mean fans will host the wikis themselves, rather than the advert/tracking nightmare of fandom

A lot of them just won't exist then. Many of those communities aren't organized enough to self-host, and if you can't run ads whoever's hosting it on their personal server is going to eat the cost of hosting it, and getting to the point of running it as a foundation like Wikimedia is going to be hard.

But maybe there'll be some meta-foundation like a fanbase version of Wikimedia that'll bring these all under their umbrella, or more likely sites like Wikia will just be hosted commercially by fans in the US blocking EU IPs and fans will need to use proxies or VPNs to browse them.

Yeah, the "in order to make a profit" part caught my eyes, too, and I immediately thought of Wikipedia.

If this law somehow ends up hurting multinational commercial platforms and opening up a larger space for personal blogs, hobby sites, and nonprofits, I might even consider it a good law on consequentialist grounds. I don't even care about the impact on startups if all they're trying to do is to become the next YouTube.

In reality, though, this is probably just wishful thinking. We have no idea how "organize", "promote", and "large amounts" will be interpreted; Google and Facebook will find a way to comply at least with the letter of the law; and the heyday of personal websites and ramdom phpBB forums are already well behind us :(

Are you suggesting there are no more forums online not run bi the big 5? I have not searched for 'powered by phpbb' in some time, but certainly there are many forums / phpfox / buddypress / similar sites out there that are not big companies funded like reddit.

Anything with song lyrics or a giphy post would be in danger of additional censorship with this no?

Any kind of web site that allowed user sign ups would be in danger with this pretty much(?)

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

I can see most of the obvious impetus for this, but don't feel it's going to work out very well at all.

I'm not sure what a smarter version of the legislation would look like.

Maybe it works out, but there is some downside risk here which involves a brand new 'lawyer economy'.

> I can see most of the obvious impetus for this, but don't feel it's going to work out very well at all.

You can see this reaction to the GDPR where the discussion of benefits are hypothetical. Most of these pieces of legislation have predecessors that we can look to for real, practical results. And that practical result is that the governments have mandates to govern the internet in a large, globally-affecting, information/data-suppressing way.

> I'm not sure what a smarter version of the legislation would look like.

It would not exist. Different measures (education, funding, public services, public awareness, existing statute enforcement, accepting the costs of open information, etc) would be taken.

I think that GDPR will in many ways be meaningless, but I don't have a problem with it because it seems 'fair' and 'implementable' at any scale.

This legislations looks like a train wreck out of nowhere, for no real, pragmatic reason.

Of the 100 or so top issues facing Europe today, is this among them? Really?

Maybe the EU Executive should be elected, like in every other democracy.

Do you even know what you are saying?

All this will mean is that the big tech, Googles and Facebooks of the world, will solidify their position for years/decades to come since only they will have the money/resources to take care of this expensive regulation. New startups on the other hand will stand little chance in this new world.

All these regulations look good on paper. But when you understand their medium-long term ramifications is when you realize how unfairly the deck is stacked now.

> It is unfair to legitimate companies who do their best to make sure their content really is original or properly licensed.

On the other hand, it could be said that it is unfair to new companies and rewards those who _already_ broke the rules. They already broke the rules, so it would be unfair to stop them from continuing to be broken is a bad argument, but it has to be a consideration when entrenching existing companies (as they can absorb the compliance costs).

I'm not really sure what the correct answer is, as allowing an ongoing harm to continue is clearly untenable[1], but you have to ask if this is really accomplishing the ends we want to achieve, and is it the right way to do it.

[1] assuming no large-scale copyright reform, but that doesn't appear to be on the cards

>From my understanding: "organise and promote" means it is not simple hosting, and "in order to make a profit" excludes organizations like Wikimedia Commons and "large amounts" most likely excludes smaller websites like fan sites, and "uploaded by their users" exclude search engines.

All these things are very interpretable and can be the root to abuse and mistakes.

I'm sorry, but you reading the text of Article 13 far more narrow than it actually is:

"internet platforms that organise and promote large amounts of copyright-protected works uploaded by their users in order to make a profit" Would include https://news.ycombinator.com as well. It does organize and promote user comments, quotes, references which are of course copyright-protected works as anything created in the EU member states is, including user comments. Now "Hacker News" does not make a direct profit of the content. It is a side-line to a profitable business. It is however trivial to argue that the fact it is a side-line by a for-profit company it must in some way contribute to that. This has been done before. The term upload does not exclude anything, because there is no legal or technical distinguishable difference between upload and post. The law could have read 'provided by their users' and the legal implications would be the same. All sites that are for profit and allow anything from their users are affected by this. This would also include online games that allow users to chat.

