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Sweden will vote against the copyright deal/article 13 (twitter.com)
254 points by doener 15 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 85 comments

The title of the article is not properly translated. "Sverige vill ändra" actually means "Swedens wants to change", not "will change". Also, "Sweden", in this case is the "EU committee" of the Swedish parliament. The committee wants the government to vote no. The matter isn't final yet I guess.

The responsible minister Morgan Johansson has said that the government will abide by the parliaments decision:

"We have an order that we should anchor decisions in the Riksdag, now that the Riksdag has changed its attitude, the government will of course have to follow it."


The Swedish article linked in the tweet concludes that the Swedish vote makes absolutely no difference, and the only thing that can change the result is Germany changing its mind.

Does Germany have a disproportionate amount of control over the EU? Or are you saying the support is already split and Germany is the deciding factor in this case? Or both?

They have a proportionate control over the EU due to their population. Right now the vote went to the council where it needs a qualified majority (I think). This means that 55% of the member states (16) have to vote for it and 65% of the population has to have voted for it.

Just to note first about the other answers: the EU Parliament is really not very important. Most decisions are made within the Council, which as said elsewhere, votes based on population weight. The Parliament does seem to exercise real power over the Commission but beyond that...not much.

Germany is influential because they have a large population i.e. high vote weight in the Council AND they lead a bloc of other nations with similar values (Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, etc.).

It is worth noting though: the UK leaving the EU will likely change this (they usually voted with Germany and had a 13% weight of the EU population). Germany will likely retain some moral leadership but, at the very least, a blocking minority vote (35% of population and 4 members) is possible (the most likely scenario is a France/Italy combination with two other minor members).

In this case, the parliament and council are equally important as they both have to adopt identical versions of the proposal as per the ordinary legislative procedure.

It is not really about certain countries having more control than others. Germany has the largest population in the EU, and since MEPs apportionment is proportional to population, 99 out of 785 MEPs are German. It's a matter of demographics.

MEPs are not directly proportional to population, but degressively so, where the smallest countries have more and the largest countries have less representation than they would on a purely proportional basis. But this is about Sweden's vote in the Council, where each country casts a vote as a country, but that vote is weighted by that country's population.

Germany will in fact have the worst ratio of population per member of parliament after the 2019 elections, with 860k people per MEP vs Maltas 77k people per MEP, on the other end of the scale:


Wow. That's even worse than the US Electoral College (where California has approximately 700k people per vote while Wyoming has only approximately 200k people per vote).

Worth bearing in mind, however, that this is a deliberate decision stemming from the founding of the ECSC – the goal being to make sure that votes in smaller member states have additional political power to help offset the de facto greater economic and soft power of larger states.

Like all of these things, it's a bit of a fudge and it's reasonable to ask if it's the right approach – but it's not an accidental outcome.

That’s true of the Electoral College as well, but doesn’t and shouldn’t insulate it from criticism.

Is there an Optimal Constituency Algorithm that one can apply to their government to ensure less populous constituencies still get represented?

You say worse, but these discrepancies are by design, both in the US and EU. They’re there to stop much larger interests from steamrollering smaller but different interests that they might not care about or understand

That all comes with some strings attached, as the very same people who negotiated that compromise in US have noted:

"If a pertinacious minority can control the opinion of a majority, respecting the best mode of conducting it, the majority, in order that something may be done, must conform to the views of the minority; and thus the sense of the smaller number will overrule that of the greater, and give a tone to the national proceedings. Hence, tedious delays; continual negotiation and intrigue; contemptible compromises of the public good. And yet, in such a system, it is even happy when such compromises can take place: for upon some occasions things will not admit of accommodation; and then the measures of government must be injuriously suspended, or fatally defeated. It is often, by the impracticability of obtaining the concurrence of the necessary number of votes, kept in a state of inaction. Its situation must always savor of weakness, sometimes border upon anarchy.


