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Letter on copyright­reform


deutsche Version

Michael Gerdemann | Niederstockumer Weg 67 | 48301 Nottuln

To
all Members of the European Parliament

Nottuln, 08. March 2019

European copyright reform, in specific Articles 11 and 13 thereof

Ladies and Gentlemen,

short about me, I am 32 years old and have been working as a programmer for over 10 years. My daily tasks include creating small, medium and large websites. Therefore I spend a large part of my daily time in the internet. It is a multifaceted place, many creative things arise there. In my spare time I also run various services (e.g. a mastodon instance, a matrix instance and a meta search engine), which should contribute to this diversity.

I am writing you this letter as you will shortly be voting in the European Parliament on a new European Copyright Directive. I am addressing you today in the classic way by letter, as other forms of communication, such as e-mails from many politicians as spam or as written by bots, seem to delete immediately.

First of all, I would like to make it clear that I am absolutely in favour of copyright reform and that I think a large part of this reform is good. However, Articles 11 and 13 are not acceptable.

I urge you to vote against this reform of copyright and to reject Articles 11 and 13. In the following I would like to explain my questions and concerns and hope to convince you of them. At the very least, I hope that you will take my concerns seriously and answer my questions.

Supporters of this reform often claim that the directive does not require upload filters. The directive states that the platform operator must ensure that no copyright infringement is committed by the user.
On the one hand, the operator should try to conclude contracts with all right holders (potentially all people and companies on earth). Hence my first question: does this mean that I have to try to conclude an agreement with each author? How will this work in practice? Where can I get the contact details of all authors?
If there is no agreement with all authors, the platform operator should check whether the content is protected by copyright before uploading it. Since this is a lot of content, you have to solve this problem technically, don't you think? Therefore I will program a pre-filter. So where do I get all the works that are copyrighted? Is there a central database where I can download all movies, music etc. so that my filter can recognize them?

If a small platform cannot provide the filters on its own, this platform must buy the filters from large companies such as Google or Facebook. Probably they even make the filters available free of charge, since in return they get a large part of the Internet sent to them free of charge. This only makes the big ones bigger. This puts data protection at risk, as the data will then be concentrated in these large corporations, mostly outside the EU.

This copyright reform will not pose a problem for the major platforms, as they have enough resources to develop the filters. However, many small service providers will have to close their offers. Every forum, every recipe page, every photo community, every crowdfunding platform, every decentralised social network, every decentralised messaging service is affected. Many are so small that they cannot meet the requirements and therefore either have to close or block Europe.

This reform with Articles 11 and 13 in its present form is a major setback for Europe. The Internet in Europe is being catapulted back into the 90s. Some platforms will simply block their services to Europe, as some of them have already done with the DSGVO.

For these reasons, I would ask you to vote against this copyright reform and to take the protest seriously. Listen to the protests of citizens and voters.

Thank you very much.

Yours sincerely

Michael Gerdemann