I don't agree that its intentions are that clear. Nobody likes a leech, but that does not mean that we should kill all animals to prevent leeches.

"And if it changes the internet as we know it today, is it that bad? It will push people to self publish instead of relying on "platforms", like the old internet."

This seems to be a call to the internet being just for the technologically savvy. No great number of people are going to self host and any form of support for people self-hosting from a for profit company will run into article 13. Moreover what I remember from the old internet is not self publishing, but the social gathering on IRC, newsgroups, etc. Something that will be impossible to do at our current scale without for profit companies or government backed services. The first will run into article 13, the second one is a non-starter.

If it's defined as loosely as you state, it will benefit big players:

- Small organizations can't support repeatedly going to court argue that they are not "organizing" nor "promoting" content in "large" amounts.

- Small organizations can't take the path to being large that youtube or pornhub did. These now host mostly licensed content, because content producers were forced to go along. They can no longer be forced, and a barrier to entry has been thus erected.

THis law has no real function and was brought forward by publishers that want to cash in Google-Money. To hell with it.

I thought most clips on Pornhub were uploaded by the content owners, basically as advertisement for their sites. They are not full length clips usually, or am I way off?

A few.. I'd say percentage are this way (and more today than there were some years ago as Phub climbed to fame).

Certainly the popularity of the site is due to the large amount of full scenes that have been available. Debates about who has been uploading the full scenes have been raging for years.

The debate about who is profiting from it and who has lost sales I think is pretty easy to figure out.

Must be great to feel that optimistic about the law. Your interpretation is unfortunately just one way to look at it, why would you give the law the benefit of the doubt?

That's not how you should write laws.

I have no doubt the 'for profit' part will be taken out sooner than later. Never rely upon a law where it's seemingly justified by a few extra rules.

This seems like it will benefit the whales more than the fish, as they can absorb copyright infringement costs into their already expansive legal departments, whereas a smaller company will likely go belly up or be chummed.

This is exactly the ongoing problem with the EU they don't distinguish between large corporations and small businesses which really illustrate how clueless the EU is when it comes to the market and the businesses that are governed.

The post explicitly mentions a clause that will make that distinction. The author argues it might be removed from the final text as part of the ongoing horse-trading, but at least it’s clear MEPs do understand the difference nowadays.

If they did they wouldn't have implemented GDRP as it was. The very fact that it might be removed in a horse-trade illustrates my point.

It would be insane to implement privacy and data regulations differently for smaller companies. You would end up with startups having free reign to abuse peoples privacy in order to gain market dominance against their larger competitors who don't have this advantage, and you'd have larger companies near the threshold arguing about and doing everything in their power to stay under their threshold so they can avoid doing things like allowing people to delete their profiles or downloading their data to transfer to a competitor. Smaller or less important leaks would be brushed up under the rug because 'Well, at least they're not BA', nothing good would come of it. If the law is unduly harsh on smaller companies that's due to the realities of dealing with people's personal information in a secure manner, not because the legislators decided to put people before corporations.

No it wouldn't. Large companies can pay for a lot of things that small companies can't.

What is insane is putting in regulation in areas like this instead of just punishing people for mis-conduct.

GDPR has extended what misconduct entails. If your company acts ethically regarding the privacy of your users you'll be fine.

You are assuming that there is no room to game that. There is and the problem is now you have given those who want to cheat the system a better base to do it on now that the customers have actually given their consent.

So in theory yes, in reality I am doubtful.

You can’t punish companies for misconduct if you don’t have laws against that misconduct.

But we do have laws and we can improve those laws without adding more bureaucracy to companies which is what GDRP do.

That's just politics. It would be exactly the same at the national level.

That doesn't make it better. As far as I am aware the US does have rules that distinguish like that.

Implementing regulations for every company as if they are the same is what is absurd here.

The US are many things, but certainly not a model on the subject of personal-data protection.

Again that's missing the point.