It is not difficult to discover, that a principle of this kind gives greater scope to foreign corruption, as well as to domestic faction, than that which permits the sense of the majority to decide; though the contrary of this has been presumed. The mistake has proceeded from not attending with due care to the mischiefs that may be occasioned by obstructing the progress of government at certain critical seasons. When the concurrence of a large number is required by the Constitution to the doing of any national act, we are apt to rest satisfied that all is safe, because nothing improper will be likely to be done, but we forget how much good may be prevented, and how much ill may be produced, by the power of hindering the doing what may be necessary, and of keeping affairs in the same unfavorable posture in which they may happen to stand at particular periods.


It may happen that this majority of States is a small minority of the people of America; and two thirds of the people of America could not long be persuaded, upon the credit of artificial distinctions and syllogistic subtleties, to submit their interests to the management and disposal of one third. The larger States would after a while revolt from the idea of receiving the law from the smaller. To acquiesce in such a privation of their due importance in the political scale, would be not merely to be insensible to the love of power, but even to sacrifice the desire of equality. It is neither rational to expect the first, nor just to require the last. The smaller States, considering how peculiarly their safety and welfare depend on union, ought readily to renounce a pretension which, if not relinquished, would prove fatal to its duration."

(Federalist Papers, #22)

This was originally written to explain why one-state-one-vote arrangement that existed under the Articles of Confederation was not an acceptable arrangement. But it clearly applies to EC and similar systems as well - the only question is where the "fatal" line is.

That was done intentionally to insulate the smaller/less populated states from the control of larger/more populated states.

So, if I'm understanding this right, it's in Germany and Sweden's own political interests to significantly increase their populations?

It’s in most countries’ political interests to increase their populations, if they can feed them.

Not really. You have one vote in the council per country. For it to be a majority you need both the number of countries >55% and the amount of population >65%. Population is defined as people with "usual residence"in the country. I can't find clarity on this right now but eg refugees would normally not be included. So it's really long term population increase which is rather rare in Europe.

With 83 million people Germany has 16.18% of EU residents (18.5% post Brexit). Adding 1 million increases the weight by around ~.18% (or ~.23% post Brexit) - assuming you get people from outside the EU and thus an overall EU population increase. Thinking strategically, you could think this matters if this is a long term trend. But factually you have to have quite a lot of shifting population (within-EU migration) to change the set of possible alliances that can reach 65%.

Moreover, even the smallest country retains their individual voting weight, so if one country grew so big to overshadow all others they could still reign it in through majority vote.

And then split into multiple smaller countries in order to get better vote per capita ratios.

Of course, an expert conspiracy theorist will note that the more or less culturally and linguistically homogeneous group of about twenty million people living in the north of Europe are already split into a vote-buffing four countries ...

> linguistically homogeneous group

I beg to differ. Finnish is as far removed from Swedish and Danish as Hungarian. Italian is probably closer to either than each other. Swedish and Danish are (at least on reading level) mutually intelligible.

There are about 20 million speakers of Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Faroese and Swedish (including native Swedish-speakers in Finland). If we added the Finnish-speaking population to the mix we'd end up with a population of over 25 million -- not 20.

That being said, I'd say Finns are quite close to the other Nordic countries culturally, even though there is a clear language barrier.

For those who don't know what this is about, Finnish and Sami aren't Indo-European languages like the other Nordic languages are, while Danish, Norwegian and Swedish are closely related and somewhat mutually intelligible.

Three countries. Norway is not part of the EU.

MEPs don't matter in this case. They've already voted. What matters now is how the EU Council votes. As far as I know, they need a qualified majority, meaning that 16 out of the 28 member states have to be for and 65% of the population of the union.

It's a canard to talk about this in terms of 'representation or votes'.

MEPs have very little power, and it was designed that way.

Were this democratic, the underlying MEP issues would have been integrated long ago as the MEPs would have had a hand in crafting the bill.

As it stands, they are a rubber stamp, or failsafe on some legislation.

MEP's cannot even punt the unelected entities which make the law in the EU - a democratic deficit which is unique in the modern world.

A better alternative to the A13 conundrum would be to 'start creating Googles' instead of having to legislate at them from 10K kilmoeters away.

