As of July 4th 2018, the Internet as we know it might be dead for good.
The European Parliament is passing a new Copyright Directive.
Article 13 #CensorshipMachine will impose widespread censorship of all the content we share online. Art, fanfiction, parodies, remixes, mashups, memes, etc.. Anything that you do not hold the rights over will be taken down.
Article 13 would force all online platforms to police and prevent the uploading of copyrighted content, or make people seek the correct licenses to post that content. Internet platforms hosting large amounts of user-uploaded content must monitor user behaviour and filter their contributions to identify and prevent copyright infringement.
Such filters will be mandatory for platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit and Instagram, but also much smaller websites.
This doesn’t just affect Europe. The content creators you love are going to be in hot water for sharing their art and writing with you online. Any and all content that doesn’t belong to us will be filtered. Even memes are at risk, as the person who took the original photo may want to file complaints against any platform that allows it to be used without permission. But it goes even further than that.
Last Tuesday (19th June 2018) a group of more than 70 people who have played important roles in building the internet and developing it (Tim Berners-Lee, Vincent Cerf,
Jimmy Wales, Mitchell Baker…) into what it is today addressed an open letter to the members of the European Parliament:
“As creators ourselves, we share the concern that there should be a fair distribution of revenues from the online use of copyright works, that benefits creators, publishers, and platforms alike.
But Article 13 is not the right way to achieve this. By requiring Internet platforms to perform automatic filtering all of the content that their users upload, Article 13 takes an unprecedented step towards the transformation of the Internet from an open platform for sharing and innovation, into a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users. […] The damage that this may do to the free and open Internet as we know it is hard to predict, but in our opinions could be substantial.”
Europe is facing a huge problem, and unlike with Net Neutrality, the world doesn’t seem to care.