There is a difference between making a law that punishes wrongful use of information and then forcing companies to do things a certain way. That's the point here which seems to be missed on most.

I don't understand the difference and where one would draw the line between small and large businesses. What about medium businesses?

Medium is part of small (SMBs')

> This is exactly the ongoing problem with the EU they don't distinguish between large corporations and small businesses

Personally, I don't think laws should discriminate like this, and if a law is not good for business overall, it should be shuttered, not targeted. There are exceptions of course, but I don't think there should be on the internet (or information in general).

Laws are discriminating by their very nature when they apply the same price on something for a small company vs. a larger one.

Keep in mind that mostly we are ADDING regulation not removing with which means that existing companies get the benefit of not having had to deal with the same when they were small.

This is the real problem.

Just like adblockers. You can advocate using them, but they only help the big players, because Facebook and such can ask for subscriptions if needed and they can also afford implementing anti adblock measures.

While small sites with a handful of staff, can't do that. People may subscribe for big sites like Facebook and Youtube , but they won't subscribe separately for a lots of small sites.

So blocking ads helps eliminating the small guys while the whales can deal with it.

> You can advocate using them, but they only help the big players

Not true, they also help the end users, who often get lost in these discussions of big-vs-small companies. Turns out these "whales" everyone is so anxious to target provide benefits to end users, who are often the ones that end up bearing the brunt of the pain.

The same can be said for every other EU law.

Net neutrality regulations include vague language that allows "reasonable network management", which is a multi-million dollar legal hassle that stresses small ISP owners. And I shudder to think how Duck Duck Go's programmers will manage to comply with the EU's "right to be forgotten [from a search engine's results]".

I hope the politicians in Washington, D.C. recognize that America is the world's last refuge for small business growth and economic innovation.

I would imagine you'd be able to simply submit a domain to DDG, they would ask for a txt record or file to be present within the site, similar to a DNS verification tool. Then it would be queued up in a crawler for removal upon verification. Is there something I'm missing?

If it's individual pages, then probably just a meta-tag?

I think robots.txt could be leveraged for this though maybe.

> Is there something I'm missing?

Yes, they don't have their own crawler for regular websites. They get their organic search results from Bing and Oath.

I assume then that Bing will be responsible for this then (or if they won't then they'll need to find a new engine)

The EU doesn’t have net neutrality. I know this because I’ve seen offers which include zero-rating Netflix.

America isn’t free from regulatory capture, despite being historically better at innovation than either my home nation or my nation of birth.

DDG can safely rely on Bing for that.

Kudos for the extended, non-mixed metaphor. I think it works!

>This seems like it will benefit the whales more than the fish,

Well, who do you think wrote it? Not the fish.

In a weird way, this might be EU's strategy to finally deal significant damage to Google and Facebook, as this law will encourage development of alternatives on decentralized peer-to-peer technologies. However, I'm not sure if EU politicians are that smart...

If this is their intention, then the measure might be totally counterproductive. Regulations very often hit small businesses harder than big ones, because big businesses have capacities to deal with them.

In this example, Youtube or Facebook will have more resources to (automatically) detect copyright content than a small content-oriented startup.

This only increases "barriers to entry" for new companies and strengthens the position of incumbents.

According to the article, politicians initially addressed the problem:

> TBC Platforms run by startups (small and micro-sized businesses) are exempted from the law.

but this at risk of being dropped:

> This was one of the European Parliament’s main improvements to the text. Unfortunately, it is now in danger of being dropped in negotiations.

It’s not made by EU politicians, it’s made by a combination of lawyers, engineers and public administration majors.

In many ways the EU is a functioning technocracy, and if you ever read through the actual EU documents it shows. They are almost always sound, they are also massively bureaucratic and around 90% longer than necessary, but I’ve never read through something that wasn’t sound.

Disclaimer: I haven’t read up on article 13, but I do read (and sit through) a good deal of EU standards and proposals for EU wide Enterprise Architectural principles, and they are never thwarted by politics.

>but I’ve never read through something that wasn’t sound.

Sound in respect to very general interpretations and "common sense". The problem is that general laws can touch topics that are way beyond common sense, the room of interpretation is then just so big that it's like a weapon to take out anybody if you only dig deep enough and frame it as a problem for the common good.


You can say anything you want about the EU, but it's perfectly functioning and always has been.

