back to article European Parliament balks at copyright law reform vote

The European Parliament has kicked back a vote on proposed copyright law changes until September to allow tempers to cool and the agreed text to be re-examined. The decision was forced because 31 MEPs abstained, 318 voted against the European Commission's proposals, and 278 were in favour. Parliamentary rules require a plenary …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Godzilla vs Gorgo

    Whoever wins, we're all collateral damage.

  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "Supporters of the amendments... claimed the process had been impacted by intimidation and lobbying from outside the EU, including from the US"

    Including some heavyweight lobbying in favour. But I don't suppose they count that.

    1. Tigra 07

      RE: Doc Syntax

      Yeah...But it affects the very functioning of the internet, why shouldn't people from elsewhere be allowed a say?

      1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

        Re: RE: Doc Syntax

        Except it doesn't affect the functioning of the Internet. This is an IT news site, I think we should at least use the right names for things when we talk about them: while this law may certain websites and services more expensive to operate for the large corporations that own them, the functioning of the Internet will be completely unaffected by it.

        Much as I'd rather not have Donald fucking Trump able to dick around with the world's biggest economy, I still don't think that's good enough reason for me, as someone living far away, to have a vote in the US Presidential elections... and that's something that really does have an impact outside of the area where people vote for it. But despite what might have been true in the 1990s, the web is not a single, pan-national entity anymore - people outside of the EU really will not be affected by these changes (The same Google that can serve an ad bouquet that's tailored to a single individual, wouldn't be able to tell if they're in France or Brazil? Bullshit).

        If we in the EU decide we don't like the rules, then we, and we alone, will vote to get them changed.

        1. DuncanLarge

          Re: RE: Doc Syntax

          "If we in the EU decide we don't like the rules, then we, and we alone, will vote to get them changed."

          But thats it isnt it. We have to kill this before it gets in, just like with what happened with SOPA. Once this gets in getting it out will be next to impossible, as we all know that the system is skewed. Once something becomes law it will usually remain law for a very long time unless it becomes quite clear that something is terribly wrong with it. The decriminalisation of homosexuality is an example where the law was changed due to significant social pressure/rethink, we then slowly labeled those who were opposed as homophobes.

          Recently laws banning the use of cannabis for medical use have been called into question (along with other "revelations" surrounding the people involved) but only due to the life threatening situation of a child.

          I seriously doubt that such pressure will be available to assist the future public for voting this out within the lifetimes of the people who knew the "old ways". Once those people get too old/die off, the only ones left are their kids, who grew up with these amendments as "status quo". They wont think to have this changed and if they do they will likely see it as a retro call back to the old internet that grandad used to talk about.

          It may not change the way the internet works but it does threaten to change the way the internet is used. Everything the internet has brought humanity is due to its inherent non-bias and freedom. Taking that away, bit by bit, along with other laws essentially destroying the publc domain today will hurt the public at large.

          Copyright was supposed to protect the public and the public domain while giving perks to the copyright holder for a certain and reasonably limited period. It was supposed to make the public richer, within their lifetimes, while encouraging creators to create more. But as it stands today and with these and future changes like these, you as a creator can live off one or two single creations that are doing incredibly well with no incentive to do more. If it continues to bring in money, your descendants need never work, inheriting the royalties and becoming a the new rich elite.

          1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

            Re: RE: Doc Syntax

            Don't fall into the trap of thinking that every creative artist is a Coppola/McCartney or Pratchett. They are lucky exceptions, and it's as unrealistic to think of them as representative of artists as it would be to think of Steve Wozniak's career as representative of that of all programmers'. Most people who work in art do not make a steady living, and really struggle. Royalties are a lifeline to these people.

            The killer for small artists is that, more than the successes, they rely on Internet distribution for compensation, but it's precisely the current model that allows mega-corporations like Google to monetize their work without paying the original creators.

            The idea that a creator "can live off one or two single creations" ignores the many, many dead-ends and failures they had to hit before getting those. This isn't easy. If it was easy, everyone would do it.

  3. ratfox

    Does this only cover the article 13 about filtering user content, or also the article 11 about press ancillary rights?

