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The EU Is Waging War on What Makes the Internet Great

•, by Oliver Wiseman

What is it about the European Union and bad tech laws with boring names? Brussels has managed to transform four harmless letters into a byword for irritating compliance-induced spam and pop-ups, as well as a consolidation of power for the internet's biggest players. Now that the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) dust has settled, along comes Article 13 of the Directive for Copyright in the Digital Single Market, which was approved Thursday by the European Parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs.

The Latest Crackdown on Internet Freedom

Article 13 requires websites to take "appropriate and proportionate" measures to make sure copyrighted material doesn't appear on their pages. It also requires sites to "provide rightsholders with adequate information on the functioning and the deployment of measures." Then there is the jargon-laden instruction for Member States to "facilitate… cooperating between the information society service providers and rightsholders through stakeholder dialogues to define best practices."

Those appropriate and proportionate measures mean "content recognition technologies" along the lines of Content ID, the copyright filter that Google uses to stop YouTube users from uploading copyrighted videos.

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