> it's perfectly functioning and always has been.

The EU is far from "perfectly functioning". It functions pretty well but it's not perfect. There's some non-negligible group in pretty much every country that rightfully has some major gripe with the EU. If there wasn't we wouldn't have things like Brexit. I get that you can't please everyone but if the UK GTFOing isn't indicative of some sort of imperfection than I don't know what is.

Brexit has nothing to do with the functioning of the EU, it’s a byproduct of a broken political culture. British politicians failed at their jobs for 20 years and then blamed others for it, simple as that. The EU could have been the most enlightened organisation on the planet, and the result would have been precisely the same.

"but it's perfectly functioning and always has been."

This is so deeply wrong it's offensive.

coldtea 69 days ago [flagged]

"Perfectly functioning and always has been"? That is beyond delusion.

The EU is co-ruled by an opaque system of non elected bodies, under the table deals, and backroom diplomacy.








And those are mostly official establishment narratives -- if you look at critiques from the left (and libertatians) the picture is much much bleaker.

> The EU is co-ruled by an opaque system of non elected bodies

The EU council (comprising of democratically elected heads of government from the 28 member countries)

The EU parliament (comprising of directly elected MEPs from the 28 member countries)

The EU commission president, nominated by the council, approved by the parliament, and standing on a ticket to be EU Commission president during the parliamentary elections

The EU commissioners, appointed by the democratically elected heads of government from the 28 members

Laws are only passed by agreement by the democratically elected council and the democratically elected MEPs.

That's the version told to high schoolers in "How the EU works" lessons.

In actual EU, decisions are made by informal bodies like the Eurogroup, meeting under close quarters and with no documentation, with economic and diplomatic pressure from top dog countries, with satellite states vote how their sugar daddy states ask them, and a whole lot more besides.

"Eurogroup", which (like the Economic and Financial Affairs Council) would be meetings between the democratically elected finance ministers of the countries in the EU?

That's funny.

Representative democracy, with it's paltry accountability except every 4 years, gerrymandering-schemes (not a US-only problem), typically revoked election promises, backroom talks, corruption, and private interests paying politicians is already undemocratic enough as it stands.

And suddenly removing the voters even further (as in the EU Commission), or adding "bodies" with no officially defined role and protocol, and closed discussions, like the Eurogroup, is "democratic" because those involved were "democratically elected finance ministers" under unrelated to the EU national elections.

I'm struggling to see your problem. Are you saying that the EU should have more power over constituent member countries?

Do you really think that it would happen any differently, without the EU? There simply would be international treaties, which are even more opaquely-discussed, with no democratic oversight whatsoever and no recourse (national justice courts typically have no jurisdiction over international agreements).

With the EU, the process is formalized, opened up for scrutiny at many levels (sure, they could be more, there are people working on that problem), and then everyone can have a say through the European Court of Justice process.

The fact of the matter is that we live in an increasingly globalized world, and we must find ways to live together without resorting to the traditional genocidal ways (which are now practically unsustainable - a serious war on the continent would produce hundreds of millions of casualties). Somewhere, the political sausage-making has to happen.

> The EU is co-ruled by an opaque system of non elected bodies, under the table deals, and backroom diplomacy.

So just like any other democracy in the world. Do you really believe things are different in the House of Commons or the senate?

No, but I really believe those at least represent the public and private interests of their own country, not some big-dog country to the detriment of the periphery...

What do you see as not functioning in the EU?

have you ever been to rural Germany, Italy, France or heard of gilets jaunes? Any idea why they might exist?

I live in a very poor EU country (out of choice) and most young people fuck off to Germany or France because their home states have no jobs for them. They don't come back either which causes a massive brain drain on these places. Ask the so called middle class in Croatia, Slovakia, Italy what they think of the EU and how well it works for them. Avg salary in these places is 500 to 1000 EUR. And if you visit supermarkets all they have is shit. Literally everything like fresh veg tastes like feet because the good stuff that is locally produced gets exported to the rich places. Companies have 2 production lines making low-grade products (despite being the same brand) for these markets. I'm not an arm-chair bureaucrat who forms his opinion on Google. I actually live in these placed because despite all this shit and poverty the people are actually warm.

