At the end of this month, the European Parliament will have their final vote on laws that despite good intentions is going to dampen the free speech and creativity on the Internet. Now is the last chance to express your views and NordVPN has begun a competition to raise awareness of the issues with the law.
The background is that the EU wants to modernize it’s copyrights laws so they are updated for the digital age which is needed to protect the rights of content creators and artists in the age of the internet. Unfortunately, it has gone too fast with two articles which is poorly written, and hence pose a threat at the freedom of expression on the internet, and the changes will probably not be restricted to the member states of the EU.
Article 13 is problematic in the sense it makes the platform owner responsible for their user’s copyright violations. That means that if you upload anything that might violate somebody’s copyright on e.g. Facebook, YouTube, Imgur, Reddit or any other platform, they will be responsible.
It will, of course, mean that the platforms will become much stricter with letting people upload material, that they will try to set up electronic filters, and even try to use artificial intelligence in an attempt to screen the content. Since there are no humans involved in the screening process, a lot of errors will, of course, occur and the platforms will probably play safe. It will also be difficult for those filters to distinguish between fair use and real copyright violations. That means that memes, political satire, and quotations will end up being banned.
Even if they let a human look at the content, it is very likely that those will be from low-income countries and will have little understanding of the content and again it will be better to be safe than sorry.
The idea behind the article is noble as content creators, of course, should have their material protected, but the article need to be rewritten so it doesn’t force the big platforms to set up very board censorship in order to be on the safe side.
Probably comes from the fact that a service like Google indexes a lot of newspaper articles and presents them in their search results. Often people just scan the headlines and never click on the link to the creator, meaning that the originator of the content never gets a chance to profit from the content. Article 11 lets the content creators charge e.g. Facebook if somebody shares a link to their work.
At first sight, this sounds like a noble intent as why should Facebook be able to profit from the sharing of links while the creator gets nothing.
Unfortunately, the way the article is written it will instead encourage platforms like Facebook to just block the sharing of links to sites, meaning that the sites will lose both the traffic they get today and any fees for delivering content. Plus it will make it impossible for people to share articles, blog posts and so on with views they either agree with or disagree with and hence the democratic process will be cut short.
So the good intentions will actually backfire and hurt the smaller content creators instead of helping them.
NordVPN Supports a Free and Open Internet With Fair Rules
Unfortunately, the present wording in the articles does not strike a fair balance between an open and free internet and a good and fair protection of the content creators copyright. To encourage the European Parliament, NordVPN has created the following contest.
- Create a meme about article 13, how it will affect your life and why you oppose it
- Publish it on either Twitter or Reddit
- At Twitter you should use the hashtag #NotMyEUdirective and NordVPN – @NordVPN
- At Reddit you upload it to the sticky thread on the NordVPN subreddit. This contest is run in cooperation with the mods of the subreddit.
- The contest will close March 26th 12:00 PM GMT
- 10 winners will be chosen from Twitter and Reddit respectfully.
- At Twitter it will be the 10 memes with the highest combined number of likes and retweets
- At Reddit it will be the 10 memes with the highest numbers of upvotes
- The winners will be contacted through their profile on Twitter or Reddit
- Each winner will get a 3 years free subscription to NordVPN.
- If you are already a customer, you can still participate. You will just have 3 years added to your subscription
- You can submit multiple entries but only one can win
This is a great opportunity to use your creativity to express your concern.