Click to get the RSS master feed

Article 13, YouTube (BigTech) & #SaveYourInternet astroturfing

December 04, 2018, 11:35:04 AM by kat

TL:DR, BigTech is concerned with their users only so far as doing so protects their own interests - they have absolutely no qualms blocking content access to entire regions of the globe, never mind a few individuals. In light of this the push back against Article 11 and 13 is not so much about "protecting users digital rights" or their access to content, as it is YouTube, Facebook, Twitter et al not wanting to be more accountable for the commercial exploitation of others content. Push back against Article 11 and Article 13 is about protecting company valuations, stock prices and profit margins, not doing right by creators/rights holders.

• • •

The truth about Article 11, Article 13 and why the tech giants are fighting hard with appeals to emotion, fear, scare tactics and sensationalism.

What is it about Article 13 that scares the tech giants to death?

Two things; 1) remuneration - they don't want to 'fairly' compensate content creators for the commercial exploitation of their content, and 2) liability - they don't want to be responsible for content and/or police it despite having advanced algorithms in place actively doing this for their own reasons.

This makes much of the push back against Article 11 & 13 little to do protecting users access to the Internet, or being able to watch Despacito on looped playback, and instead more about corporations not wanting their profits, stock and valuations to drop in response to having to pay out a few quid here and there and/or/both loosening their tight grip on content access[1], so they astroturf the conversation with faux grassroots campaigns likes #SaveYourInternet replete with scare stories and sensationalism as though they really, truly care... they don't.

Taking a look at the numbers the most popular content viewed on YouTube is music. As a category it rakes in billions of views, daily, much of which is monetised - adverts displayed alongside, before, in, after videos or somewhere, anywhere on the page, all equating to billions of adverts purchased to place (pay to play).

Some of this revenue does reach Partners[2]; YouTube has paid, to licensed music 'partners', approximately $2 billion in the last few years (c.$400 million per annum, over the last five years, money that goes to BigMusic, the bodies large enough to push their concerns to YouTube and those ostensibly responsible for ContentID (MPAA, RIAA et al).

For 'influencers', 'celebrities' and 'personalities' on the platform, earnings estimates range widely depending on the source from poverty-line levels (c.$12,000 in the USA) all the way up to the low millions annually. As a group however, total earnings do not appear to (at time of writing) exceed $100 million per fiscal year collectively.

Perhaps somewhat ironically, payouts are tax deductible so 'losses' can be offset against earnings to reduce liabilities to the IRS and other regional tax agencies, so the "would loose money" argument is only valid to a limited degree as the offset is more beneficial to the Corporation overall.

But that's just YouTube. For Google the number are much larger, whilst the former being estimated to have fiscal year earnings ranging between $8 billion and $12 billion for 2017, in contrast Google's revenues are estimated to be between $80 to $120 billion for 2018. Notwithstanding operational costs, pay outs to Partners and vloggers is tax deductible, the outlay reduces tax liabilities.

Throw into the mix capital worth of BigTech and the context changes, estimates (at time of writing) have YouTube at $150 billion, Google (Alphabet) $1 trillion. As for the other members of the BigTech collective; Microsoft $800 billion, Facebook $400 billion, Twitter $25 billion, Apple $850 billion, Twitch $20 billion, Yahoo $20 billion, and whilst the means through which that value is reached differs, many employ user generated content and its consumption as a primary, if not significant component of their earning strategies.

• • •

With all that said, the problem with all this is the complications presented by the legal relationship creators, users and platform holder have with one another. Creators and platform holders in particular have an agreement that allows for the commercial exploitation of the content uploaded through the "non-exclusive, royalty free" license that's granted at upload or necessary to be signed prior to be given access to the tools to publish content. Article 11 and Article 13 would likely change this, although how is not exactly clear, at the very least it might mean changes to user agreements and contracts, creators potentially having greater leverage over platforms carte-blanche ability to monetise their material without fairly compensating authors/rights holders - the removal of 'qualifications' for receipt of compensation a la YouTube.