One more example: thousands of people wiping arses in nursery homes in Germany are working through shady polish, slovenian, etc outsourcing companies where they're stripped of all benefits that a German would enjoy. They work for 500 to 1000 / month (in a high cost country) because their home country has no jobs for them. Then they're being exploited by the rich EU countries.

Again I lived in Germany, ran 2 companies there, lived in France (operated 3 businesses), now I live in Eastern EU. As much as I want the EU to succeed I can't be blind to the hypocrisy that I see every day on the streets in my own surrounding.

Not all of this is the EU - which is not exactly some super-state that controls every aspect of life on the continent.

Almost all of these things are in the jurisdiction of the member states themselves, and the EU has little power to control them.

If the EU didn't exist, Germany would still be staffing its nursing homes with cheap(er) foreign labour, just done under a visa rather than EU freedom of movement.

If the EU didn't exist, companies would still produce high-quality products for rich markets, and low-quality products for poor markets. (If you want a fascinating example of this, read this Twitter thread about the manufacture of sanitary pads in Africa - https://twitter.com/aprzhu/status/1083278476310913024)

If the EU, ceased to exist, would eastern European supermarkets no longer be filled with "shit", or would local producers continue to export their good produce where they can get the most money for it?

There is a tendency to avoid criticism of the EU and congratulate it for things it does not do, but it is also a mistake to assign all the ills of Europe to it, when blame for them is much more accurately laid on national governments.

> If the EU didn't exist, Germany would still be staffing its nursing homes with cheap(er) foreign labour, just done under a visa rather than EU freedom of movement.

Or worse: the care would be become too expensive and peoples arses wouldn't be wiped at all..

Datapoint: UK family have been looking at such services for a relative with Alzheimer’s. ~£1,000/week, compared to the ~£60/week the government pays in benefits to those looking after relatives.

That's not really the EU failing, that's just poor countries being poor. A smart businessman will export his goods for the highest price to make more money if he can. That will lead to shittier products sold in poor countries, but it also brings food to the table of the farmers.

It's not as if Poland and Hungary would have been booming economic superpowers if it hadn't been for the EU. The people fleeing their country because of the lack of jobs won't suddenly find new jobs if they can't leave.

The exploitation of cheap, foreign labour is an issue though and it's not just hurting the people being exploited; the natives of the country the exploitation takes place in will see their wages drop if some shady outsourcing company can have the same work done for half the price. Those old people don't want their assets wiped by someone who can barely understand their language either but they need to put up with it because of cost-saving measures that has degraded the level of care. This is something the EU can change, but the many labourers who'd be out of a job if the EU added more restrictions to foreign travel wouldn't agree with changing the policy to make them unemployed.

The double production line issue would just come back in a different fashion if quality goods weren't exported; there'd be no money to be made selling most of the goods, so they either become a luxury product or only the cheap, garbage production line remains.

Despite all the known problems, countries like Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia are all applying for (or already negotiating) a position within the EU. If they would really be better off without the "dysfunctional" EU, they'd form their own bloc or remain independent. Even for poor countries, the EU brings benefits.

The exploitation of cheap, foreign labour

Case in point, the EU is already working to prevent/mitigate this [1]: per 2021, local business must pay adequate local wages even to foreign workers.

[1] https://www.dw.com/en/eu-moves-toward-wage-equality-for-fore...

>Despite all the known problems, countries like Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia are all applying for (or already negotiating) a position within the EU. If they would really be better off without the "dysfunctional" EU, they'd form their own bloc or remain independent. Even for poor countries, the EU brings benefits.

do you know why they do this? They can see how easy it is to milk the EU for money in ways that benefit these mafia states. The major of Zagreb is connected to the Bosnian Mafia, he just spent some time in hospital (the mafia put him there but you won't read this in the news). The top lawyer of Zagreb is an asset for the mob. If you want to kill somebody here it's possible to make that happen for very little money. Have you been to Albania, or Macedonia? You should seriously go there before assuming that absorbing them in the EU is a good idea. I'm all for bringing in the people of these countries but before that can be done the organized crime there needs to be cleaned up. The result otherwise is that you'll enrich those that don't deserve it.

The TV series McMafia was set in Croatia (even the non-fiction book and the TV show plays out in a global theater). There are good reasons why that country was chosen for the series. You want to meet some dangerous people? I can introduce you to the guy who shot the Minister of Tourism here not so long ago - he is my age and now runs a drug ring in Austria. This is common knowledge here and as normally talked about as the weather.