It is fairly easy to calculate the support, after applying the voting rule[1]. Nonetheless, the decision is now in the hands of the EU Council. It is also irrelevant, whether or not there were any mutually beneficial exchanges between the Franco-German alliance to revive this directive, to be passed into law.

[1] https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/council-eu/voting-system/...

Considering Germany is the one that first proposed it, I'd say the chances of that happening are quite slim. You're better off convincing several other countries to vote against it.

Yeah. It pretty much says that the smaller countries changing their votes doesn't have any effect without for example Germany doing the same.

It's worse than that: the German press pretty much runs the show.


wtf is this crap? You're posting basically "any explanation at all" and saying that because it's an explanation, it's what you believe. Anyone could do that for anything

not really. This fits. Germany has much less power than it did during the Greek Crisis. It is in no position of throwing EU countries on its knees and destroying them economically anymore. It is in no position of forcing UK to stay in the EU. It is paralyzed by migrants, nice job CIA.

No worries in 20-30 years you will see it at the movies. Just remember where you read it first.

"It fits" is a really really low standard to believe something.

In theory I'd agree with you. In practice so many people hold so many beliefs directly contradicted by completely unambiguous evidence that "it fits" is already a substantial step ahead of many individual's views. But more importantly, it's important that some people can and do hold divergent views rather than everybody all adopting the one most probable view.

The reason is that most probable does not mean right, and those who hold divergent views can help progress society by pursuing research in things that others would find to be a waste of time. In cases where they happen to be correct, the introduction of compelling evidence (beyond "it fits") can help reshape our understanding and ultimately change what the 'most probable' view is!

A tangent on a tangent, but if people required their views start with the standard of "it fits", I think that'd be one giant leap forward for society as a whole!

Germany is busy building Putin pipeline to bypass all other EU countries, and will vote whatever France tells them to vote in exchange for the support.

Good, more countries should have opposed this corrupt censorship bill.

Europe was pretty torn and I got the impression that votes were ”for” by default and ”against” where there was an ongoing public debate. If true, I hope that was more due to politicians misunderstanding the consequences due to technical obstacles rather than lobbyism...

The arguments in favor have also been strange, even from institutions like the Swedish EU Commision! They argued that this directive was no big deal because social networks already employ AI assisted filters to respect copyrights. Yeah, but those are also known to be heavy handed, and depend on huge training sets. It completely disregards small businesses and startups with no resources to deal with this.

It doesn't look like misunderstanding. There was more than enough information about how bad this bill is. I'd blame corruption here.

I would argue on the contrary, that this bill is massively helpful and much in line with the EU's focus on reigning in abuse by the tech industry. It'd be far preferable to implement this as-is and fix edge cases if needed than fail to act against these behemoths now.

I won't agree that a horrendous censorship bill is helfpul for anyone, except for corrupt supporters of police state methodology and control freaks from the obsolete industries who don't care about human rights as long as they can extend their information control craze (under pretense for copyright) to further reaches to satisfy their thirst for power. They are the abusers here and they should be stopped.

Human rights is at the forefront of my mind. Privacy is a human right, and these companies and these social platforms have been abusing it. Copyright protection is hardly "censorship", and contrary to the marketing and popular belief on the matter, all of the well-understood protections for fair use remain intact with this law.

> Copyright protection is hardly "censorship"

It often is. Because by its nature, copyright is about restricting information flow, and therefore it naturally can conflict with free speech, especially when copyright maximalists go overboard with it (which they always do).

So any kind of abusive copyright initiative should always be a suspect as attack on free speech. And this case is a very obvious example.

Is this someone exercising free speech? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glBB_Ftky8I

It's not abusive to point out that finding full episodes of copyrighted shows in their entirety has been trivial and that YouTube benefits significantly from distributing stolen content.

The reality is, tech companies have had over a decade to demonstrate that they could behave themselves, manage their own platforms, and balance the needs of both content creators and the public.

They failed, and it's time for the party to end.

Let me put it very simply for you. Those who try to extend the copyright in all directions are often proponents of censorship and police state methodology. It's commonly the same ones who push for DRM and anti-circumvention laws.