It should noted, if clarification is needed, the above is not specifically an argument for Article 11 or Article 13, rather a discussion of the deeper issues the legislation is responding to and rationale behind it; BigTech is not shy of blocking or restricting access to content for any reason, this is how Content ID works with partners providing criteria for filtering, blocking and remuneration of Partners on YouTube, or the reasons 'fake news' can be blocked on Facebook. Neither Article 11 or Article 13 require BigTech do something they are not already doing if perhaps only for [sarc]ever-so-slightly[/sarc] self-motivated reasons.

Aside from having to cough up cash and compensate creators, perhaps YouTube, Google, Twitch, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram et al are balking at the Articles because they might require they be more transparent and accountable for their actions, it creates a digital paper trail that, under EU law (GDPR), can be accessed by users, and required to be deleted if so requested, when Users data, who they are, what they do, access and watch is the product, anything that affects that will likely be detrimental to BigTechs control over the Internet and rebuffed even if it means doing what they already do more passive-aggressively.

Further Reading
- Article 13 draft proposed amendments (Sept 2018)
- EU Directive on Copyright - Article 11 (link tax) & Article 13 (content filter)
- Article 11 of the EU Copyright Directive (link tax)
- Voluntary Copyright Alert Program (Vcap)
- Its a Terms of Service violation, not Copyright dispute

[1] So much so that to this end, content control, the "compromise" YouTube suggests essentially extends Content ID, it grants YouTube greater ability, that might then have force of law behind it, to police content and access how they see fit.

Is there a better way forward with Article 13?
Yes! We're asking lawmakers to find a better balance we all need to protect against copyright violations and still enable European users, creators and artists to share their voices online. In order to do that, we need a system where both platforms and rightsholders collaborate.

What this means in reality is three things:
- Rightsholders should work with platforms to identify the content they own, so the platforms know what is protected under copyright and can give rightsholders control to block if they choose.
- Platforms should only be held liable for content identified to them using tools like Content ID or through notice and takedown.
- Platforms and rightsholders should negotiate in good faith where licenses and rights can be easily identified
Or by way of another very recent example, Article 19.17 of the USCMA Trade Agreement (signed into law late Nov 2018) that grants platform holder liability exemptions, in law, from users actions - "No Party (Government or Agency thereof) shall impose liability on a supplier or user of an interactive computer service on account of:... voluntary action... technical action". This can be leveraged as legal grant for banning users and blocking content access as providers see fit (although the context for the USMCA is cross-border trade - United States, Mexico, Canada - the legislative authority the clause grants service providers with respect to immunity is very real).

[2] All figures are speculative estimates as very little actual data is available for scrutiny.

[Action Required] Important 2018 Tax Information | Unity

December 04, 2018, 05:09:12 AM by kat
Unity Asset Store account holders should be aware of a 'tax interview' message doing the rounds that might at first appear to be a scam. According to a couple (Unity) of sources (HumbleBundle) the email, from publisher_inquiry@unity3d.com but routing through to unity3d.taxidentity.com/Interview/AX8/en/start_1.aspx when the included link is clicked, is a legitimate request from Unity for tax information using Tax Identity as a third-party data collection partner. The message appear to be sent to selected Unity Asset Store account holders regardless of there being any products available for purchase (email may not therefore, be received by all publishers).

Hello Unity Publisher,

Thank you for taking the time to read this message.

We are required by US law to obtain documentation prior to making certain payments, including payments to a foreign entity or individual. We have developed an user-friendly online tax interview that will help guide you to provide us with your tax information.

Please access the tax interview using the link below and complete the tax interview by December 31, 2018. Please note that, as per the Asset Store Provider Agreement, any and all future payments may be suspended if we do not receive your correct tax information by this date.

To help protect the security of your taxpayer information, please do not respond to this e-mail with your tax information or share it over the phone.

Please take the tax interview by clicking here [links to taxidentity.com].

In order to help us match the tax interview with your account, we ask that you enter your publisher ID shown below to the Publisher ID field within the tax interview. This field is found within the Profile page below the Email field. Please be sure to enter the publisher ID shown below. You will be asked to complete the tax interview again if you fail to enter the publisher ID correctly.

Your Publisher ID: [publisher ID]

This tax interview must be completed by the legal owner of the account. Please note that Unity uses Tax Identity Solutions LLC, a third-party tax provider, to receive and validate this additional documentation.

We have provided a tax interview FAQ that may provide answers to some of the questions you might have concerning this request for information and documents. If you have any further questions, please send your questions to publisher_inquiry@unity3d.com, an email alias set up only for questions on this topic.

Important Notice: None of the information in this document, nor any of the information resulting from your participation in the tax interview, constitutes or may be understood to constitute, any advice of any kind (whether legal, tax, or otherwise)s to you, your business, or your or your business’ tax structure or obligations, and you may not rely on it as such. Should you have any questions or concerns with respect to any of these matters, please contact your tax, legal, or other professional advisor.

Thank you for your assistance.

Team Unity

(jpg image example)

The message appears to be notification/in response to Unity changing the way payouts are to be processed by a US entity rather than one based in the EU. As a result Tax Declarations are required (message from Unity should be available in the Publisher Dashboard).

Hi [publisher],

This notification is to inform you of a change in Unity’s business operations. Effective January 1, 2019, we will move our ads selling entity from Finland to the U.S.

This is an internal change to streamline our business by having our contract signing entity reflect the currency (USD) in which we transact with publishers. The only change to your existing operations is that you will be paid by a U.S. entity moving forward. There may be tax implications of this change, as any taxes owed on earned revenue from Unity may be subject to U.S. regulation from 2019 onward. If you have any further questions on the tax implications of this change for your business, please consult with your tax advisor.

No action is required from you to continue operating your campaigns as you do today. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us at unityads-support@unity3d.comany time.

Thank you,

The Unity team

Dumb things pop-culture critics say: Battlefield V & Female Soldiers

September 19, 2018, 09:39:21 PM by kat

"Women didn't fight in World War II"

Fact check: Women did not fight in World War II.
Checked as: False.

The purpose of rhetorically loaded questions like 'did women fight during World War II' is to frame arguments so opposition is impossible or seen as indefensible, the answers given, whatever they may be, how factually accurate or grounded in reality they are, simply do not matter because the question, or statement, is rhetorical, not meant to be queried or answered. When understanding and knowledge, educating (of self or others), is not the goal, objecting in any sense is to deny the statement, and its makers, veracity and rhetorical absolutism; some women did fight, so women fought, their contributions to combat are equal to and no less valid than men's, so no argument is to be had.

This rhetorical assertion is false, but again this never mattered.

At the heart of this argument is a motte and bailey fallacy (castle/keep) in which a contentious proposition (motte/keep) is defended by an easier one - the degree to which the argument might be true (bailey/castle); because A is true so too is B. So, did women fight during the war, yes; did women volunteer to fight or were they conscripted, yes; therefore, women fought during the war (castle), the degree to which this might have occurred, or its significance, being irrelevant (keep).

There are caveats to these points that, as is always the case with history, require those arguing females fought during the war ignore and dismiss inconvenient truths, especially when brought to their attention, the ideologically inconsistent and broader realities warfare presents[1], that the vast majority of those 'fighting' (or whatever synonym might be used to describe militarised armed combat), and dying, were and still are, male[2].

The argument then is not whether women fought, it's that they were not specifically involved in combat, they did not fight as uniform soldiers (more on this below, Ed.), which means the objection to female characters in games like Battlefield V become one of being thematic accuracy to this fact and the period being represented in the game, a rationale upon which these games are/were ostensibly sold, inclusion of any kind then being a matter of thematic fidelity or *cough*"accuracy"*cough* to the period portrayed (cf. Battlefield I controversy).

With that said, if not ignored as is suggested above, answering a rhetorical question in a way that stimulates actual discussion typically elicits the inevitable and predictable rhetorical rebuttal; "well what about the female Soviet snipers, or the female French resistance?"[3].

Well, what about them?.

Of the estimated 450,000 snipers the Soviets used throughout the war less than 1% of the overall total, approximately 2,500, were female[4]. Does the background to this matter, their inclusion being a concession that addressed differences of opinion between Soviet military brass (traditionalists) and Party leadership (progressives) - female snipers serviced the combat requirement demanded by Stalin[5] but kept them off/away from front line combat[6] as favoured by Soviet military brass, both attitudes being part of a greater compromise that had the Soviets desperate to recoup numbers lost early on to Germany on the Eastern Front. Interestingly however, per-capita, female snipers were awarded more medals, received more commendations, for their actions than their male counterparts[7] which may have more to do with propaganda than disproportionate bravery or knack for staying alive.

Similarly, of the estimated 500,000 French Resistance active towards the latter part of the War, approximately 10-20% were female[8], most of whom, like other resistance groups, spent more time fighting each other (for ideological motivated reasons) than they did the occupying German army. Given the nature of the resistance it's not known exactly how many engaged in actual combat or fought, all that is know is that some did engage their respective enemies[9].

At face value, whilst all of this does mean some women unquestionably fought during World War II, it would be disingenuous at the very least, even insulting to the memory of the millions of men and boys who stepped-up, fought and died, to suggest the War as relates to combat, was in any sense a female fight as the question rhetorically implies.

And to show just how absurd the argument, and dirty War, actually is, the same sentiments can in fact be said of children fighting during the War, school-aged minors under 18 conscripted or forcibly 'volunteered' into combat, the most egregious perhaps being the Japanese Imperial Army's[10] juvenile suicide bombers, or Germany's Hitler Youth[11], used extensively during the defense of Berlin as it fell. In other words, more children engaged in enemy combat than women, does this then justify the inclusion and exploitation of child soldiers in popular media and entertainment. Or extending the argument still further, more people of different ethnicities fought than women, so there should be more BAME representation in games before that of females.

This is the inherent absurdism of the argument - when and to what degree is the question answered, and by whom. The futility of pandering to demands made of it mean, rather than finding a way to introduce female characters to Battlefield V in a way the user-base would understand and appreciate, EA-Dice chose instead to insert them front-and-centre with little (rational) explanation, gamers then being told they were bigots, racists, ableists[12], misogynists, anti-women by some vocal members of EA-Dice, boosted by click-hungry games press[13], and egged on by social media activists and cultural critics.

Unfortunately for those engaged in this sort of bullying, and it is bullying, railing back at the criticisms with the specious counter-narrative addressed above, this only proved gamers correct; the characters inclusion had little to do with improving the game and was instead a direct response to external non-stakeholder forces[14] and in clear deference to servicing faux 'dialogue' obfuscating an ideological agenda.
Put more plainly, EA-Dice chose to pander to the demands of outsiders who care little for games except their being an avenue to hijack[15] for their own political and cultural purposes, insulting customers from whose purchase's salaries are paid. Low pre-orders, conflicts with other games, release-date pushback[16], drops in stock price[17], and parting ways of those involved[18] will tell if doing this is ultimately a good move.

Further Reading
- Dumb things pop-culture critics say: video games cause violence.
- Dumb things pop-culture critics say: boys don't like female soldiers.
- Violence against males in games doesn't count... another study that 'proves' it.
- Men harassed online more but like, seriously, it's not about them - Pew 2017.
- The dark side of diversity: "positive discrimination" (reverse discrimination).

[1] A great deal of the controversy surrounding BFV kicked-off when one of the projects design directors (Alan Kertz) was widely reported to have suggested publicly the inclusion of female characters was not to improve the game but head-off what appears to be a rhetorical/theoretical situation involving his daughters concerns about female soldiers in games - "I knew this was going to be a fight when I pushed for female soldiers in Battlefield. I have a daughter, and I don't want to ever have to answer her question of 'why can't I make a character that looks like me?' with 'because you're a girl'. I fundamentally feel to my core this [forced female inclusion] is the right way, and I will find myself on the right side of history.". Notwithstanding the apparent advocation of under-aged and inappropriate gaming, rather than help his (young?, uneducated?, illiterate?) daughter understand why, give her tools of discovery and understanding, he chose to redefined history to fit his (not hers) ideologically distorted world view, one that requires adherents ignore the real world in favour of personal fictions and imaginings no-one can argue against ("they are my lived experience"), a particularly odious example of someone in a position of power and authority using the 'personal is the political' principle as leverage to unduly influence others without argument, agreement or consent. Not only is this a disservice to his daughter, it also fundamentally disrespects others contributions to the conversation because they proffer disagreeable sentiments.

