EDiMA > News > #Getthefacts before the copyright vote on 12 September

#Getthefacts before the copyright vote on 12 September

On 12 September MEPs will vote on amendments to the JURI Committee’s report on the Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market. Ahead of the vote, EDiMA would like to provide insight into how certain proposals under Article 13 function in reality, and some examples of how both Articles 11 and 13 will inevitably impact the different ways users engage with content online.

Click Below to Get the facts on:

  1. Error rates in content filtering technologies
  2. Cost of filtering technology
  3. Sharing holiday pictures under Article 13
  4. Sharing festival videos under Article 13
  5. Sharing football selfies under Article 13
  6. Sharing family events online under Article 13
  7. Posting memes under Article 13
  8. Sharing ceremonies under Article 13
  9. Uploading clips of school plays under Article 13
  10. Sharing news articles under Article 11

 

1. Error rates in content filtering technologies

Did you know that automatic filter software often gets it wrong?

For example, in 2016, a photo of one of Copenhagen’s most-visited tourist attractions, the world-famous Little Mermaid statue was censored on Facebook due to nudity.

Filters have incorrectly flagged lots of user uploads as copyright-infringements in the past. White noise, birds chirping and cats purring have all been victims of the filters errors.

Even the best filtering software is prone to errors and often leads to censorship in situations that are perfectly allowed. At the moment the filters flag the content but the proposed law would turn this into a pre-upload filter.

Like it or not, if platforms are made liable for all copyright-protected content uploaded by users, automatic filters will be implemented to protect them from liability. Automated filtering of all content uploaded is likely to cause even more mistakes, censoring content where there is no breach of copyright. A recent analysis has shown that 1,000 pieces of legitimate content will end up being taken down in pursuit of just 1 infringing one.

See an analysis of how imperfect automated filters are here: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1015594170424193024.html

2. Cost of filtering technology

Did you know that automatic filtering software is hugely expensive?

One of the commonly touted solutions available is that of Audible Magic, a private company selling filtering software. According to a study, the estimated price for a medium-sized service provider using Audible Magic is in the range of €100,000-€250,000 per year. This software also is only capable of detecting audio. For lots of other content, no solution is currently available. (more here).

Startups and small to medium sized service providers cannot be expected to spend this money on preventing lawsuits from big music labels.

Platforms hosting content will need to satisfy legal concerns by taking ‘appropriate measures’. If they are sued by rights holders, the only way they can demonstrate to a court that they are doing enough to prevent the upload of copyrighted content is by implementing automatic filters.

An analysis of the impeding effect of the filtering software on everyone affected in the market was published recently by Allied for Startups. See their analysis here: http://alliedforstartups.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2018/06/Impact-of-a-content-filtering-mandate-2018-06-07.pdf

3. Sharing holiday pictures under Article 13

Did you share photos with family and friends while on your holidays this summer? Did you know that the copyright directive may change how you can share photos like this?

To be sure to be legally compliant, platforms like Twitter and Facebook will need to put in place automatic filters and hire staff to scan each holiday snap BEFORE you upload it and determine if you are allowed or not because of copyright claims.

Only this summer, the Flemish Tourism board and museums had pictures of a master painter blocked by Facebook due to nudity. The museums mocked Facebook in a video where they hired “social media police agents” who physically block gallery-goers with a Facebook account from viewing nude paintings to show the silliness of this in real life. The filter could not differentiate between the master painter’s work and a nude photo.

Another example of this problem is the Eiffel Tower’s famous light show. The light display on the Eiffel Tour is copyright-protected and under this proposal could result in your pictures of the light show being blocked. The light displays around the Pyramids of Egypt, even the lights at Christmas time in Grand Place in Brussels…these are all copyright protected and filters could block you uploading pictures of them!

It is because of these concerns and other consequences that Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip has called on the European Parliament to find a way forward to protect copyright online without a general monitoring obligation being the likely outcome.

