Open letter to Prime Minister of Estonia and Members of Parliament on Internet Upload Filters

Dear Prime Minister of Estonia,
Dear Members of Parliament of Estonia,

I am calling on Estonian politicians to “take back control” over its nationalposition over the adoption of controversal Copyright Directive (“internetupload filters”) that is scheduled to be “formally” adopted on Mondayby the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Estonia has made the following statement [1] yesterday regarding the adoption of the directive:

“Estonia has always supported the objective of the Directive, namely better access to content online, the functioning of key exceptions in the digital and cross-border environment and the better and balanced functioning of thecopyright marketplace.However, Estonia considers that the final text of the Directive does notstrike a sufficient balance between different interests in all aspects.Furthermore, Estonia has recently had parliamentary elections and our new government and parliament have not been able to give their position on the final compromise text.” I have personally contacted the permanent representation of Estonia (COREPER) in Brussels, which has confirmed that, despite the newly formed government and parliament, it is not the intention of the Estonian delegation in Council to ask for a removal of the dossier from the A-items list on Monday. I am therefore calling on your Government and your newly elected Parliament [2] to ask for a formal delay, and to assess properly the negative economic consequences of this ill-conceived directive, notably for the burgeoning internet economy. Best regards,

HENRION Benjamin,President of FFII.orgBelgium

Links

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Github installs upload filters to comply with new EU copyright directive

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.

FFII call on national parliaments to reverse soviet-style internet upload filters

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

Brussels, 29 March 2019 – FFII is calling on angry protesters against internet upload filters to reverse the position of their country by calling for a vote in their national parliament. Council of the Ministers is an undemocratic institution where decisions on this particular subject are made by officials of the Member States’s ministries of culture. FFII call on national parliaments to ‘take back control’. The adoption of internet upload filters is a strategic mistake that will fuel the eurosceptics game at the coming elections. Boris Johnson’s reaction to european parliament vote yesterday left no doubt about it.

Germany confirms: article 13 would lead to upload filters

The case that article 13 EU copyright reform proposal will not lead to internet upload filters, has crumbled, now that the German government acknowledges that article 13 would lead to such filters. Proponents of article 13 have claimed that alternatives to upload filters exist which will ensure that copyright protected works are not available on internet platforms. However, in discussions proponents have only mentioned manual filtering as an alternative. This didn’t convince, due to the massive amounts of uploads to filter. In an article major German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reports, under the title Bundesregierung rechnet mit ‘Uploadfiltern’ that the German government admits upload filters are likely to be needed. The newspaper mentions that Christian Lange, Parliamentary State Secretary to the German Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection, wrote in answer to a parliamentary question:

“In the [German] federal government’s view it appears likely that algorithmic measures will have to be taken in connection with large volumes of data for practical reasons alone.” (Translation Florian Mueller, see his blog.)

The German government acknowledges what everyone sees as unavoidable in case of large volumes of uploads.

Green MEP Trüpel argues she didn’t vote in favour of upload filters

One member of the European Parliament Green group, Helga Trüpel, responded to the blog “Nine Green MEPs voted in favour of upload filters”. She argues that her vote in favour of article 13 copyright reform proposal is not a vote for upload filters. I am grateful for her reaction, which clarifies some issues. I will highlight some of her arguments. The discussion below reveals that Trüpel misrepresents article 13 as notice and take down, often disregards that rights holders do not have to grant a licence, and sees filtering by humans as an alternative to automatic filtering.

Nine Green MEPs voted in favour of upload filters

The European Parliament has voted in favour of article 13 of the copyright reform proposal. The text of article 13, as adopted by the Parliament, makes internet platforms liable for users’ uploads, but does not mention upload filters. However, as explained by many, including academics, if platforms are liable, they will have to filter to avoid liability. General mandatory upload filters are not allowed in the EU; they interfere too much with our freedom of expression. With its vote, the Parliament voted in favour of upload filters without mentioning them.

European Commission releases some EU-South Korea trade negotiation documents

About a year ago I requested documents regarding the negotiations on the EU – South Korea trade agreement, provisionally applied since July 2011 and formally ratified in December 2015. I was especially interested in documents regarding the negotiations on intellectual property rights, specifically the documents regarding criminal enforcement. On 24 November 2017 the European Commission provided a link to the partially declassified “Recommendation from the Commission to the Council”. The commission did not declassify the interesting part, the directives for the negotiations. I recently received a list of 15 documents (Annex 1); eight documents are withheld; I received seven partially disclosed documents (zip).

EU-Japan trade agreement enables Internet of Cheating Things

European politicians want more algorithmic transparency. However, they also want to sign the EU-Japan trade agreement, which restricts audits of software and algorithms. 1

For regulatory supervision we need access to source code. The Volkswagen emissions scandal has shown that devices can be programmed to mislead researchers. 2 In addition, audits can reveal whether decision making software contains biases. And Facebook’s role in elections and referendums shows that the use of personal data is not only a civil rights issue, but may compromise the integrity of our institutions.