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It seems like rights holders have realized that carpet bombing is a cheap and "effective" strategy. There are reports (https://youtu.be/JwG0bQ7WC3c) of music copyright holders reporting the use of even a single chord in YouTube videos. This strategy appears to be having a chilling effect across multiple platforms.

Copyright claims are super easy to make at scale, but the platforms themselves cannot investigate at scale, meaning the small guy suffers. Yes, redditers who are truly infringing should have their posts removed, but the result of trigger-happy, likely bot controled complaints is having an effect on legal speech.




After the new EU copyright directive passed parliament, I went on a bit of a hunt for reasons. Outside Germany, we simply didn't get traction for protest. And one reason people gave was "it won't be enforcable anyhow".

This here clearly shows what Germans have known for years thanks to our stupid "Abmahnwesen" legal abnormality: enforcement is not the bottleneck when private entities sue other private entities. It won't be a Hadopi-style government institution petitioning $youtube to take down any videos at the threat of a mild fine. It will be $sony suing the crap out of $youtube with the prospect of millions and millions in reparations. There is zero reason to believe they will be anything less than maximally-aggressive in doing so, and so they will provide all the incentive $youtube needs to block everything that has a hint of a smell of copyrighted material.

And bear in mind, the EU regulation defines $youtube in a way that potentially includes most small forum operators, virtually every community built by a small corporation etc. And there's equally no reason to believe those will be spared by the copyright industry and their lawyers.


> And one reason people gave was "it won't be enforcable anyhow".

This has been a surprisingly common view in France* for a long time. I consider it an unfortunate attitude that breeds cynicism and allows laws to be passed that simply express a desire, rather than laws that might make things better. I understand there can be protest exhaustion and one has to pick one's battles.

* I mention France by name only because the only European countries I've lived in are France and Germany.


In Estonia there was barely any talk about article 13. When it passed it was a 3 sentence article in the national newspaper. We had some follow up later, but it was mostly a politician saying that everything's fine.

People are unaware.


> Copyright claims are super easy to make at scale, but the platforms themselves cannot investigate at scale, meaning the small guy suffers.

They don't have to investigate. They could simply follow the procedure given in the DMCA.

1. Rights holder sends a notice claiming infringement and meeting the various requirements for such a notice given in the DMCA.

2. The service provider removes the material and promptly notifies the user who put the material up.

3. The user can file a counter notice, disputing that the material infringes.

4. The service provider passes the counter notice back to the rights holder. If the rights holder does not file an infringement lawsuit against the user within 14 days, the service provider puts the material back up.

If they do this, this gets the service provider off the hook for liability to the rights holder if it turns out that the work infringes, and it gets them off the hook for any liability to the user if it turns out that the work does not infringe.

A rights holder could send notices for ridiculous things, like things that are obviously fair use, but unless they are willing to actually go to court they will just get counter notices for most and the material will go back up.

The sites that have implemented their own systems that take down upon any claim and make it hard or impossible for the poster to dispute this are going way beyond what the law requires them to do.


Even if they go back up again it still requires a lot of effort to counter notice it, because it requires a human to do so. The claim is lobbed by an algorithm though.

There need to be severe consequences for claiming everything.


Good. The more damage copyright holders do to the public, the more people understand why the idea of owning ideas is stupid.


This is a common misunderstanding. Copyright does not allow you to own an idea -- there is nothing in the law to allow that. Instead it gives you a right to copy something. Specifically, it gives you an exclusive right. When people talk about "intellectual property" the are referring to owning rights with respect to some intellectual concept, not owning the intellectual concept itself. The very common confusion that you seem to suffer from is the reason why the FSF has previously recommended that people don't use the term "intellectual property" -- because it is very misleading.

I could rephrase your statement as "...the more people understand why the idea of granting exclusive rights to an intellectual concept is stupid". I suspect it doesn't materially change your feeling on the subject, but it's important to discuss these things as they really are, or else people will just dismiss your argument without thinking about it.


Copyright is not a property right, but it relates to ideas the same as property right relates to real life objects: both define what one can do with the subject. IMHO, one of the reasons why the copyright has gained success is because of existing cognitive bias[0]: people desire to treat ideas like physical objects, or as close to that as possible, because they have no other concept of what ideas are. I sometimes use figures of speech like "to own an idea" as a way to say the above succinctly, though it is indeed confusing when interpreted literally.

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


This seems like a direct knock on effect of the ridiculous asymmetry in legal liability. Due to the draconian way the DMCA works all the content platforms have their own informal process. The informal process involves no liability for a false claim so as a result you get this mass claiming.

Here's a fun point though - the DMCA is draconian partly because platforms like Youtube enabled mass piracy in order to capture market share when they were small. The costs of Youtube's illegal activity early on is now being passed on to their users today.


The DMCA was passed in 1998, how is a company established in 2005 responsible for the law being draconian? Not even Napster was around in time to influence the DMCA.


People were sharing copyrighted material on Usenet throughout the 90s. Piracy long-predated the DMCA.


The DMCA is not draconian, and in fact is a pretty even handed law. Its implementation by the various platforms is what's draconian - a mostly automated system that defers to rights holders without any sort of real appeals process.


Because the DMCA allows it. If you want an even-handed process, mandate it. It's the same problem (well, one of them) that the EU equivalent is now presenting: all the incentives for overblocking, no incentive to prevent it.


One of my favourite torrent sites decided to go private because of DMCA takedown requests. That probably wouldn't work for Reddit. But it just illustrates that the pirate ship will keep on sailing even if you can't see it.


If you can't see it, it will also be harder for casual pirates to find. It's basically impossible to stop piracy, but it can be made more difficult, and that could have a significant impact.


There seriously should be a law against such "carpet bombing".


The hated copyright directive contains provisions that require the creation of mechanism for challenging wrongful take downs, which if implemented properly would resolve the issue.


Except that it will only apply in the case of a real copyright takedown notice. Platforms don't like dealing with legal disputes, so they will create their own way to send notices of infringement. A platform doesn't have to publish your work, which means that their private solution for takedowns will not be held to that requirement.

It's the EU, so the law being divorced from reality is to be expected.


I'm sure you have a very coherent argument for how platforms can do any sensible sort of censorship at all without collaborating with the IP holders, at which point the 17.7 et all would apply.

In the end though, it is the ECJ that will decide if your head canon has any relevance for this topic.


Why do YouTube and others allow mass reporting at scale? They should use a CAPTCHA for each reported URL to ensure that the reports are being sent by humans.


They would probably be held liable under DMCA if they did that.




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