Ah yes the guy who now runs Rimac (the super-car company that competes against Tesla) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rimac_Concept_One his father is also connected.

My GF's sister was recently alerted by the owner of the building that the mob has asked them to isse them with keys to their flat because they refused to sell it. The person refused to hand it over and alerted her. The poor girl now lives in fear every day.

The Balkan is the wild fucking west. I live in one of the most civilized parts of the region and love it here, because it's also easy to stay away from this all. If you think for one second that the state would want to ( or even could) protect you, you'd be wrong because they're all part of it. If you're rich you don't pay any fines, if you're poor you get fucked. It's always been this way and thanks to globalization it's getting worse (more ruthless competition from foreign mobs fighting over territory).

I can go on and on ... but Misha Glenny's "McMafia" really explains it all rather well.

With respect, the examples you gave seem like more of a problem with employment law and governance in individual countries than with the EU as an institution.

The gilet jaunes were/are angry about a carbon tax and lack of wealth taxes. Not Brussels or brain drain.

The EU's Common Agricultural Policy, though not perfect, keeps huge swathes of rural Europe afloat. Its regional development funds builds infrastructure in areas that can't afford it.

You can't really blame the EU for bland vegetables either. That's just silly. The French aren't exactly appropriating Croatian tomatoes by force. It just means that (thanks to the EU) producers can get a higher price for their goods by exporting tariff-free to another country, so they do. Why wouldn't they?

The EU maybe is functional maybe not, but one thing is for sure: The Kremlin anti-western propaganda machine is obviously highly functional. More and more people are blaming their countries poverty on the EU while being oblivious to the actual scope of the EU jurisdiction, to the detriment of both their home country and the EU. Without the EU the poor countries would be way, way worse off.

Yeah, those silly people, blaming an EU that enforces a monetary policy for the benefit of Germany, imposes pro-corporate and anti-labour laws and agreements (Maastricht, Lisbon treaty, etc), and is ruled by backroom deals and "might is right", for their countries ills...

Obviously they were victims of the "Kremlin anti-western propaganda"...

Like Greece?

Yes, like Greece, who the EU helped by getting their creditors to back off and give up some of their claims.

after 2008 the EU had a gun to their had and were made to sign loans that they could never ever repay. they were lent that money because private citizens mostly owned their homes.

Yanis Varoufakis gives good insight into what happened. e.g. "The Euro Has Never Been More Problematic" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhSg9X3q2gc

Germany should not and can not be made responsible for bailing these countries out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtrrN2uWUl8

I am unlcear what point you are making. Are you saying the other EU member states should have let one of their own fail?

Is that what you believe? The EU bankrupted Greece then asset stripped them..

Asset stripping is generally what happens to those who are in default on their debts. The EU reduced that asset stripping from what the creditors could’ve demanded — but did not eliminate it entirely.

That’s happening everywhere. One of the reasons you have the wacky politics that you have now in the US is that the people left in flyover country aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed.

Russia is the most extreme example of the phenomenon.

- I lived in Germany

- lived in France

- now I live in Eastern EU

Seems like you're getting plenty of benefits out of the EU.

Most of the issues you mention, while acknowledging that they're real, are not caused by the EU.

free movement should be a human right. I lived a decade in Asia before returning to EU. I'd also move to different countries even if it would require a visa. That has never stopped me. I hope to go to India next year. Has little to do with the EU "giving me the benefit". I alone make that possible not some political entity.

free movement should be a human right

Yet it never is when crossing nations' borders, except within the EU. How can you then say that the EU is not functioning?

> free movement should be a human right.


> I alone make that possible not some political entity.

Except for the armed border guards, the national rules on who can work in a nation, the police who can deport you if you don’t obey the rules, sure.

yeah. I was ignorantly thinking of those that follow the law, are highly skilled and are welcomed into the country but didn't consider the folk who immigrate for economic reasons or refugees etc. sadly many will be prevented by a barrier if they have "the wrong type" of passport

> highly skilled and are welcomed into the country but didn't consider the folk who immigrate for economic reasons

Aren’t those often the same people?

Interesting. Germany and France have gotten plenty out of it. The Eastern EU is in the 'honeymoon' period, or rather being fattened for the milking...

