The Dummies Guide to Destroying the Internet: As Demonstrated by the EU

If you would like to destroy the Internet, the EU’s Copyright Directive is a great place to start.

The mildly horrifying piece of legislation is about to change the way the Internet as you know it.

RIP the Declaration of The Independence of Cyber Space, the EU wants to centralise all the things.

Want to post a picture of yourself on holiday in Paris? Not if the EU can help it. The new legislation prohibits posting of pictures in public spaces where any advertising (even on a passerby’s T-shirt) can be seen, any public statue is displayed, or even of the front of a building without the architect’s permission.

Want to take a selfie at a soccer match or rock concert? Not any more, buddy. The official sports or concert event organisers will get the sole publishing and photographic rights to “their” event.

How about share a meme on social media? No way, you slimy content pirate! No sharing of images or famous faces without a model release and permission from the original photographer and/or his/her estate.

But surely you can still link to the meme? Nope. The EU wants you to PAY a “licence fee” to publishing and media houses for the (get this) right to link to their content. Not to copy their content, not to quote their content, but to merely link to their content.

The Internet is built on links. Social media is built on selfies. The EU says, “No.” to both.

And don’t think you can just do it anyway (like we all know you kept sharing music files, even after you knew you shouldn’t). The legislation also requires all publishers (including independant bloggers) to install compulsory smart, AI-enabled “fliters” which will spot and stop any copyright infringements, be they imagery, textual, video or sound, from being posted.

Oh, and there is one more thing; copyright for any content is awarded to the person who claims it first in the central database. That means a big media house, with a big team of dedicated staff working round the clock can copyright your writing and your photographs before you get a chance to do so yourself during your lunch break.

So nothing to worry about, then, it’s all perfectly logical.

There are two possibilities as to what happened here:

  1. The ageing, innocently ingorant Baby Boomers who run the EU don’t know how the internet works, nor what they just did. They just did what the big media companies and persuasive lobbyists told them they had to do to “protect precious copyrights”. This is a scary thought, but not as scary as the second option:
  2. The people who pull the strings in the EU parliament know exactly what they are doing, and they are using “copyright” protection as a cover up for their real agenda: ushering in sweeping surveillance-state censorship of internet communctions, à la China. This is a truly terrifying thought.

If you have to both pay for and get permission to even link to a current affairs or news article, how can you comment on the story? The legislation effectively hands a monopoly on the news back to the big media houses. It’s a move to move back to the dark days of top-down, on-way-only (propaganda friendly) broadcasters.

If you cannot post images you took in public places, protests, human rights violations and other things that big bad governments would rather not be seen will not be; the filters will stop the images from being posted or shared on any internet Platform due to a “copyright violation” caused by a convenient statue, or a branded bus driving past in the background. It’s automated censorship.

So how’s that blockchain-based decentralised new Internet coming along then?

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