• Member Since 12th Nov, 2011
  • offline last seen 3 hours ago

Dusty the Royal Janitor


Who needs sleep when you've been dead inside for years? :)

More Blog Posts279

  • 7 weeks
    25

    4 comments · 59 views
  • 17 weeks
    I Wrote a Buttload of Side Stories...

    ...For Applejack: Marvelous.

    "What If?"
    :fluttershyouch::rainbowderp::pinkiegasp::raritydespair::twilightoops:

    But I have a problem. One of the sidestories contains SERIOUS lore spoilers for the rest of AJ:M. I'm honestly not sure if I should post it.

    What do you guys think?

    14 comments · 305 views
  • 25 weeks
    So... how about them leaks? [FINALE SPOILERS!! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!]

    Like... wow. Holy motherfucking shit.

    I mean, I haven't actually been invested in the show proper since the end of Season 3, and have only caught a smattering of episodes and the movie since then, but the characters and world are still pretty close to my heart. It's really saddening to see that this is where the show ends up. This is B.A.D.

    Read More

    27 comments · 480 views
  • 42 weeks
    Endgame

    I actually got really emotional. The past 10 years of my life have been kinda defined to a degree by these movies.

    Actual potential spoilers below for both Endgame and Applejack: Marvelous. I mean it. Continue at your own risk.

    Read More

    11 comments · 370 views
Jan
24th
2019

ARTICLE 13 IS ON THE ROPES (Or, How Dusty Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Luxembourgish) · 7:45am Jan 24th, 2019

So, unless you're really new to my page (in which case, welcome), I'm sure everybody knows that I've been quite worried for about the past 6-8 months or so about a directive that's been passing through the EU parliament. The directive in question is known as the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, more colloquially known as the "EU Copyright Directive."

The purpose of the directive was, to put it simply, update the somewhat-outdated European copyright law to better account for changing media trends, particularly online trends.

Unfortunately, the directive contained two particularly heinous sections. Article 11, which, to sum up a lot of legal jargon, basically expanded news companies' copyright holdings on their own stories. Of course, it's plagiarism to simply copy a news article wholesale, but this article threatened to make it so that you could not LINK to a news story because the news company didn't just own the story, it owned the link. As a result, only people that the news companies WANTED to link to their stories could do so, and anyone who linked to their stories or featured their stories in youtube videos to criticize or highlight the news would be forced to pay a fine.

The vague language could also have potentially been interpreted in even wilder ways, though, and it opened the door for news outlets to start "copyrighting information." There was talk of news companies basically owning the rights to tell certain stories, so that their competitors could not legally cover the same stories. It was an extreme end possibility, but it was still a risk.

Of course, if Article 11 sounds bad, then Article 13 was even WORSE.

Article 13 threatened to force all websites on the internet (yes ALL websites on the internet) that allowed for user-generated content to be uploaded to be liable for what its users posted. This means any website that thrives on user generated content, like youtube, instagram, facebook, deviantart, fimfiction, et cetera... as well as possibly even just any website that has a freaking comment section... is 'at fault' for what its users post.

So if somebody posts, say, an episode of MLP to youtube, Youtube itself is now responsible for the copyright infringement rather than the user, who under the current system would get a copyright strike.

And the wording of it all was very vague. What if somebody posts a copyrighted image to the comment section of some random news website? Who the fuck knows at this point?

The vague wording was an extreme problem. It basically was a blanket statement with no limitations and it confused a lot of people. However, if it was to be taken at its word, pretty much every site (yes, EVERY site that allows for user generated content, all the way down to, and potentially including, mere comment sections) would require a youtube-esque upload filtration algorithm trained to search any and everything that's uploaded for copyrighted material.

So basically anything that's not a corporate website that people can't comment on has to have one of these filters. It basically means the end of user generated content.

Because the thing is, youtube already has an algorithm trained to search out copyrighted material. It's incredibly expensive and state of the art. It's bleeding edge software.

And it SUCKS.

Sometimes it'll miss blatant copyright-infringing uploads and just let them pass scott-free. Sometimes it'll copyright-strike a completely original piece of media that's owned by the uploader because it VAGUELY resembles a copyrighted work. There was a particularly famous case of a video of a purring cat that was struck because it APPARENTLY somehow resembled the baseline of a copyrighted song? These algorithms commonly flag videos that they have no business whatsoever flagging.

And most websites wouldn't have access to this bleeding-edge technology. Most websites would probably have to settle for something vastly inferior. And they wouldn't just be flagging things... they'd be keeping them from ever reaching the internet in the first place.