Food in Italy is of extremely good quality and variety. I live in Bulgaria and fruits and vegetables are exceptional and extremely cheap. If you refer to supermarket food I may agree.

indeed Italy (and France) has some o the best food I ever bought. Germany can't compare even with what's available in a Le'clerc or Carrefour in France. yes I was mainly talking about supermarkets. In my current home I only buy stuff at the wet-market - e.g. directly from farmers because the chains just deliver crap. Even the higher prized items in supermarkets (which cost the same as Germany despite the salary differences) are terrible quality - literally nobody in Italy or France would eat those veg.

I wasn’t that impressed with French supermarkets, including Carrefour. Sure, Germany is the home of Lidl, Aldi, and Netto, but Rewe, Edeka, Kaufland, and Biomarkt are all at least as good as what I saw in France.

On the other hand, in the UK, Tesco, Waitrose, and Sainsbury’s are all at least as good as their German equivalents; and (beyond the EU) even the worst EU supermarket was better than almost every supermarket I saw in the USA.

shopping at carrefour Antibes with over 100 cashiers you could buy wines from €15 - €1500 in the same shop. Not just wines but fresh fish section that is bigger than some Kaufstadt shops in Germany themselves. The level of choice there was phenomenal (closer to US than anywhere else in Europe). Fresh whipped cream from the Normandie that costs €30,-- for 500ml (and you could taste it) ... exotic meats (goat, horse, pigeon, rabbit, fresh fois-gras ...). At the same time Germany had scandals with their "Klebefleisch" essentially meat that consists of lips+arseholes glued together to make it look like genuine ham ...

I never paid attention to the price of groceries when shopping in Germany because growing up poor I always had the attitude not to be stingy with food and only buy what appealed the most. Coming to France I had to pay attention and actually look at the label because I might pick stuff that I simply couldn't afford. Doing this in Germany I might end up paying for regular groceries 250,-- (avg feeding a family), while in France I might pay 800 or more if I didn't pay attention. The first few times had to actually return once the cashier presented my bill.

Exactly. The more corporations are involved the worst the food gets.

two line stuff is straight out lie?! I live in a small european country (same level as croatia, slovakia etc....) stuff in markets is good quality. local stuff stays here and gets sold to locals.

Brain drain is a thing that exists, but I argue it's not really a problem. I'm not going to address the other aspects of your comment for now at least.

I live in India, where complaints of brain drain are the main topic of discussion among adults here, and the main thing politicians love to blame when looking for excuses. There are no feasible ways to ""solve"" brain drain without either a) taking away people's choices - North Korea has no brain drain, or b) Making your country's incentives better so the problem becomes irrelevant. If you want b, then the term "brain drain" is bad because it is almost always seen as an attack on the choice of people moving out. Use a different, more specific, and more understandable term.

This is such an anecdotal experience that I don't even know why you posted it. With this kind of harsh judgement I would expect at least some sources.

google has you covered, but here some starters:

Germany tackles benefit abuse as migration soars from eastern EU https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-immigration/germa...

Germany benefits from the exploitation of Eastern European workers – a shocking documentary of BR television channel https://trans.info/en/germany-benefits-from-the-exploitation...

Europe's 'food apartheid': are brands in the east lower quality than in the west? https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/sep/15/europes-f...

Food brands 'cheat' eastern European shoppers with inferior products https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/sep/15/food-bran...

Most of it does not sound like issue with EU, but issue with specific countries. Polish people working through shady Polish companies in Germany is not EU issue, it is mostly Polish issue and partially German issue.

All of your examples strongly pattern-match to my sister-in-law. From a poor nation, moved to a rich one, brain drain, local economy a mess.

Trouble with your argument is she’s from the Philippines, which isn’t in the EU.

It’s not even a problem with globalisation, the usual next scapegoat, but a problem with unequal gains being combined with literally exponential growth. The EU does at least try to counteract that by getting all nations to invest 1% GDP in EU projects including projects designed to lift the poorest EU regions out of relative poverty.

How is any of that related to a non-functioning EU?

thank you for posting this

Shame it's not very informative.

> I live in a very poor EU country (out of choice) and most young people fuck off to Germany or France because their home states have no jobs for them. They don't come back either which causes a massive brain drain on these places.