Example: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/GeoHot/

Public should not tolerate such kind of garbage, especially when corrupt politicians lie through their teeth about the consequences of such kind of laws.

The bill will hit smaller business much harder than real behemoths, thus strengthening the rule of big American corporations which can afford content filtering.

This argument is made every time regulation against big companies is brought to the table, and it's almost always made... by big companies. If it were true, and it isn't, why would big companies be spending so much money fighting these regulations?

Automated content filtering fails to meet the requirements of the EU article, so it will disproportionately impact large companies which rely on those systems, rather than smaller ones which use human moderation teams.

This is a case where big companies are fighting against other big companies, so this argument is moot.

Automated content filtering is a required part of the requirements. It is not enough. But neither is human moderation.

Besides. If human moderation would cost less than filtering, big companies would choose that alternative. Instead, they are now able to sell filter access to small companies. So money flows from small to big companies.

> why would big companies be spending so much money fighting these regulations?

Because the costs are onerous to everyone and it's not worth spending ten billion dollars in compliance costs to destroy competitors who were only costing you a billion dollars in revenue to begin with and are very useful to have around to fend off antitrust inquiries.

And if it won't negatively impact small tech companies then why are so many small tech companies against it?

> Automated content filtering fails to meet the requirements of the EU article, so it will disproportionately impact large companies which rely on those systems, rather than smaller ones which use human moderation teams.

Hardly anything disproportionately impacts large entities. If a small entity can do something, the large entity can just do the same thing more times, and then optimize any parts of it that are susceptible to economies of scale.

And converting something you can do to something you have to do will always disproportionately impact small entities. What happens when your moderator goes on vacation? If you're YouTube you have a million more of them, if you're a single person business the moderator is you and now you can never take a vacation from it, even when you're about to burn out.

And you can't just have moderators anymore, now you need moderators who know how to make their moderation comply with the new law. Even assuming the cost of training a moderator is the same, now the larger company has the advantage again because they're using full-time moderators instead of spending the founder's time to learn how to do it themselves even though they only spend 10% of their day doing moderation. And then spend 10% of their day doing that when it used to be 3% because now there are more rules to comply with.

The way you make a requirement disproportionately impact large companies is by only applying it to large companies, say ones with a billion in revenue or more. But they haven't done that.

This isn't a "regulation against big companies" though, this is a direct attack on free speech and a power grab by copyright maximalists, who are feeling that their industries are getting obsolete and want to tax everyone to compensate for their own failures (like the link tax and the like). I'd say let them crash and fail, no one owns them anything just because they can't compete.

It's impossible to argue with your portrayal of the law, as opposed to what it actually says, so I'm going to have to just agree to disagree with you. There is no "link tax", nor is there a "meme ban". Both of these concepts are not actually based in the law, but in marketing of those opposed to it.

I suppose you missed Article 11, which a link tax: https://juliareda.eu/eu-copyright-reform/extra-copyright-for...

That's an additional garbage to Article 13, which is a censorship law (upload filters). Above I commented on Article 11 when talking about obsolete industries trying to leech their more successful rivals.

Article 11 is not a link tax, because it, surprisingly, doesn't tax links. Julia Reda is opposed to the copyright legislation, and has chosen to re-define it as a "link tax" because it helps her push her agenda. She spends a LOT of time meeting with Google and organizations directly funded by Google, which she does, helpfully, disclose on her website.

Article 11 is a very clear attack on linking driven by legacy news and similar industries which are losing money in the Internet age and whining that everyone should pay them now, "just because" (read they can't properly compete).

If you want more in depth review of this, check Techdirt articles on the topic: https://www.techdirt.com/blog/?tag=article+11

But I doubt you would - since you simply will say "it's not that". I see no point in arguing then.

Article 11 is a protection against massive content theft by large companies against smaller ones. A great example is what happened here: https://theoutline.com/post/1399/how-google-ate-celebritynet...

