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EU Copyright directive: Internet users like it.

2019-03-23 11:15:22,  In: rants

Recently lots of media attention is focused on new European "Copyright directive", especially on laws allowing to implement upload filters and a so-called "link tax". So I decided to do something instead of this website darkening fashion and describe why it's too late for any protests. Let's go to the point: Both of these regulations: Upload filters and so-called "link tax", describe things which are already present since at least a decade, they have been already implemented and embraced by community - and quite everyone seems to be happy with it. Automatic upload filters are present in all platforms, as well as most hostings, services and rented private servers. There are a few forms of these filters:
- Legally censoring content using "terms of service" contract, which in practice is one-side, means you have to obey it and they may or may not. This is visible well in politically sensitive content, when the censorship noted in ToS does not exist when it's neded to divide people, and is exaggerated when it will cause... yes, dividing people[1]. Divided will buy more and will be manipulated better, will also fix criticism for any company.
- Covertly running software censoring binary/compressed data under "antivirus" cover [2]. Such "antivirus" in most cases cannot be configured to exclude false positives or corporationally incorrect content (means: e.g. any software spoofing system clock back).
- Keyword filtering "because f... you" - present in most Internet forums[3].
- "Link removers" - instead of protecting from spam they allow to spread unsourced information, adding to "fake news" syndrome. For most companies operating on the Net this is useful as it creates reason for more censorship: Fighting "fake news".[4]

Link tax is a funny thing. In recent years, most Internet users never published an external link on their page/blog if it was not a sponsored link. Although historically hyperlinking between sites was a backbone of the decentralized/federated WWW, currently the backbone is centralized in a serach engine. This makes people not link to other people's sites as it may make these sites go higher in search engine than their own. This succesfully killed the decentralized (or federated - using providers' hostings) net idea, going back to the central-governed model. Additionally most of, quoting a computer game character, "Our benefactors" actively prevent users from publishing links as it makes users spend more time not on their goatpens. [5]
Link tax seems to be just a codification of this situation, being a compensation of exiting one goatpen and going to another.
Notice that we have a very significant asymetry between sir Pecker's (??) [6] "Creating caste", "Processing caste" and "Consuming caste". The "Processing caste" which aggregated, catalogued and shared knowledge almost disappeared. The "Creating caste" lost its licensing power if not under wings of some publishing mafia, like in some XIX century Britain. This was never supposed to be that way in WWW. If you started with the Internet early enough, you remember that the directory called "public_html" on any user's account gave early WWW users more or less equal starting point both in consuming and producing information. Later, when their creations grown, it was possible to buy a hosting but the starting possibilities were similar.

Now WWW looks like a TV more and more: Not only knowledge has been replaced with entertainment and political conditioning stuff, but also starting abilities are drastically shifted towards a small group of blessed corporate publishers for who creators work, and "proletariat" called "users" only not to annoy them is consuming advertisements masked with poor quality "content". We just re-invented concessions like for TV broadcasting, but now the bandwidth limits are only in our heads. While WWW and a whole digital revolution solved the problem of materials scarcity for publishing, we intentionally and consciously refused it making the scarcity artificial. OK, our decision, not mine. But really, if you did this, don't cry now.

So if nobody protested when their public_html directories got shut and it was only possible to publish on externally forced licenses, when risk of "deplatforming" became visible and worked to stop stubborn activists on political and non-political sides [7], there is no reason to protest against something what we all accepted. See, when they introduced ISP's legal ability to censor political content "because terrorism" and government's ability to break into and manipulate country-wide DNS servers (because gambling, because no tax-paying, because people thinking etc. - dependent on country) it was totally OK, passed without protests. Maybe because no company had profits in protests?
In my country the situation was even more funny - as two rival political parties introduced these laws, first party went with "DNS cracking" law and second with "ISP censorship" a few years later. And people still love them both as... every party wants a freedom in the Internet! They did not voted for the opposite's proposal. To paraphrase a Russian saying: Who lives here does not laugh at the circus.

Now the situation present since a decade becomes a law and responsibility of publishers increases. They will have to stand and say: Yes, we are publishers and we have creators under our curation, we must be responsible some way for things Author gave us in some terms. This is a trouble for them - no more free content generated by naive users, on company's license! So, will we accept being teased like dogs, fighting for gains of publishers?
Or maybe create another media, with protection mechanisms against this situation made on a social engineering level?
I know this is hard. Introducing such protections requires us to lower technology requirements. But the social engineering level will be even more problematic as it will require to re-think a whole Internet, more, computerization, objective.

Side Notes and sources:
[1] A nice example considering recent New Zealand shooting video comparing to 9/11 videos in "Politico" magazine article.
[2] A Lazarus developer's problem is not the only one, I had a similar one here with WinNT 3.x driver for RiVA 128ZX driver from 1998, CD's ISO image. Genric virus from 2005 Because screw logic.
[3] I can't supply a link of such things as it's NSFW, but if you can, just look at chan-like community forums.
[4] The FB user's trouble, and even YouTube is messing with that.
[5] For years it became worse, usually starts with "outgoing link" page like in e.g. DeviantArt.
[6] If someone knows what's his real name, tell me! I read his excellent paper about it years ago and I just don't remember. It was a model of a web society using an university campus as a sample.
[7] An example with a Chinese hacker who assumed western media are believable and then got deplatformed, one article from a quite large controversy. Another example was with the famous conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who gets notoriously deplatformed over services (quite nice summary). If not too politically left, being too politically right, but against right's marketing version will also lead to deplatforming.


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