> because the good stuff that is locally produced gets exported to the rich places

The cynic in me would say this is an example of the EU functioning very well, for it's intended purpose of funnelling resources to those of the equal who are more equal than others? ;)

Please read Article 13 and tell me it's sound. Spoiler: it's not.

FAANG will be pissed but I doubt it really makes a dent. Their focus is Asia (has been since 2 decades now). Us Europeans are just a sleepy backwater of old people with lot of history which makes for nice tax havens and retirement homes.

Even worse. They will be the ones which can comply. They can write legal terms, they can check real government identities and create a significant upload filter strategy.

They are the winners, not the losers here.

right! in a way it creates a couple of jobs but only for those who can program - somebody has to implement these policies into technical reality. looking at GDPR (which I fully support) it has created quite a large niche of specialized lawyers and people are now busy educating themselves about how to isolate PII. No doubt this bill will also produce quite a bit of demand for specialists. But it's hardly innovation.

As you say the small start-ups in Berlin & Paris are left in the dust because only the big ones have the resources to take care of this bureaucratic horse-manure.

In the long run we'll continue to dig our own graves while China and the US laughs.

I keep hearing this but most webapp style applications don't have a lot of PII.

Nobody knows yet what will and will not be GDPR PII. The law handwaved like crazy and they haven't even finished hiring all the officials who will interpret it.

2 decades is somewhat of an overstatement.

The focus of growth has always been on Asia afair (I can only speak for what I witnessed since the 70ies), ... first Japan, India & Tiger countries, later China. Even Brazil and LATAM for a long time had more focus then backward and technophobic Europe. It's not just demography because an old person in Asia will embrace new ideas and tech (my japanese father in law is 90ies and still excited over a new iPhone while my parents already gave up on anything digital in their 50ies - "just too hard they say")

your comment was about FAANG, of which Facebook wasn't founded, Amazon, Netflix, Google were all in their infancy.

Maybe apple,

Alternatively, with a little lobbying and a few tweaks, any 'platform' deemed not to be implementing sufficiently advanced filtering could be subject to ISP-level blocking / filtering.

This one's a double edged sword.

> [...] might [...]

Punitive measures on information like this rarely encourage anything. The worst part is people look at the intent and potential effects of legislation as though it is the actual, realized result. I have to assume the reason is a mix of naive optimism, anti-big-web-tech, and the inability to take the bad with the good so e feel obligated to keep shaping things. Real, actual teaching and encouraging and efforts and money and motive and all of that is far different from what's happening here.

The fact that they only know how to tear down and not to build will make it futile.

At best it will create a divergent protectionist demense while doing nothing to aid viability outside the market - and its help inside is dubious. Even outright banning Google and Facebook won't suddenly make Bing and Yahoo the next big thing. At best they will be the postum to the real coffee.

How. They are the ones who have the lawyers to protect themselves. It's the small platforms that will suffer, and creating startups in the user-generated content will be too risky.

The strategy is legal, political and economic harmonisation. It does this by passing vague legislation that requires its own court to interpret. Everything else, literally everything, is secondary. And so a nation state is born.

"In a weird way, this might be EU's strategy to finally deal significant damage to Google and Facebook,"

Yes, it' a strategy of their failing commercial entities to wring a profit out of entities like FB and G who they think are profiting.

Of course it's among the worst strategies available.

What they need is more innovation, not more regulation.

yes, this could be called the "anti-google act" of 2019 ... google is basically the only company it applies to. facebook has never been a major venue for piracy (afaik?) so i don't think it even affects them much.

however, it is a good thing. youtube has always been a massive for-profit piracy operation, and they just license and pay the people who are big enough to threaten them. all small content creators get the shaft. even google search is mostly a form of piracy. taking other people's content and slapping ads on it.

google needs to die and it is nice to see the EU helping here.

No, FAANG will not be targeted. Even GDPR which would have been able to piss of facebook was not used to attack them. Only small companies have been attacked because of GDPR violations. Inoffically they have told people they will not attack the big ones because they have enough lawyers so an attack on e.g. facebook will be too time consuming.

This is bullshit. EU was never too shy at attacking big American companies when they crossed the line.

When disagreeing, please reply to the argument instead of calling names. "This is bullshit. 1 + 1 is 2, not 3" can be shortened to "1 + 1 is 2, not 3.


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