If you’re a resident of the EU, we need your help.
If you’re not aware, the EU votes on an important directive tomorrow, Thursday regarding the regulation of Internet content.
The impetus behind this proposed law is to permit participating countries to enact a “link tax” on online services to protect traditional news sources, who seem to be annoyed that parties like Google can freely link to their material without payment. This is a bit baffling to me, as the concept of linking is a fundamental, if not THE fundamental feature of the Internet.
There’s a lot more about this in the Techdirt article linked below, but there would be a number of near impossible requirements for small online services such as this publication.
We constantly link to material published by others, and in virtually all cases it is welcomed by the other party; they want to get more exposure for their content, and we’re happy to do so. Readers are happy too, as we provide a way for you to easily find relevant material on the Internet.
But adding a requirement to obtain permission or a license to do so would dramatically add to and slow our work, and likely prevent us from linking to some material whose owners are less responsive to licensing requests.
Evidently there is a requirement to run all content through filters to ensure that no unlicensed material is inadvertently published. The backers of the Directive say that such services exist and could be used to do this, but first, they are impossibly expensive and far beyond our – and other 3D print blogs – budgets, and secondly it’s well known that such filters simply don’t work because content owners overreach can catch far more than they should.
Worse, the filtering applies not only to audio and images, but also to text. I am not aware of any services that can provide content filtering on text, at any cost.
The Directive would also make publications responsible for anything published on their service. While this effectively cripples any site that accepts user content, including discussion forums, our site would likely have to shut down comments as we cannot control what people would say. The result would be that the voice of our readers would be stopped, if this law were to proceed in its present proposed form.
It seems that the true targets of this proposed law are the big guys, Facebook and Google, but by regulating them they could place the remainder of the Internet in a grave situation. It’s conceivable we may have to restrict publication into EU countries as a result, because we likely do not have the resources to comply with the proposed law, as we currently understand it.
What happens next? There is apparently a vote on this matter in the EU tomorrow. If you are a reader located in the EU, we ask that you contact your MEP and strongly suggest voting against the proposed “EU Copyright Directive”.
Many more details available at Techdirt.