A leading authority in the field of online data privacy has warned that new EU copyright rules will give US technology companies money and data from European European rivals.
Yesterday the EU copyright reforms advocated by the media, despite opposition from Google and campaigners who claim that this limits the freedom of the internet.
The reform, which was finally approved by the European Council on Monday, was loudly supported by news publishers and artists who wanted protection over their content being shared.
But German data protection commissioner Ulrich Kelber, who is also a computer scientist, warned before the measure passed that Article 13 will exacerbate the problem of market concentration in the technology sector and expose Europeans to a particular risk of online surveillance and manipulation.
Article 13 requires online communities, platforms and services to prevent users from infringing copyright, rather than ensuring that infringing material is quickly removed.
In an official statement on the directive, Kelber warned that this would lead to the use of automated filters, which would be powered by the largest companies in the sector because they have the means to build and run the software.
Cory Doctorow, pictured, warned: & # 39; Article 13 guarantees US giant companies a permanent share in the income of all small EU companies and access to an incredibly valuable data stream generated by all European discourse, conversation and expression & # 39;
The EU has adopted copyright reforms defended by the media, despite opposition from Google and campaigners who claim that this limits internet freedom (stock image)
German Data Protection Commissioner Ulrich Kelber warned that the regulation exposes Europeans to a particular risk of online surveillance and manipulation
He wrote: & # 39; But if a company is too small to pay for licenses, it is also too small to build filters. Google & # 39; s Content ID for YouTube costs a reported € 100 million to build and run, and it does only a fraction of the block required under Article 13. That means they have to buy filter services from someone else.
& # 39; The most likely filter vendors are the American Big Tech companies such as Google and Facebook, who must build and execute filters anyway and can recoup their costs by leasing access to these filters to smaller competitors. & # 39;
Cory Doctorow, a leading copyright reform campaigner, explained: & # 39; So Article 13 guarantees American giant companies a permanent share in the revenues of all small EU companies and access to an incredibly valuable data stream generated by all European discourse, conversation and expression.
& # 39; These companies have a long record of using users' personal data to their advantage, and between that benefit and the income they are wiping off from their small European competitors, they are likely to gain permanent dominance over Europe & # 39; s internet. & # 39;
Nineteen countries supported the renewal that has not been updated in almost two decades – before the birth of YouTube or Facebook.
The EU countries approved the reforms agreed by the European Parliament last month, they said in a statement.
& # 39; The new rules provide adequate protection for authors and artists and open up new opportunities for accessing and sharing copyrighted content online throughout the European Union & # 39 ;, they said.
According to an EU source, Italy, Finland, Sweden, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Poland voted against the controversial legislation.
Critics will also say that they will stifle freedom of expression and online creativity and punish smaller web companies (stock image)
What are the main themes of the renewed copyright reform?
WHAT DOES THE DIRECTIVE SAY?
The most powerfully discussed part of the legislation is a part that encourages companies to ensure that copyrighted material is not uploaded to their platforms without the consent of the original creator.
It places legal responsibility on platforms to prevent copyright infringement, but critics say it will ultimately have a hair-raising effect on freedom of expression on the internet and can lead to censorship.
Another part of the bill that was worrying requires that search engines and social media sites pay for linking to or offering snippets of news articles.
HOW WILL IT AFFECT THE INTERNET PLATFORMS?
Some sites would be forced to license music or videos. If that is not the case, sites must ensure that they do not have any unauthorized copyrighted material.
Critics are concerned that this could lead to expensive automatic filtering. And paying for links can cause extra costs.
That can give tech giants a head start on smaller companies. Google reported more than $ 100 million to Content ID, the copyright management system for approved users on YouTube, where more than 400 hours of content is uploaded every minute. The figure includes both personnel and computer resources.
HOW WILL IT BE THE INTERNET CONTENT?
According to critics, acting as censorship and the internet culture can change.
They say the automatic filters are blunt tools, removing material that should be allowed online.
YouTube has warned of unintended consequences and said that in cases where copyright is uncertain, it must block videos to prevent liability.
Some consumers are concerned that the new rules would put an end to parodies and viral internet memes that have driven an online culture and are often based on or inspired by existing songs or films or other content. The EU denies this.
& # 39; Despite recent improvements, the EU directive fails to create a balanced and modern copyright framework & # 39 ;, Maud Sacquet, senior policy manager at the Computer & Communications Industry Association, a lobby group.
& # 39; We are afraid that it will harm online innovation and limit online freedoms in Europe. & # 39;
WILL THE CONTENT CREATORS HELP?
It depends on who you ask. The music industry and other groups that collect royalties say that the directive will offer writers, artists and creators more protection of their rights and incomes by requiring technological giants such as Apple, Facebook and Google to pay more for work.
Some authors and artists fear that they will not earn much more money, but their creativity will be suppressed.
Google estimates that it has paid out more than $ 3 billion in rightholders through the Content ID system created in 2007.
HOW DO PEOPLE HAVE REACTION?
Some prominent artists have spoken out. Former Beatles member Paul McCartney wrote an open letter to EU lawmakers who encouraged them to adopt the new rules.
But many seem afraid that the internet will change as we know it. More than 5.2 million people signed an online petition against the directive.
Internet illuminators such as Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, and the co-founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, have spoken against it.
The same goes for the former frontman of the band Fugees, Wyclef Jean, who has said he is better off financially, because fans can freely share his music on internet platforms.
Last month, tens of thousands of people went to cities throughout Germany to protest against the directive.
Wikipedia & # 39; s German-language page was temporarily blackened in protest and visitors were greeted with a statement from online encyclopedia authors who urged their EU legislators to stop the bill.
The leader of Poland has said that his country will not implement the directive because he states that it threatens freedom of expression.
The EU member states have two years to comply with the directive by drafting their own national legislation.
Six countries – Italy, Sweden, Poland, Finland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg – voted against, so implementation is likely to be uneven and pave the way for legal challenges.