Not so dark

Sunday, March 31, 2019

The EU’s new copyright directive is actually a good thing for free culture. Yes, I have signed petitions against this directive, and only two days ago I wrote A Dark Day for the Web, but we can see it positively.

Imagine a guy who would find some legal way to distribute guns or other weapons to school children. The number of accidents would increase, wouldn’t it? Who would profit from it? That guy of course. And who would be legally responsible? Not that guy of course.

When you operate a platform that gives people the possibility to upload and share digital content, you make profit from the fact that people love sharing, and that some of them sometimes are not aware about copyright restrictions. Your platform increases the number of accidental damages to copyright. Until now it was not clear that you were the responsible. The law about upload filters makes things clear.

Or when you pay a team of journalists for writing good news articles, and when you earn money by letting your customers pay for the usage of your work, you won’t be glad if somebody finds a legal way for sharing your work without asking your permission. The law about link tax makes things clear.

As long as we assume that sharing copyrighted material is a criminal act, we need to define ways for controlling and punishing those who share without permission. This control is getting absurd in a digital civilization where every youngster can potentially produce and publish creative content. The copyright directive shows that our traditional concept of copyright is obsolete and needs revision.

That’s why the EU’s new copyright directive was a good thing for free culture. It expressed where that obsolete understanding of copyright will lead us if we don’t review it. It is time to realize this. If you agree with me, consider signing the Lutsu manifesto.