WHILST THE UK remains utterly preoccupied with Brexit, life in the European Union (EU) goes on, and given that a soft Brexit and even remain are back on the table, we probably ought to be paying more attention.
Nowhere is this clearer than in the tech sector, where Articles 11 and 13, the planned draconian rules that have been dubbed the "meme killer" thanks to its zero tolerance on anything that could vaguely be copyright, have been chugging merrily through process whilst we're distracted.
The latest summary document about the wider EU Copyright Directive has been published and seems to contain some weasel words, which suggest that there would be no filters applied to uploading to the internet, but only because it thinks that calling them something else is the same as not having them. It isn't.
The idea of such upload filters is to stop copyrighted material ever hitting the internet in the first place, but by blanketing the EU in such technology which is both pedantic and (and let's be clear on this) not actually ready for prime time, there is a real risk that genuine material, fair use and the like will be caught in the crossfire. Some fear, for example, that the bill, as it stands would cause game streaming services like Twitch to become unusable.
The Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) has suggested that the final, final text will be presented in the coming days, so it can be rushed through before Christmas: "At this point, the entire Directive is in danger of going down in flames to salvage an unworkable, absurd, universally-loathed proposal. Let's hope that the Trilogue negotiators understand that and take steps to save the Directive (and Europe, and the Internet) from this terrible proposal."
Hmmm. Europe? Universally-loathed proposal? No compromise despite objection? Where have we heard that before recently?
Part of the issue involves a so-called "notice and take down" clause. It suggests that where a copyright violation has been identified, the host has the responsibility to both ensure that the plaintiff complies, but also that they ensure it isn't reposted.
Now the only really effective way of doing that is to use filters. Which the EU says it won't use. By that name at least. So which is it? At the moment, this feels like another EU deal that is in an unworkable disarray. As if we haven't had enough of those lately. μ
We should be shocked, but...
But the search giant has now squashed the bug
But it's not yet available here in Blighty