Media protected by Fair Use is already targeted particularly often. And under these new algorithms, it'd be nearly impossible to upload anything that tries to use Fair Use. Because here's the thing: you'd have to be able to prove you own EVERYTHING that you try to upload to the internet. And if you're remixing or criticizing or commentating on something that somebody ELSE owns... well... you can't do that.

And that's where we come to things like fanfiction. These works that are obviously based on an intellectual property we don't know, but are clearly transformative in nature. And it doesn't matter that we don't try and make money off of them, the fact is that if one of these upload filters were to see the words "twilight sparkle" in our fanfictions, it could block them.

Or not.

Maybe it would only focus on youtube and google?

Or maybe it would exempt any website that had less than 50 employees?

Or maybe they wouldn't use upload filtration algorithms and they were trying to find another way to implement it?

Or maybe it would only focus on visual mediums?

Or only mediums like videos and music and things like comics and literature would be exempt?

Or maybe we're JUST READING IT WRONG, THIS IS ACTUALLY A REALLY GOOD THING THAT WILL HELP ARTISTS???

This was the problem. Nobody KNEW what was going to happen. It could range anywhere from "virtually nothing changes because the law is specifically designed to target Youtube, and they already have the best upload filtration algorithm possible"

...to "literally the entire internet gets nuked."

...or anything in between.

We didn't even have a sense of the region it might affect. Sure, it would CERTAINLY affect the EU, but would it affect us over here in the States? Many sites tailor their rules strictly to cater to whoever has the strictest laws, just to make things easier and more consistent on themselves. But for such a damaging law, would websites and companies dare implement such a crazy blanket rule? Or would they have one rule for the EU and one for everyone else to try and keep the internet free and open for everybody outside the EU?

Again, we just didn't know.

Literally anything could happen. The wording was so vague and so many things could happen that people simply didn't know how things would go down. We COULDN'T know how things would go down.

All we knew was it would be bad.

Even at its most minimal scale, article 13 was going to be bad. The smallest scale thing it could have possibly done was basically make the internet in the EU a wildly schizophrenic and frustrating experience. It could make it so that images and videos might be blocked in the EU without rhyme or reason, EU creators might get their uploads blocked... or maybe not... for perfectly arbitrary reasons.

Remember last month when Tumblr decided to ban all NSFW content? But before the rule went into effect it started flagging all sorts of posts, seemingly at random, because they contained 'NSFW' content... even though like 90% of the things flagged were perfectly SFW? And there were still a bunch of NSFW pictures that slipped through the cracks?

Yeah. The absolute best case scenario is that Youtube becomes that for everybody in the EU

That's ASSUMING it was a targeted law meant to attack youtube, ASSUMING that the algorithm that was implemented was actually really high-tech and didn't just blanket ban everybody, and ASSUMING that it was relegated to the EU only. This was the absolute minimum of what could happen. It'd basically mean that EU creators would have to leave Youtube.

And that would be the absolute MINIMUM of what could happen. And there was nothing in the language of the bill to suggest it would be that limited in scope. Quite the contrary, the language of the bill suggested the scope would be much much MUCH wider. In fact, the language of the bill really didn't define a limit.

So there was every chance of the worst case scenario happening instead.

We simply didn't know.

BUT

Now we finally, FINALLY come to the good news.

As of January 21, Article 13 isn't QUITE dead... but it's dying.

There was enough mobilization against Article 13 from EU citizens (as well as international citizens) that many members of EU parliament started getting nervous. MEP's were starting to get worried that, if they continued backing Article 13, they'd be risking their jobs come next election.

Vast amounts of online petitions, protests, email campaigns, phone-calling campaigns, and more started pouring into the EU. The MEP's learned that they couldn't just push this through quietly.

I'm sure the Yellow Vest protests helped. They proved that citizens aren't just going to take unjust changes to law lying down anymore. People are getting angry, and they're getting ready to stand up and physically fight.

There's also the fact that the Silicon Valley giants were against it (and granted, the Silicon Valley giants are all rather assholes and corrupt in their own way, but in this case the enemy of our enemy is our friend), and were able to mobilize plenty of attention towards this issue. Awareness spread like wildfire.

What's more, while it was mainly the Music Industry (along with Mainstream European News companies) who were backing and lobbying for the directive, the Film and Sports industries, after looking into the directive, ultimately decided that they were AGAINST it and started counterlobbying it. You have some companies, like Warner Bros., who were basically experiencing a civil war; with the music division lobbying FOR Article 13, while the film division lobbied AGAINST.

The final vote on Article 13 was supposed to take place in December. But amid all the chaos it got pushed back to January 21.

In the weeks leading up to January 21, people were getting angrier and angrier. The absolutely putrescent German MEP, Axel Voss, along with his cadre of brown-nosing Yes-Men and Toadies originally conceded to being more clear about the language of the two articles, making them slightly less damaging, only to turn around and not just revert the language to its original wording but potentially even make them worse.

EU Member states were getting more and more skeptical of the directive and criticizing its overly vague, potentially damaging language. Perhaps they actually gave a shit about their citizens... or perhaps they feared they wouldn't be reelected if it went through.

Either way, after all of Voss's lunatic antics and flipflopping on the language of the directive, and with no progress being made on improving the bill in the previous two meetings, eleven member states finally had enough.

On January 21st, Poland, the Netherlands, Finland, Slovenia, Italy, Portugal, and Croatia all refused to even come to the negotiating table, among with several countries that previously supported the directive, including Belgium, Sweden, and even Axel Voss' own Germany. These latter three nations almost certainly didn't change their minds on the directive because they were ACTUALLY concerned about the rights of their citizens, but because they knew there'd be riots if they passed it through (again, the Yellow Vests are proving quite well that if you sufficiently piss off your citizens, they'll stop taking it lying down).

Perhaps the most surprising one on the list to see stand up to the monolithic EU conglomerate, though, is Luxembourg of all places. You know... Luxembourg. That tiny little micronation caught between France, Germany, and Belgium like a crumb that fell off a larger loaf of bread?

Fucking standing ovation for Luxembourg there. Nobody ever bothers to consider Luxembourg on account of how tiny they are, and I'm sure they don't have all that much influence in the EU, but damn. That took balls. It took balls to not even show up to the negotiating table and make a statement that this tomfoolery will not stand.

Good on the Luxembourgish. You guys may be tiny, but you've got guts. You guys have gumption. I like you. You're like the the Noisy Cricket of Europe.

Any Luxembourgish out there, drop me a line if you're ever vacationing in Houston. I'll make you Mac & Cheese and nerd out about comic books with you. Assuming I can get over my crippling social anxiety of course.

So where do we stand on Articles 11 and 13 now?

Well they're not dead... yet.

They've lost a vast amount of their support base and gained a lot of opposition. At this point in time it would probably be pretty hard for them to pass.

But to make matters BETTER, the voting date for the directive has been pushed back to... I THINK May? Possibly even sometime in the Summer?

And a lot is going to happen in the intervening periods. Several countries are going to be having elections in the next few months and the potential changes in government might make even more enemies for Articles 11 and 13. What's more, Brexit is going to be happening in that intervening period, and whatever your opinions on that whole situation may be, it does mean that Britain certainly won't be able to vote FOR the directive. It also means, if Britain goes through with a 'No Deal' split from the EU (as is looking increasingly likely), then the EU will lose its second biggest economic contributor, which may mean they'll have bigger things to worry about than pesky copyright directives.

Right now, Articles 13 and 11 aren't dead, but they're definitely on the ropes.

What once seemed to be a near certainty - that we'd basically be losing the internet as we know it to a bunch of old, white, aristocratic, unaccountable tyrants who don't understand the things they're meddling with - now seems a defeatable notion. Perhaps even an unlikely one.

We can't get cocky. It could still come back around and bite us in the ass. They could change the language in superficial ways that trick member states into adopting it without actually giving the public any allowances. Or, in the confusion of Britain leaving the union, the EU could double down on their more oppressive tendencies. Or possibly, they could make everybody think that the directive has been defeated and then, just as everybody starts relaxing, they could turn around when we're just putting our guard down and push it through...

But what once seemed to be an inevitable, unavoidable doom now seems to be a conquerable foe.

Comments ( 5 )

I have 4 words to describe my feelings about those articles. KILL THEM WHITH FIRE!!!!!!!!!:flutterrage::flutterrage::flutterrage::flutterrage::twilightangry2::twilightangry2::twilightangry2::twilightangry2:

They are weak, send the Baneblade to finish them.

:yay:

As you said, best to still keep an eye on the matter, but at least the MEPs have some appreciation of just what they're meddling with, or at least the ramifications of toying with it.

Told you during the first post that you were worrying over nothing that it would never pass, and guess what I was right, for once I'm glad I'm right because most of the time when I'm right it end being disastrous for me and everyone around me.

So YAY me.

This is why the EU is so shitty. It's a bunch of out of touch assholes in Brussels making decisions without the consent of the voters, and trying their damndest to ruin the Internet across the world, among many other horrible ideas. It'd be like if California made all the decisions for the entire United States. Anyways, not surprised to see Poland refusing. It's actually in their Constitution that censoring the Internet is illegal. Hopefully more nations we reason and refuse to back these atrocious bills.

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