Copyright Directive : between Myths and Mythos !

28 novembre 2018 par - Vue(s) d'Europe

Making the most of fashionable lobbies in Brussels, YouTube has just published its note denouncing 6 supposed myths around Article 13 of the Copyright Directive and highlighting how it would downside risks on the European Internet.

The figures put forward by the American giant are there to impress and scare: hundreds of thousands of jobs likely to be destroyed, 35 million YouTube channels to be blocked. We are close to the invasion of crickets in Europe if the directive is adopted!

But, finally, what are we talking about? A directive that aims at strengthening the rights of authors in the digital age and to provide the responsibility of digital platforms for copyright. And an article that has the merit to remind that operators who broadcast works on the Internet can not do so in defiance of authors.

This furious lobbying has made the great boss of YouTube, Susan Wojcicki, leaving California to come recently to tour the parliamentary mess in Strasbourg and to try to evangelise the European quidam, challenges. It puts on the front of the stage a global American actor, YouTube, which, at least in France, has made positive commitments to pay authors and Youtubers, and holds them. In doing so, it allows newcomers like Instagram or Snapchat not to get out of the woods, and the less good and already “old” players like Facebook, to stay hidden, warm, to the greatest contempt of European creators, and often also towards the European tax authorities.

It places us in a grotesque and paradoxal situation. On the one hand, this article 13 will probably not be such a big revolution, especially in France and Belgium where YouTube has already concluded agreements with rights holders and authors’ societies (including the SACD since 2010); on the other hand, YouTube is surprisingly the strongest advocate of its biggest global competitors.

This lobbying is done in the name of freedom of expression and a merciless fight against censorship. The fight would be honorable if today YouTube would not brutally and unilaterally demonetise many works, making them almost invisible, on the grounds of their non-compliance with their a little rigorous and politically rather well-thinking contents’ policies.

What should we explain to these female Youtubers whose works are demonetised because they seem to be a bit too feminist for the taste of YouTube ? That this is done in the name of the love of freedom of expression?

In politics, this is called “triangulation”, the art of recovering foreign concepts to appropriate and undress the opponent. In ethics, we are not far from manipulation ! Worse when this fight is coupled with threats such as those made by Richard Gingras, vice president of Google, who announced the possible withdrawal of Google News if they were forced to pay the news sites their index articles . .

And the rest of the directive?

In this list of myths, there is certainly one missing: the directive can not be reduced to a single article. By monopolising the attention on Article 13, it would have almost forgotten the recognition in Article – 14 of a right of proportionate remuneration for all authors in Europe.

It has been obtained by the European Parliament. This article is one of those major achievements. When you listen to the filmmaker Mira Turajlic, recent finalist of the Lux Prize at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, you understand why. Or when you read the open letter of the finalists of this same Lux prize of the last 10 years, you can measure how much the expectation is strong . However, this breakthrough, which would profoundly change the situation in Europe, is far from being definitively achieved for the moment. And that is not a myth but a relentless reality, both for the contribution it would make for French and European authors and for its durability in the context of the trilogue discussions.

If there is a moral to all this « lobbyist » agitation, it should be the following: Talking about myths is good, talking about real measures that make sense for authors and that would improve the remuneration of many of them, it’s better. Otherwise, we fall into the « mytho » !

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