On 12 September 2018, the EU Parliament voted on the proposed Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. The entire summer of 2018 was characterized by a gigantic lobbying assault as the directive’s opponents resorted to the means of asymmetrical lobbying and bombarded EU parliamentarians with avalanches of emails and floods of tweets in a manner resembling the handiwork of a grassroots movement.
Immediately after losing the September vote, the directive’s opponents marshaled their forces to sketch out how they could influence the trilogue process of upcoming negotiations on the legislation between the Council of the European Union (the member states), the EU Commission and the EU Parliament.
“It is coming from Google”? On 21 September 2018, the fifth “Das ist Netzpolitik!” [“This is net politics!”] conference took place in Berlin. One of the speakers was Julia Reda, the sole representative of the Pirate Party in the EU parliament. At the conference – addressing her supporters and requesting that they write to EU parliamentarians – she said:
The EU Copyright Directive, which has now been adopted by the EU Parliament, has been the subject of controversy, including e-mail bombardments of members of the European Parliament. The WebSchauder blog has reported and revealed who is behind the alleged citizens‘ protest.
This current campaign against the directive is similar to the dispute over the introduction of legal rules on net neutrality. Danish consultant John Strand produced an excellent study on this subject back in 2016 („The Moment of Truth – A Portrait of the Fight For Hard Net Neutrality Regulation by Save the Internet and Other Internet Activists“). Among other things, the study investigates the economic backgrounds of the participants and also describes campaigns carried out in the USA and India.
This article presents the similarities and differences between these alleged civil society campaigns.
Last weekend, several organizations called for a „Day of Action“ with demonstrations throughout Europe against the planned EU Copyright Directive. Among the supporters of the events were the Pirate Party, the Left, the Greens and the network association Load e.V. (FDP).
In any case the cards weren’t put on the table. Again.
The „Day of Action“ in Germany
The first event was Mainz on Saturday, August 25, 2018, where prominent members of the Bundestag such as Tabea Rösner (Die Grünen) and Manuel Höferlin (FDP) performed.
Nevertheless, they only spoke in front of about 30 participants.
While the poor attendance at the event in Mainz was notable – it was far from the worst showing of the day for the declared opposition to the copyright directive. Astroturf instead of grass roots: When clicktivism meets hard reality weiterlesen →
As mentioned in a previous article, saveyourinternet.eu’s campaign was primarily responsible for the flooding of MEPs‘ mailboxes with ready-made e-mails their Twitter accounts with automated tweets and their phones with switched phone calls including call guidelines.
The New Testament narrates numerous miracles attributed to Jesus Christ. One of them is the feeding of the multitude: Jesus is described as having multiplied a few loaves and fish so that five thousand people could eat and were satisfied.
The debate over the new EU Copyright Directive towards the end of June 2018 was characterized by a similarly remarkable form of multiplication. But what was being multiplied in this case was not bread or fish, but protest – or rather the appearance of protest.
To begin at the beginning … In September 2016, EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger put forward proposals for a Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market.
Time passed, and Oettinger moved on to a new role within the Commission, but the wheels of bureaucracy continued to churn until the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) was due to vote on the proposed directive.
In the run-up to the vote, observers may have wryly recalled the dictum of German parliamentarian Peter Struck that no bill ever exits parliament in the form it enters it. The directive’s rapporteur Axel Voss (CDU/EPP) had the pleasure of steering a process in which numerous changes and additions to the text were negotiated before it was formally adopted by the JURI Committee and Voss was finally given a mandate to proceed to negotiations with the EU member states.
Google appears to still be blissfully oblivious to its intentional or unintentional (but readily discernible) support for piracy websites. Google supports pirates in a variety of ways, and I will explore a few of them here.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has already been critical of Google’s inaction on piracy for years. The first major problem is the prominent visibility of piracy URLs in Google’s search results. Following the classic logic that the best place to hide a body is surely on the second page of search results, the hope of the filmmakers has been that rank and file consumers, at least, might refrain from using rights-infringing sites when they no longer feature in the first few hits on search.