    1. Anonymous Coward
    2. sveinskogen

      All of it

      All the changes. For now we get to keep status quo, until the next time they attempt changing it. It's the EU way: If at first you don't succeed, keep on voting until the opposition grows tired.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: All of it

        Yes since the status quo of being interrogated for an unpopular Fbook post is normal.

  4. jameshogg

    You're making it sound as if MEPs are too stupid to work out for themselves what's spam in their inboxes, and what their constituents - you know, the people who vote them in and need attention above all else - actually want.

    Who knew you actually had to put effort into researching the needs of your voter base when they can just all come to you!

    The "false consciousness" arguments are always so empty, whether made here or by some hopeless Chomskyite.

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Constituents generally don't contact MEPs about anything, so they know it is either spam or lobbyists.

      1. Primus Secundus Tertius


        Your comment intrigues me. Please explain the subtle difference between lobbying and spam.

        1. katrinab Silver badge

          Not spam:

          Dear MEP

          I am a lobbyist working for MegaCorp. Your proposal will affect my client's business because ... .

          MegaCorp is entitled to make representations, and the proposal will lead to fewer (or more) jobs or higher (or lower) prices, that is a perfectly legitimate point to take into consideration.

          What is not legitimate is when they pretend to be loads of other people, who may not, as a group, share their opinions on the matter.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ' You're making it sound as if MEPs are too stupid to work out for themselves what's spam in their inboxes'

      If they're anything like other polticos, then yes, they are. I have a lot of first hand experience of such lack of understanding. Many don't want to understand.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The proverbial canary in the mine; if he's for it, bad news for people who haven't got the odd billion to spare.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: McCartney

      Google are against it. They have a fuck sight more money than McCartney, which they make in a lot of cases by distributing copyrighted material they don't have a right to use.

      McCartney made his money by creating music. Google have made a lot of theirs off of other people's creativity.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: McCartney

        "Google have made a lot of theirs off of other people's creativity."

        As I recall Google gave German newspapers what they wanted - they stopped linking to them. It turned out it wasn't what they wanted after all.

      2. Andy The Hat Silver badge

        Re: McCartney

        As usual, an individual who happens to have loads of money and a potential axe to grind makes the headlines and can try to directly drive the political process at the highest level. Bert from Scunthorpe, Abbi from Brighton and Jessie from Bognor on the other hand are ignored as they're not rich, not famous and wish to present balanced political opinions based on common sense and research ...

        Democracy is such a wonderful thing.

  6. Tigra 07

    "The detractors included the Mozilla Foundation, Google and Wikipedia, which arguably wouldn't have been affected by any of the changes."

    Really? You don't think Wikipedia would be affected by a link tax? EVERY Wikipedia article using a link to a news site would be hit with a bill. For anyone not aware that's a massive bill and will result in widespread censorship of the internet to avoid linking, or such huge bills that i doubt even the Wikimedia foundation could afford.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      It's just Andrew talking bollocks as usual.

    2. Andraž 'ruskie' Levstik

      You mean the exception they had and other similar sites?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "other similar sites"

        > You mean the exception they had and other similar sites?

        Not all of the "other similar sites" you're referring to have the exception applied to them.

        For example, some friends and I have been developing in our spare time.

        That's a data collaboration platform instead of source code. From reading the text of the proposal... we don't get the exemption. So we'd additionally have to implement this load of horse shit proposal, or throw in the towel.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "other similar sites"

          "Wikipedia will be hurt! Andrew's talking bollocks!"

          "Wikipedia had an exception."

          "Yeah but....."

  7. Duncan Macdonald

    A pity that it was not rejected outright

    There was a majority against the proposal so it is unfortunate that it did not get rejected at this point. The copyright thugs have still got a chance to bribe enough MEPs to get the proposal through.

  8. Pat Att

    Well done EU

    This is the right result. Copyright is already far too protectionist, and this change would have badly affected smallish companies (not just the Googles of this world). trying to do innovative things online.

  9. Adrian Midgley 1

    I'm human

    emailed against art 13 and am a content creator and receive a payment twice a year for copyrights I hold.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I guess we've reached the point where the internet is useless as a medium for debate or gauging the popular mood. It has become yet another corporate(*) income stream.

    (*) corporate and government are, as usual, interchangeable

  11. Chris 15


    I have to say most of hte time that Orlowski spews another message from his corporate sponsors I think of his name as Wormtongue Orlowski.


  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Coincidence that an algorithm of the sort they want to use misidentified America as a Nazi ideology just hours before.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A lot of people would not consider that misidentifying. Is there anywhere else in the world where nazis walk the streets wearing jackboots and swastikas while carrying loaded guns and shouting abuse about blacks, jews, muslims and liberals?

    2. katrinab Silver badge

      That wasn't a misidentification.

  13. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    "MEPs voted to obstruct a crucial EU Copyright Reform from progressing to the final legislative stage..." the European Publishers Council said in a statement. (my emphasis)

    Well, boo hoo EPC. That's how democracy is supposed to work.

  14. israel_hands

    I think this result was the correct one, but not for the reason a lot of frothing loonies who are trenchantly narrow-minded in their opinion do. I come down somewhere between both sides in this.

    And yes, we all know that an Orlowski article is largely an excuse for him to grind his axe.* But he has made some good points in his articles about this.

    The intent behind the laws are good. The two articles in particular make sense. Greater protection should be given to content creators, rather than the huge platforms that sponge of the output of others to draw people in then slurp&sell their data on.

    Likewise, publishers host content they've paid people to create and deserve to be reimbursed by companies that link to their material. If they're prepared to take money from advertisers for linking to material that nobody is interested in seeing, then they should put their hand in their pockets to pay for the content gets eyeballs focused on the pages they whore to advertisers. Otherwise it's just techno slave-labour.

    I think the articles could do with re-writing, tweaking to ensure that the end result matches the intent behind them. It shouldn't come down to an automated takedown service because we all know they don't work, are easily gamed by large companies who can afford to automate their takedown requests, and requires people who mostly can't afford the automation to manually appeal after the fact. That's fucking backwards. And before the protests start, I'm well aware that Facebook/Google/Twitter, et al, can't afford to hire enough humans to deal with all the content that gets uploaded to their platforms.

    I'm just very firmly of the opinion: Fuck them.

    It's their responsibility to ensure that their business operates within the limits of the law, not the law's responsibility to adapt itself to the fact that they can scale out content upload easier than they can content vetting. If they can't afford to do that then they either need to throttle their upload speeds or get into another line of business.

    If I ran, for instance, an off license, and had an automated facial recognition system to determine if I was selling alcohol to a minor, I'm pretty fucking sure the licensing authorities wouldn't accept that as a valid defence in court. Even if I told them I have a billion customers an hour and the error rate is only 1%.

    I do get fucking hacked off with the bullshit being spouted by both sides though. Google fighting against copyright enhancement and pretending they're doing it for the content creators is fucking sickening. As is the music industry and their puppets doing the same. Content creators get screwed by both sides, hard and dry, and always have done.

    Both sides are fighting for their own pockets, the actual content creators are being tugged like a ragdoll between them. I just hope the people drafting this law can tighten the laws up enough to make them stick and fuck both the media industries and tech goliaths at once and force them to pay creators a reasonable amount for their work. Not just let them pillage it while claiming the moral high-ground.

    The would be a fucking result.

    *To be honest, I'm pretty sure the head has disintegrated by this point, and the haft has been whittled down to a toothpick.

    1. Alistair

      "Content creators get screwed by both sides, hard and dry, and always have done."

      This. If only for this I wish I had 100 upvotes for you.

    2. Long John Brass

      European Parliament baulks at copyright reform vote

      deserve to be reimbursed by companies that link to their material

      Links? No! If I run a news aggregation site for say retro steam shirt presses. and link out to other sites that cover the hobby. If I present this as a headline, short blurb and hitting that entry links out the the site with the article. Now the endpoint websites may have a wider content type that my very specific interest group is interested in. Or if I run an aggregation site that covers electronics and again link out to various sites then someone who is interested in the link I have for an article on a Valve Ham Radio speciality site can click the link and end up on the site. We both get paid!

      Now I should I be paying to link to these sites when I'm driving traffic to them? Really? Both sites get paid either by advertising or paid sub or whatever. If I have to pay to link to your site then I simply won't link.

      1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

        Re: European Parliament baulks at copyright reform vote

        If I present this as a headline, short blurb and hitting that entry links out the the site with the article.

        If your summary says "The Grimsby Standard's theatre review this week made note of a Press-o-matic Model 6A being seen in a production of Hamlet recently: Link Here ('Theatre: Is This A Pressed Shirt I See Before Me')" You are not liable to anything. The summary is your work, and you have copyright in it. There's no copyright in the link to the story at the source, so that's not a problem either. Headlines are titles, so they're not subject to the same restrictions on use as the body text.

        But, if you instead use an automated scraper to lift the opening paragraphs of that linked story, and present lists of these as your "news" section, then you are doing nothing more than reproducing copyrighted text (the newspaper's), and yes, you've got to pay for that, because you didn't create anything. The aggregator code itself could be your copyright, but not the products of it.

        The simple question when it comes to copyright is: did you make the thing? If you made it from scratch, it's yours automatically. But if you made the thing from an existing thing or things, then the question is: can the thing you made function as a sufficient replacement for having the original things you used to make it? If your new thing can't act as a substitute for its sources, you're protected by copyright again (under "fair use" and "parody" exemptions among others), but if it can, you're just reproducing existing works without permission.

  15. sveinskogen

    Lucky us?

    As a photographer, and thus "content creator" who should've been pleased had this been voted in, I cannot overstate how lucky we are that this was NOT voted in.

    Those two articles would've been the death of ALL independent content creators, everywhere, and forced them into the copywrong cartels. Which may have been the entire point of this excercise.

    Eurocrats: The background storyline for the Deus Ex series of games (the unpleasant conspiracy) was NOT made as a suggestion on how to do things!

  16. Chronos

    Supporters of the amendments – which included Paul McCartney and the BPI

    ...will now scream and scream and scream until they turn blue or "democracy" decides on an answer they like, whichever comes soonest.

    1. onefang

      "...will now scream and scream and scream until they turn blue"

      So the Blue Man Group is about to get some more performers then.

  17. Gene Cash Silver badge

    FT article paywalled

    So how did they decide they were bots?

    I know in the US there's a terrible tendency to "be activist" by just emailing a standard form letter, so that would seem to be a "bot" if you wanted to spin it that way.

    I smell bullshit.

  18. The Nazz

    An analogy if you will allow.

    If content providers have to scan every single piece of data they publish to ensure that EVERYTHING is legit and above board

    then i await the day with glee

    that our fucking useless council are held liable, including "executives" and councillors personally, for every illegal activity that goes on within council property* to include such as drug dealing, prostitution and others.

    *including "head office".

  19. the Jim bloke

    What do they mean by "fake astroturf groups"

    a) only pretending to be artificial while actually using real grass

    b) green painted concrete,.. the original low-maintenance lawn replacement option.

    .... just the thing for sporting arenas where the players are getting a bit 'precious'

  20. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Burn, baby, burn

    If the Music Industry considers this proposal as being good, it's a proof this proposal is a rip-off for customers.

    Having the Music Industry and so-called 'right holders' in disarray is a good reason to celebrate.

    May they all go through the toilets of History.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When you can trademark red soled shoes you know IP laws are fucking stupid. Perhaps the post office should sue Louboutin as they painted their post boxes red first.

  22. ShortLegs

    The language used by MEPs shows their complete disdain and utter contempt for the public

    MEP Jean-Marie Cavada. "We received tens of thousands of emails on the copyright directive, almost 40,000 to be exact. This influx of email has even blocked the computer of one of my colleagues. It becomes spamming... [b]We cannot imagine that these emails are grassroots.[/b]"

    No, of course you cannot image that Joe Public might actually not want this Article, might object to it. Only an MEP could class objection as spam. And since does "almost" equate to "exact"?

    My phone call registering my objection was not spam, nor was my email. It was exercising my democratic right to object to over-reaching legislation.

  23. CarlWoods

    A collateral damage is always

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