The European Union has approved new copyright laws on digital content. They are to protect content providers from piracy and abuse of copyrighted material.
Sounds great, except…
If you use more than one word from a headline when you refer to an article, you are faced with a Use Tax or possible fine. And then it goes downhill…
From the Wall Street Journal: “But tech executives say making platforms responsible for ensuring that no unlicensed copyright material is uploaded to their services would create a costly obligation that would discourage smaller companies from offering services.
Supporters of the bill say they made changes to the parliament text to respond to critics from the tech industry by exempting “small and micro” platforms from the directive’s obligations. In addition, the law will exempt noncommercial encyclopedias like Wikipedia from the rules.
Nevertheless, the Wikimedia Foundation, parent of the online encyclopedia, has been one of the bill’s biggest detractors, saying it would hurt free expression. “It isn’t really about us,” said Jimmy Wales, Wikimedia’s founder. “It’s about the ecosystem we’re a part of.”
(Original article may be paywalled, so link is to The Passive Voice excerpt.)
If the entire thing is as bad as many fear, readers in the EU may find themselves blocked from large swaths of the Internet, and writers may find that they can’t see references to themselves or their books (can’t find reviews, can’t hunt to see if someone is pirating your work). Based on my limited personal experience with European Union, bureaucracy the overkill will be way overkill, and then there will be special carve-outs that will come and go at the whim of tech employees of the EU bureaucracy. As far as protecting Intellectual Property? Well, if no one is permitted to look at your work without paying a government fee, it might indeed cut down on thefts and copying, as well as sales.