[2] The incontrovertible truth of biology and nature and how they relate to history and warfare is simply that women are more valuable to society than men because population numbers can be replenished far more quickly with few men than with few women - throughout history civilizations in the latter situation died because they were not stabilised soon enough after significant reductions, by warfare, pandemics, natural events etc. Over time, hundreds-of-thousands of years, this biological reality has always governed fe/male species relationships whether it passes the sniff-test of a given ideology developed in better times.

[3] It's worth noting these two examples constantly crop up in almost every instance of discussing this topic because they're easily defendable talking points, the motte (keep) to the larger bailey (castle). In furtherance to the initial rhetorical question, this new rhetorical statement is not being asked for educational purposes, but instead to substitute an ill-informed rote proposition that filters subtleties with a singular assertion that cannot be argued against.

[4] To put this number in to greater context, the Soviet armed forces are estimated to have been some 34,000,000 individuals, of which snipers constitute around 8% of the total (c.450,000), female snipers being c.0.01% of that same total.

[5] Soviet Party politics were such that all citizens were supposed to be subject to the same requirements, obligations and demands the party might make, if soldiers were needed women should be as subject to conscription as men - service therefor not being a question of ability but allegiance.

[6] Much of the Soviets top-brass in the military were grounded in what might be considered traditionalist, Tsarists or pre-revolutionary mid-to-late 19th Century thinking, that women were to be kept off the battlefield for very real and practical reasons (cf. fn.1 above).

[7] Despite Soviet Brass and Party leaders being at loggerheads over the inclusion of women in the military, once it happened officials seized the opportunity to propagandise greater female participation in society at large, not for the individuals good but instead through their contributions as a group. For the sniper this meant the medals, awards and commendations were to show women being equally as capable as men, thus equally able to secure Soviet rule and expansion. In other words, it was not about women, it was about Party allegiance at a time the Soviets were still reeling from the Revolution and first World War.

[8] Rates of female inclusion and participation in resistance groups across Europe vary a great deal because concise records were rarely kept, so today, depending on source, the same information outlet may cite different numbers depending on inherent politically biases. For example, the subsection of the main Wikipedia article on the French resistance dedicated to women, "French Resistance - Women", cites 11% participation rate whereas associated with the 'feminism portal', "Women in the French Resistance", 15-20% is cited. What's missing from this are the reasons why those numbers may be relatively high; men being otherwise conscripted to fight or assist the German occupation depending on their being for or against it.

[9] The French resistance was not as unified fighting force as romanticised in popular culture, many were variants of Socialists, Communists, Marxists, Revolutionaries, which more often than not, meant they were more likely to fight and sabotage each other's efforts than that of the German threat, all in vein attempts at political, ideological supremacy. Such in-fighting caused so much strife to the Allied efforts in fact, the British stopped assistance drops (weapons, intelligence, supplies etc.) because it was more often put to unintended use, resistance groups fighting one another instead of the German war machine.

[10] The Imperial Army is known to have 'forced' schools (coerced compliance through threats of severe penalties and punishments) to 'volunteer' children for combat, minors between the ages of 14 and 17, many of whom saw combat.

[11] By the start of the War nearly 9,000,000 boys and girls were part of the Hitler Youth, most being later conscripted to fight. Towards the end of the War many were still fighting, some of whom defended Berlin as it fell.

[12] The character was given a prosthetic mechanical arm similar to designs befitting the period.

[13] Typical click-bait sensationalism aside, who may or may not be sympathetic to the cause at hand.

[14] EA chief creative officer (CCO) Patrick Soderlund: "And we don't take any flak. We stand up for the cause, because I think those people who don't understand it, well, you have two choices: either accept it or don't buy the game. I'm fine with either or. It's just not ok." (emphasis added) [source], a statement that may have been partly responsible for Battlefield V's poor numbers at time of writing (late August).

[15] Originally a creation of corporations as a means to promote brand awareness, Culture-Jacking has since been co-opted by activists to become a useful tool in the 'any means necessary' arsenal to inject alternative narratives into popular culture, bypassing traditional means of transmission and distribution, but also their testing and validation, especially necessary for ideas with the potential to change society.

