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A large group of Internet pioneers have sent an open letter to the European Union urging it to scrap a proposal to introduce automated upload filters, arguing that it could damage the internet as we know it.
The European Parliament's Legal Affairs (Juri) Committee will vote on the proposal contained in Article 13 of the Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive next week.
Proposal - Companies - Store - Access - Amounts
The proposal would see all companies that "store and provide to the public access to large amounts of works" obliged to "prevent the availability… of works… identified by rightholders."
Despite the inclusion of language that says such measures need to be "appropriate and proportionate," it has caused many to worry that the law will lead to a requirement for all platforms to introduce automated content filtering, and shift liability for any copyrighted material that appears online from the user that posts it to the platform itself.
Liability - Model - Platforms - Legality - Content
"By inverting this liability model and essentially making platforms directly responsible for ensuring the legality of content in the first instance, the business models and investments of platforms large and small will be impacted," warns the letter [PDF] signed by "Father of the Internet" Vint Cerf, world world web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, as well a host of other internet luminaries including Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales, security expert Bruce Schneier and net neutrality namer Tim Wu.
The letter warns: "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."
Argue - System - Platform - Material - Liability
The tech-heads argue that the current system where a platform is obliged to act only when informed of copyright-infringing material is a "balanced liability model" that allows internet services to flourish while limiting widespread piracy of others' work.
Great - but what about this massive problem?
Eyes - Copyright - Holders
But in the eyes of copyright holders –...
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