Additionally, "legacy news" are losing money because tech companies are shifting profits from ads on those news sites to their own platforms. Here's a chart showing how Google has shifted the ad revenue balance since 2004: https://twitter.com/jason_kint/status/1055606344559063040

Essentially, it used to be that Google provided a real service to these news companies, by providing an ad network where both news organizations and Google could profit. But over time, they've shifted their ad revenue away from the model that requires they share it to ads that they alone profit from. This has slowly but surely bled journalism dry.

Essentially, these news companies can't figure out how to reach more people, and because of that, they decided that others have to pay them for what they don't do. I'd call that extortion. It's the same level of stupidity as "blank media tax" and other similar extortion ideas.

Linking is not infringing anything, and should not be taxable. All this "massive theft" whining is complete bunk.

The actual law might not explicitly mandate upload filters but they are the only way to comply with the law other than just shutting down in the EU of course.

This isn't really true. In fact, my understanding is that the text wholly prohibits relying solely on an automated system, as opposed to human appeals and moderators. An appeal process is required to protect your ability to upload content that you have the right to upload, YouTube would no longer be able to arbitrarily punish you with no way of contesting their decision.

It might be financially challenging for large, abusive platforms which are heavily built on pirating copyrighted content, but it shouldn't be much of a challenge for ordinary websites, blogs, and smaller sharing platforms. Consider that a personal website may have the site owner bother to moderate the comments manually. A small business may have to hire a moderator or two. YouTube may need to hire 10,000 people and may have problems.

I've mailed with an MP who wanted this legislation. She admitted the automatic filters are de facto required as there are no better options available. This was unfortunate. She expressed hope that smart people would step up and find a better solution.

So basically the people who voted for this law disagree with you.

It's also pretty dumb to vote for something, knowing it will end up in a mess since there is no good solution for it. Excuse of "someone smart will find one" is outrageous. Let them first find a solution, before voting for something that becomes a requirement already now.

> In fact, my understanding is that the text wholly prohibits relying solely on an automated system, as opposed to human appeals and moderators. An appeal process is required to protect your ability to upload content that you have the right to upload, YouTube would no longer be able to arbitrarily punish you with no way of contesting their decision.

This is a farce. They already have this. The automated system decides to spit out a false positive, then you appeal to a "human" who has neither the time nor the expertise to make a reasonable determination so they just rubber stamp whatever the automated system said and its incorrect determination stands.

EU bigwigs already explicitly admitted, that now everyone has to implement upload filters, despite before lying through their teeth that filters won't be mandatory. Corrupt hypocrites.

How will a human moderation team know if something I post to for example HN is my original content? I assume text is covered by this bill?

> It'd be far preferable to implement this as-is and fix edge cases

It looks to me like the "edge cases" constitute the majority.

Those laws hurt small companies and small creators more than they hurt behemoths with large legal departments and already implemented filters.

I responded to an almost identical comment here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19617420

People seem too simply not know what goes on in the EU. And even if they do they feel powerless about it in smaller countries. I'm in an ex-Soviet country and some of the older people I've talked to about it have said that they think they have as much of a say in the EU as they did in the Soviet Union. (Which is none.)

Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia - the only ex-soviet member states - sure as hell have way more say in the EU than they did when they weren't even countries under USSR. Those older people are deluded.

Not only do they each have 1/28th of the vote in the Council, they are over-represented in the Parliament. Those folks you mentioned probably don't even realize they have the right to vote for local representatives in the European Parliament. In fact, look at population per MEP:

State Pop MEPs Pop/MEP Influence

Malta 0.4 5 80,800 10.30

Cyprus 0.77 6 127,667 6.52

Estonia 1.34 6 224,000 3.72

Lithuania 3.4 12 283,583 2.94

Slovenia 2 7 286,143 2.91

Latvia 2.3 8 286,875 2.90


Germany 82.43 99 832,606 1.00

UK 60.64 72 839,194 0.99

France 62.89 72 873,417 0.95

Spain 43.76 50 875,160 0.9

The point of democracy is that individuals, or even small groups of individuals have almost no say in governance.

So, yes, you are supposed to attach yourself to larger umbrella movements, to get your opinions heard. It's by design.