[16] "An Update on Battlefield V [release date]"
[17] "Electronic Arts Stock Is Tanking on a 'Battlefield' Fail" et al.

[18] Patrick Soderlund and others apparently within the team developing Battlefield V, and source to much of the controversy, have left the EA-Dice. The fact that parties leaving were all involved in the ongoing debacle perhaps speaks to their being fired rather than their choosing to part ways amicably.

The mediating effects of violent video games on violent individuals

August 29, 2018, 04:18:07 AM by kat
[image courtesy EAsports]

It's inevitable that after another mass-casualty event press coverage would once again question the role violent video games play in causing young men to commit egregious acts of violence[1]. Jacksonville is proving a slightly more different sell than previous events because the game front and centre was from an atypical genre, competitive sports, rather than the more than expected first/third person shooter.

Interestingly, whilst this might disparity seem at first incongruous, the odd man out, the fact this is the case provides a clue as to the role violent games might play in the lives of these young men, not causative as media hopes but instead as one that perhaps acts to mediate otherwise negative behaviour.

Looking at the general profile of mass-shooting perpetrators they are typically loners, those few quiet individuals who keep to themselves, have few if any friends, say very little or rarely interact or engage with others. They frequently have difficulty expressing emotion, often appearing detached, uninvolved or completely disinterested in their environment, or when they do express its often volatile, explosive and uncontrolled. There is often a history of mental illness or at least some degree of clinical intervention or involvement in their lives, which may or may not result in the use of medication - anti-depressants, mood regulators, etc. They often come from broken homes, and are frequently subject to emotional or physical abuse.

The hypothesis; the type of person being described here could be said to have a severely impaired psyche, their emotions appear not to function within a range normally expected of a healthy, well adjusted, individual. To cope, the confluence of their circumstances might then dictate they gravitate towards, and fixate on, controllable sources of stimuli, or those they find reliable or relatable, able to provide a suitable degree of connection to their emotions (however conscious they might be of any of this).
This might then mean the playing of violent games is not specifically because they seek violence in the normal sense that might be understood, or that they want to be violent, or that violent games might make them violent, rather the opposite, violent video games may mediate the broken personhood by providing a degree of what would otherwise be heightened stimulation, enough to keep them grounded, being the only 'thing' to which they can associate.

Needless to say, the limitations of such a relationship is tenuous at best, break the connection and the result is catastrophic.

So, whilst anti-violent video game research, the literature on the subject, salacious media coverage, disingenuous politicians and talking-point activists argue the banning of violent video games and other violent media, or that violent games make people violent so something must be done about it, they may in fact all be missing the point entirely here, in this very specific context violent video games may be mediating the potential of violent individuals because they are the only medium speaking a compatible language, able to reach them.

If this is the case violent video games ironically could be used as tools to develop and foster home and/or educational programs and interventions that reach troubled individuals using a language they speak. Demonising and/or banning violent video games could very well be a colossal missed opportunity.

Further Reading
- Boom Headshot, perpetuating the 'murder-simulator' narrative through bad science.
- Dumb things pop-culture critics say: video games cause violence.
- Digital Self-Harm Among Adolescents, a new phenomena.
- Men harassed online more but like, seriously, it's not about them - Pew 2017.
- Moral Combat: Why the War on Violent Video Games is Wrong.
- Kicking ass and chewing bubblegum.
- Assassination Generation: Video Games, Aggression, and the Psychology of Killing.
- Virtual Reality Assault and Developer Responsibilities.
- Normalising/desensitising violence in games. An (initial) study.
- How social context influences violence-aggression relationship.
- Violence against males in games doesn't count... another study that 'proves' it.

[1] Almost without exception the vast majority of mass-shooters are male, typically boys and young men, almost exclusively teens upwards to early twenties.And whilst most are 'white' (Caucasian), the numbers appear to reflect their racial distribution within the general population.

Article 11 of the EU Copyright Directive (link tax)

June 19, 2018, 06:10:20 PM by kat

[UPDATE 12 Sept 2018] Copyright Directive has been passed. The exact version still to be clarified (some clauses/amendments rejected, others accepted).