See Vice-President Ansip’s call for a better solution here: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/commissioners/2014-2019/ansip/blog/crunch-time-copyright-europe-needs-find-best-way-forward_en

4. Sharing festival videos under Article 13

Did you catch a concert or music festival this summer?

Sharing a short video on Instagram of musicians and bands performing at a concert is of second nature to us all. Did you know that under the copyright directive this would likely become impossible?

If the copyright directive passes as is, online platforms will be effectively obliged to implement automatic filter software to detect copyrighted content to avoid being sued by huge music labels.

This software would block you sharing even just a short video of the concert as you would not own the copyright.

5. Sharing football selfies under Article 13

Did you post pics or videos of the World Cup games online? The copyright directive might make that impossible next time round.

Images and videos of the World Cup matches are protected by copyright so even celebratory videos and photos with the game in the background could get blocked under the proposed copyright reforms.

If the copyright directive passes as is, online platforms will be effectively obliged to implement automatic filter software to detect copyrighted content to avoid being sued by the likes of FIFA.

This software will scan your video or photo BEFORE you upload it but it can’t tell if the image or video is only in the background. If it has the World Cup game in the background, the software will stop you uploading it.

Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, tweeted a video of himself cheering for the Belgian national team but unfortunately for him the game playing on the TV in the background was detected by the automated filtering software and was taken down. Under the proposed laws, this tweet would never even make it up.

6. Sharing family events online under Article 13

Have you recently shared a video of a family event online? Did you know that it might be blocked by the copyright Directive?

If the copyright directive passes as is, online platforms will be effectively obliged to implement automatic filter software to detect copyrighted content to avoid being sued by huge music labels.

For example, if you want to share a video of a sibling’s first dance at their wedding, you risk having it blocked online due to the copyright Directive.

Music in the background of a video will be caught by the automatic software detecting copyright and will block you sending or sharing this video with family and friends.

7. Posting memes under Article 13

Did you know that the copyright reform will make sharing widely-popular memes online a thing of the past?

Memes come mostly from TV shows and films, and in many countries are exempt from copyright laws as they’re a parody exception. Sadly, software can’t detect humour or parody and upload filters will block them BEFORE upload.

If the copyright Directive passes as is, online platforms will be effectively obliged to implement automatic filter software to detect copyrighted content to avoid being sued by huge music labels. Memes are just one form of expression likely to be blocked.

8. Sharing ceremonies under Article 13

Did you know that even ceremonies will be affected by the copyright directive?

Religious ceremonies, graduations, and inauguration ceremonies, all typically include music. Even if

ceremonies are given exemption from the rules, software which will scan and filter BEFORE uploads won’t be able to tell that it’s exempt.

If the copyright directive passes as is, online platforms will be effectively obliged to implement automatic filter software to detect copyrighted content to avoid being sued by huge music labels. Religious ceremonies are just one form of expression likely to be blocked.

Music included in these ceremonies will prevent videos of from being uploaded and shared due to copyright.

9. Uploading clips of school plays under Article 13

Did you know that the copyright directive could prevent you from sharing a video of your child’s school play?

Music in the background of a school play is fairly commonplace but this music will be picked up by automatic filter software BEFORE you even upload the video. The software can’t tell that it’s a school play and will likely prevent the upload of the clip.

If the copyright directive passes as is, online platforms will be effectively obliged to implement automatic filter software to detect copyrighted content to avoid being sued by huge music labels. School plays are just one form of expression likely to be blocked.

10. Sharing news articles under Article 11 

Did you know that the copyright could restrict you sharing news articles online?

If you share a news article on Twitter or Facebook you get a short few lines of text on the article, the title, an image and the link. If the copyright directive passes this might be returned to the days of the early internet where only links were displayed with no snippet. This could also prevent you from sharing snippets on your own blog too.

The copyright directive will allow news publishers to prevent internet platforms, and bloggers alike from providing snippets of their articles if the news publisher wants the blog or internet platform to pay money for this snippet.

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