One other small difference between the EU, and the USSR, is that T-54 tanks don't start rolling in, when your country decides to hold a little regime change... Or even a general strike.

>One other small difference between the EU, and the USSR, is that T-54 tanks don't start rolling in, when your country decides to hold a little regime change... Or even a general strike.

T-54 are quite outdated, so you're right there.

The point of democracy is to prevent a minority of society from dictating the rules to the majority by excluding it from governance. It doesn't necessarily imply that individuals or small groups have almost no say in governance, especially on matters where they're uniquely affected.

I thought the vote already happened? How can they change it?

It only passed in the parliament, hasn't passed the council yet (bicameral legislature like in the US and many other countries).


Sweden wants to change its vote on “Article 13” — here are the ways it can trap the directive

twitter is being evil with the back button now? click on the link, then click on one of the tweet replies.. then try going back to HN, twitter won't have that!

Use the native back button (if on Android) instead of Twitter's back button. It's been like that since a long time.

Chrome 73 on Windows 10, the site is definitely hijacking the browser's back button. Spamming it works, but a single press is not enough to get away from Twitter.

Worth investigating whether this is due to a redirect, or whether it's due to misusing the history API. Either way, it feels very user-hostile.

Can anyone explain why browsers allow this?

Surely it's not technically hard to make "back" actually go back. Is there some downside to letting users control their own screen that I'm not aware of?

I imagine that Twitter is abusing the HTML5 history API. It's a Web specification. It can be useful when used right, but any scriptable functionality is open for abuse.

I'm not up on HTML5 APIs. But I do know that it is entirely possible for a browser to have a button labelled "back" that goes back. Always.

Why don't they have it? Fear that something horrible will happen on some web page that relies on the user not exiting the page without control going throw their code? But such a web page is broken in any case, since the user might simply lose their internet connection...

Consider a single-page web app - what does "back" mean in that context? Only the app really knows, the browser doesn't have enough knowledge about its logical UI flow to figure that out. Hence why the history API was introduced, so that app can change parts of the page, and then manually record that change in the browser history in a way that allows for it to be reverted.

In practice, it was a problem ever since AJAX first became a thing - with the symptom usually being that "back" didn't do what the users expected, e.g. navigated away from the website, rather than back to the previous page state on that website. Hence why it's one of the earlier HTML5 additions. It's been around for 9 years now, and heavily used all around.

I think users want a "back" button that goes back to where they were before they visited this web page. The browser knows how to do this. It doesn't need to know anything about the app running on that web page.

If the app on that web page wants a button that undoes some state change on that web page, they can create one of their own. It seems like a bad idea to confuse these two very different actions. I don't think it's beyond the capacity of users to understand the distinction if it were actually made consistently.

Most pages these days are like web apps in that they do partial refreshes rather than navigating to a completely new page (with most of the same markup) as you click around. From user's perspective, this looks like a new page, and logically it is. They don't care about how it is actually achieved.

For example, on GitHub, when you're browsing some source repo, and you open a folder there, do you expect the Back button to go to the previous folder, or to leave GitHub altogether?

Well, I"m arguing that combining two functions in one button is a bad idea. I expect there to be a button to leave github altogether, and a different button to move back within github.

Browsers have never worked that way, though. If GitHub was written back in late 90s, say, every time you clicked on a folder in the file tree, you'd get a page refresh with a new URL - and then the Back button would just go back to the previous URL.

Now, they do the refresh by fetching data from a web service and updating the DOM. But the URLs still change - as they should, since you are accessing different resources as you browse - and so the history tracks it accordingly.

The only time when we had something like you describe was in early Ajax days, when DOM updates were already done, but before the history API, and before the hacks that preceded it were devised. In those days, any website that did it would behave exactly as you described - the Back button in the browser would navigate off the website, even if you were clicking around it for the past hours. And then the website offered its own Back button implemented in HTML, that would navigate within it. Users hated it, because it broke all established conventions.

Seems like long press (at least Firefox and Chromium) does what you want: show a menu of all possible back locations.

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