[UPDATE 5th July 2018] EU Parliament rejected the Copyright Reform bill in its current form, putting it up for review in September. This means the legislation will likely be amended to make it less contentious, especially in regards to Article 11 and 13.
Parliament’s plenary voted by 318 votes to 278, with 31 abstentions to reject the negotiating mandate, proposed by the Legal Affairs Committee on 20 June. As a result, Parliament’s position will now be up for debate, amendment, and a vote during the next plenary session, in September.

TL:DR; as with the previous discussion on Article 13 of the EU's Copyright Directive, Article 11, the so called "link tax" clause, is not so much about taxing links, but obligating governments to act on behalf of Stakeholders in pursuit of their copyright claims and broader enforcement - "Member States shall provide publishers ... with the rights [outlined] in Article 2...". Again the use of "shall" is indicative of an order or obligatory mandate, not a voluntary action.


Rights in publications

Article 11
Protection of press publications concerning digital uses

1.Member States shall provide publishers of press publications with the rights provided for in Article 2 and Article 3(2) of Directive 2001/29/EC for the digital use of their press publications.

2.The rights referred to in paragraph 1 shall leave intact and shall in no way affect any rights provided for in Union law to authors and other rightholders, in respect of the works and other subject-matter incorporated in a press publication. Such rights may not be invoked against those authors and other rightholders and, in particular, may not deprive them of their right to exploit their works and other subject-matter independently from the press publication in which they are incorporated.

3.Articles 5 to 8 of Directive 2001/29/EC and Directive 2012/28/EU shall apply mutatis mutandis in respect of the rights referred to in paragraph 1.

4.The rights referred to in paragraph 1 shall expire 20 years after the publication of the press publication. This term shall be calculated from the first day of January of the year following the date of publication.

Notes on the above:
Para. 1. Essentially the 'link tax' clause although nothing in the paragraph lays this out explicitly so any such outcome would be as a direct consequence of right-holders claims and subsequent State enforcement of those rights/claims (State acting on behalf of vested interests over those of citizens).

With that said, depending on how this is enforced it could lead to a tax on or license to link, but... to what degree is a link considered subject to copyright when urls are often auto-generated from input that may or may not mean anything beyond being a URL or include descriptive words that could be/would be usefully policed for infringement.

How is content to be treated with respect to Robots.txt, permissive access granted by rights holders to have certain elements of their material index by search engines - if access is granted through Robots doe this also imply consent/limited licence of use. What obligations are services subject to if denied access by robots.txt. Are copyright monitoring agencies exempt from all considerations (e.g. Mark Monitor).

Para. 2. Copyright as a 'natural' or automatic right recognised of authors, creators et al, should not be affected by the new legislation. Similarly, previsions already afforded to creative works should not be restricted - although not expressly spelled out this should mean that allowances for 'fair use' (and its European equivalent, e.g. 'fair dealings' in the UK) and 'transformative works', should not be affected by the Directive (fair use and transformative works are allowances or degrees to which infringements may be tolerated within the confines of copyright law, they are not exemptions). However, this would be contingent on Rights-holders pursuit of infringement claims and to what degree they require State intervention on their behalf to police those claims/rights.

Para. 3. Directive 2001/29/EC "Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society". Directive 2012/28/EU "Directive 2012/28/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on certain permitted uses of orphan works". "mutatis mutandis".

Para. 4. It's not clear if the twenty year limitation is exclusive or inclusive of the normal 70+ years afforded under previously established copyright legislation (e.g. Berne Convention on copyright). This might then mean copyright claims in some circumstances being claimed to be 90+ years instead of 20.

Additional Reading
- EU considers hyperlink Copyright
- EU Commission & Restricting YouTube for the Public Good
- MarkMonitor, AWS and site scanning abuse
- Illegal Hate Speech, the EU and Tech
- "Net Neutrality" has been hoodwinked, yet again!
- Two tier Internet - Net Neutrality has been hoodwinked
- Draft Investigatory Powers Bill (as passed "Investigatory Powers Act 2016")
KatsBits Web
Search KatsBits using StartPage