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Jan Krohn

EU copyright reform, article 13, and possible impact on WinCert

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Dear Community,

If you've not yet looked into the details of the upcoming copyright reform in the EU, the following will shock you. No matter whether you're located in the EU or not, this will impact you, as all online portals that have a presence in the EU will need to comply.

The proposed directive has just passed through the EU Committee of Legal Affairs, and will be voted upon by the EU Parliament on 23 March. If the directive passes through parliament as well, it will become binding law throughout the entire EU by 23 March 2021.

So what does it mean, not only for WinCert, but every other online forum located in the EU, and even big portals like Twitter, Facebook, Youtube etc. that also have EU presences?

1. It will force upload filters on all these portals (article 13).

So what are upload filters? Think about YouTube. They developed an upload filter that automatically tests any uploaded video for copyright violations, and automatically rejects any video that is flagged. Development of that thing cost them more than 100 million dollars, and it doesn't work properly.

Everything that is user contributed (text, images, videos etc.) would have to be filtered through that software. As of now, it's a technology that exists exactly once on this planet, developed by Google/Youtube… They will set the pricing. They will decide who they're gonna allow access to it.

Failure to comply with this requirement would be more or less equal to shutting down the forum.

2. It will prohibit the use of content snippets with links, unless the platform acquires a license from the publisher.

So what's a content snippet?

It's basically a shared link with an attached snippet. Paste a link into Facebook, Twitter, WinCert etc. and it will fetch and display a preview within the portal:

So in order to do what I've just done here, after 23 March 2021, WinCert would require a license from ZDNet to use this snippet of content. Of course this rule would cover sharing of snippets by all WinCert users, and licenses from all news publishers. If any of you guys would share any snippet for which we're not licensed, the publisher could sue WinCert/HeiDoc/me for compensation, and we would probably also get fined.

So am I exaggerating here? I wish I were... It really is going to be the disaster of the magnitude described.

So what can you do, especially if you're a EU citizen?

1. Don't ignore the mess until it's too late. Be aware of the development, and share your knowledge about it, as it concerns everyone.

2. Sign the petition.

3. Use the hashtag #SaveYourInternet

4. Write to your MP/MEP, especially if they are pro copyright reform. An overview of all MEP and their view (pro/con/unknown) in the links below.

5. If you have a vote in the EU parliamentary elections in May, make sure not to vote for any copyright reform proponent. You can find both proponents and opponents across the entire political spectrum.

6. Join the protest (online and offline).

Further information:

https://saveyourinternet.eu/ (overview of all MEP and their view)

https://savetheinternet.info/ (petition and list of offline protest events)

https://juliareda.eu/eu-copyright-reform/ (Julia Reda MEP, Pirate Party; not endorsing the party here, but pointing to a prime source of information)

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