Pure self-interest could be expected to lead Google to the same conclusion: Google sells movies itself in its Google Play store. With every additional illegal option displayed prominently in search results, Google’s own chances of making a sale to an interested consumer recede. Against this background, let’s now see what happens when we run a search on Google for the movie “Black Panther.”
Volker Rieck is managing director of the content protection service provider FDS File Defense Service, which works for numerous rights owners. The company also prepares studies on piracy and supports law enforcement companies with the data it collects. Volker Rieck blogs regularly on Webschauder and from time to time on the US blog The Trichordist on various aspects of unregulated content distribution. His articles also appear on Tarnkappe.info.
Every year in January, the office of the United States Trade Representive (USTR) publishes a list of the worst offenders on the Internet for the past year. This concerns both haptic goods, i. e. counterfeits, replicas, etc. and infringements of intellectual property rights in the form of the non-regulated distribution of films, books, music, software, apps, etc.
The list includes names like the Chinese e-commerce giants Alibaba and Taobao, but also websites like Movie4k, Libgen, The Pirate Bay or Openload.
Contributors to the list include associations such as the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) on behalf of the US film industry or the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on behalf of the US music industry.
According to a German study, 22.3% of all ads on piracy sites in July 2016 were ads for gambling. Gambling ads are normally pop-ups or pop-unders and are more expensive than “normal” ads. So, they account for much more than a quarter of the ad income for piracy sites.
After publishing this study in September 2016, the Gambling companies and their German association were informed of the gambling companies support to piracy sites.
A recent study checked if something had changed between October and December 2016. This research used a “Pro”-registration account on Similiarweb.com, which shows you the Top 5 of advertising branches, advertising companies and ad networks on most internet sites for free. Gambling industry still supporting piracy weiterlesen →
A recent study of the advertising revenue made by piracy sites shows that the most visited websites for illegal distribution of content in Germany gen-erate an income of 33 million Euros per year through visits by German users. Most of the advertisements are placed by the Internet gambling industry (22.3 percent), mostly with licenses from Germany (Schleswig-Holstein), Gibraltar or Malta. They are followed by German and international browser game providers (12.1 percent). Advertising of branded companies is rare.Study: Ads are financing piracy weiterlesen →
Would you cycle on a busy motorway? Probably not – and in most jurisdictions, you would promptly be arrested if you did. What does this have to do with the Internet? Quite a lot, actually. Road traffic rules and regulations are a prime example of rules which have adapted to changed circumstances over time.
“Euro Perspective on Outdated DMCA: Cycling on the Autobahn”
Eco, the largest Internet industry association in Europe, stands for free Internet and liability exemptions for Internet providers. Why?
All you have to do is take a look into their membership list and you will find a great deal of acquaintances who distribute pirated movies to customers in Germany and other markets:
Cloudflare (also called crimeflare), USA: Content delivery network which is used by 9 out of the top 10 portals for file-hosters.
Cyando, Switzerland: Owner of the most important filehoster Uploaded. According to the regional Court of Munich, Uploaded is aiding and abetting copyright infringers.
Dancom, Belize: Content delivery network / data center for the most important portal for videohosting (bs.to).
OVH, France: Data center for 3 of the 10 most important filehosters (zippyshare.com, filer.net and megacache.net).
Voxility, Romania: Data center for the most important videohoster streamcloud.eu.
M247, UK: Data center for movie-blog.org, a top 5 filehoster portal and thevideo.me a top 10 videohoster and other videohosters such as openload.co, promptfile.com and vidbull.com.
Leaseweb, Netherland: Data center for the top 5 videohoster shared.sx.
Additionally there are other members, who offer dataspace and Internet connection for hosters with thousands of copyright infringing movies, e.g.: