April 1, 2019

Github installs upload filters to comply with new EU copyright directive

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PRESS RELEASE — [ Europe / Democracy / Censorship / Economy / Copyright ]

Brussels, 01 April 2019 – Github has installed upload filters over the week-end to comply with the new european copyright directive on ‘upload filters’. Microsoft lawyers have been busy interpreting the new exception for “open source code sharing platforms” that the directive provides. They came to the conclusion that Github was not covered by the exception, since it also hosts many code repositories without a proper open source LICENSE file.

Jürgen Voss, open source developer for Bosch, says: “This Sunday I tried to push some changes via Github, some commits were refused because Github installed some copyright filters. The pre-git-commit-hook message was complaining about “citation too long”, as I was quoting an article from IAMBIASED IP magazine. I have solved the problem by installing my own Gitlab-CI on our Swiss server.”

Gilles Bordeaux, advisor for the Pirates in the European Parliament: “We warned about the bad wording of the exception in the directive, we would have prefered to have a broader exception covering also non-open source code. The exception was shadow-written by Hollywood, who wanted to give some food to calm down the open source critics. Vote Pirate at the next elections, we are the only ones that really protect open source developers, even if we voted for FRAND in the past!”

Matthias Kirschberg, president of the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE): “We welcome Github’s move to install copyright filters, but we would prefer if those filters would be released under a free software license. We have called last week on the European Commission to spend some public money in the context of H2020 in order to develop those open filters. We will also ask Github to remove all code repositories which do not have a valid open source LICENSE file. This will have a higher impact then GPL enforcement.”

John Smith, president of Open Source Initiative (OSI) and VP sales of Microsoft: “Qualcomm and its FRAND proxies are now lobbying the
European Commission to rewrite the term ‘open source’, to make it compatible with software patents and FRAND policies of corrupted standardisation bodies. We thought we had the monopoly of the open source definition”.

José Bovidé, member of the Greens in the European Parliament: “I welcome Github’s move to install copyright filters, and I call on the European Commission to extend upload filters to patents as well. We have to protect both authors and inventors. I voted for article13 and especially against Google, those 5M signatures against the upload filters were all faked and made by californian bots. I am happy that President Tajani denied to receive this monster petition last week. I prefer the one over Brexit.”

Benjamin Henrion, president of FFII, finishes: “I knew Macron had a magic plan behind his deal with Merkel to trade european SMEs for a russian gas pipeline. His idea to break Github monopoly is awesome, at least it will restore competition with a decentralized network of git instances hosted by french startups of less than 3 years. At least someone who understood that Git should be decentralized! We should put everything in a Merkel tree instead of using Blockchains!”

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Benjamin Henrion, FFII Brussels, bhenrion at ffii.org, +32 484 566109