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About That: Article 13 pushback

The Open Rights Group are campaigning to have Article 13 voted down in its existing form and have set up a summary and email tool:

https://action.openrightsgroup.org/zero-hour-internet-censorship

You can write your email in the box they provide, and on submitting, present you with the list of MEPs to choose for your constituency to which your mail will be sent.

You can also find your constituency MEPs here: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/search.html

I’d highly recommend you put together an email too, for the sake of independent creativity and online freedom of expression.

This is what I wrote:

Dear MEPs for Scotland,

I would like to add to the concern all we independent and ordinary content creators share, on the matter of Article 13 which will be imminently coming to a vote.

As it stands, Article 13 is not workable, and puts legislative judgement in the hands of profit-oriented organisations and their undiscerning algorithms.

Such an automated and sweeping system has already been once implemented, by YouTube, under the name “Content ID”

It is widely considered a failure by small and independent content creators, content critique professionals, and rights movements. [1] [2] [3]

Music creators most notably have been blocked from posting their own original content because the algorithm decided a false positive match. False positives are rife. [4] [5]

It has not improved significantly in 10 years, and would be far from a fair arm of law enforcement.

YouTube’s creator, Google, is well respected in the areas of machine learning and artificial intelligence, which is leveraged for implementing Content ID. If 10 years of improvement still yield false positives, at a rate of 28-31% by one count [6], can we really trust a better rate from other companies to be an implementation of law?

Even the USA’s concept of Fair Use carries no weight against an algorithm’s decision, implemented at an American company.

Pushing execution of law into the hands of large companies will only encourage them to focus on serving the needs of large companies in turn — it will only serve those who can mobilize large legal teams.

Pushing decision-making solely onto algorithms, without requiring the provision of an impartial and and diligent complaints and review system, approachable by creators of any size and jurisdiction, will only ensure that content is created as commercial commodity.

Article 13 would effectively alienate any grass-roots creativity to gain a hold online ever again.

It will most assuredly prevent any commentary and criticism to be shared online – be it art critiques to political activism.

Content platform companies will be compelled to over-block for fear of litigation under the new legislation, and in dispute will feel compelled to side with the side that has the largest legal team behind them.

Algorithms do not know the difference between “copyright infringement” and “citation,” between “infringement” and “example,” between “infringement” and “reinterpretation.”

This calls for judgement and discernment that only a human can bring.

Implementation of legislation cannot be left as the responsibility for for-profit entities.

Please vote to downturn Article 13 as it stands,

please urge your peers in the European Parliament to do the same,

and please push to involve such organisations as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Open Rights Group to advise meaningfully to drive a legislation that takes ordinary people, expressing themselves online, into account, from the start.

Yours faithfully

TaiKedz

[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2013/12/19/the-injustice-of-the-youtube-content-id-crackdown-reveals-googles-dark-side

[2] https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/03/youtubes-content-id-c-ensorship-problem

[3] https://www.mweb.co.za/games/view/tabid/4210/article/10769/youtube-content-control-controversy-false-claims-reveal-content-id-flaws.aspx

[4] https://www.thebluemask.com/youtube-content-id-problems-false-claims/

[5] https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/10-years-youtube-content-id-causing-false-positive-since-anwar/

[6] https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2755628

 

Edit 1: The first response is in from Alyn Smith, MEP for Scotland, SNP (Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance)

His office wrote back:

Many thanks for raising your concerns regarding the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. I share your assessment that while the proposals are well intentioned, this goes beyond the issue of copyright and poses a challenge to the rights of EU citizens and businesses.

As regards the two particularly contentious articles, I am not a member of the Legal Affairs Committee myself, but on Articles 11 and 13 respectively, our Group has worked hard to consult with citizens and businesses across Scotland and understand the implications for them of this potential legislation. Accordingly, we have adopted a firm position on both articles.

On Article 11, we oppose the proposal of the European Commission to create a neighbouring right, which would oblige anyone using snippets of journalistic content online would be required to obtain a license (which would apply for twenty years) from the publishers. We believe the negative repercussions of this proposal would be serious and numerous, the most onerous of these being that it would limit freedom of expression and access to information for individuals in particular. We would have supported instead the proposal made in council by the then-presidency Estonia on a presumption rule but short of that we cannot support the inclusion of this article and will push for its removal.
On Article 13, we explicitly reject the introduction of mandatory upload filters on platforms hosting “large amounts” of user-uploaded content (such as YouTube), for the simple reason that such software cannot differentiate between copyright infringements and legal use, meaning that perfectly legal content will be taken down. This amounts to a limitation of freedom of expression, among other things, and therefore the Green/EFA Group is pushing for the removal of this article from the legislation.

I was, I will confess, surprised that both proposals were approved by the Legal Affairs Committee, so the issues now come before the whole house and we have a chance to, to my mind, rectify these decisions. While there may be some alterations to the text before it comes to the vote, I will be casting my vote against the ideas put forward in Articles 11 and 13.

I trust this clearly explains our stance on the key aspects of this important legislation, and I thank you for your support.

A good stance, and of course with all the hubub I had forgotten that Article 11 was its own thing. Good to bring back to the fore.

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