The new EU Copyright Directive and how it threatens this forum

What this is about

As those of you living in the EU and/or following the news might have heard, the European Union is currently in the process of working out a new copyright directive which among other questionable ideas contains Article 13 (mandatory upload filters for all platforms older than 3 years regardless of size) and Article 11 (link tax aka the "Leistungsschutzrecht" that already failed spectacularly in Germany and Spain). To quote member of the EU parliament Julia Reda:

Article 13: Upload filters

Parliament negotiator Axel Voss accepted the deal between France and Germany I laid out in a recent blog post:

  • Commercial sites and apps where users can post material must make “best efforts” to preemptively buy licences for anything that users may possibly upload – that is: all copyrighted content in the world. An impossible feat.
  • In addition, all but very few sites (those both tiny and very new) will need to do everything in their power to prevent anything from ever going online that may be an unauthorised copy of a work that a rightsholder has registered with the platform. They will have no choice but to deploy upload filters , which are by their nature both expensive and error-prone.
  • Should a court ever find their licensing or filtering efforts not fierce enough, sites are directly liable for infringements as if they had committed them themselves. This massive threat will lead platforms to over-comply with these rules to stay on the safe side, further worsening the impact on our freedom of speech.

Article 11: The “link tax”

The final version of this extra copyright for news sites closely resembles the version that already failed in Germany – only this time not limited to search engines and news aggregators, meaning it will do damage to a lot more websites.

  • Reproducing more than “single words or very short extracts” of news stories will require a licence. That will likely cover many of the snippets commonly shown alongside links today in order to give you an idea of what they lead to. We will have to wait and see how courts interpret what “very short” means in practice – until then, hyperlinking (with snippets) will be mired in legal uncertainty.
  • No exceptions are made even for services run by individuals, small companies or non-profits, which probably includes any monetised blogs or websites.

The final vote on the directive is supposed to happen on March 26th, so it's really getting serious now.

And while so far the people backing this directive, most prominently the rapporteur Axel Voss, have denied that filters will be required, they are now finally acknowledging that and other possible severe consequences without shame:

Why this affects this forum

In order to facilitate support and community building, this forum allows uploading files to it: screenshots & log files for problem analysis, pictures in general for show-and-tell. It also allows sharing guides and tutorials with the general public. In a nutshell, it allows sharing copyrighted material, or at the very least potentially copyrighted material. And since there are ads in place that are supposed to help with funding the server costs and also cross funding ongoing development of OctoPrint, under current interpretation of the law it's to be considered "commercial" as well.

If the new directive with Article 13 in its current forum goes through, in two years when this forum turns three years old it will fall under the platforms targeted by Article 13. That means that I'll either have to figure out a way to enter into license agreements with potential copyright holders of things that might get uploaded here, deploy "state of the art methods" (aka filter algorithms) to detect potential copyright violations right when they happen, as in right on upload AND still risk getting sued - or I'll have to disable uploads altogether which would pretty much cripple this forum as a hub for getting support and exchanging ideas. And quite frankly, considering my limited resources the latter will be the most likely course of action in such a case.

Article 11 won't have as crippling an effect on the usefulness of this community, but it still will force me to remove link previews.

What you can do to help prevent this

It is not too late yet to stop this madness from happening.

For those of you living in the European Union:

  • Protest in the streets on March 23rd! There are large protests planned across Europe for March 23rd. If you happen to be near one, please consider participating. If not, please consider organizing one! I myself will once again be participating in the protests in Frankfurt - should you be in the neighborhood I'd be happy to shake hands and voice our concerns together!
  • Call your MEPs! Call your members of parliament and tell them that you think that Article 13 threatens platforms such as this one. There's a website here that even will call you and connect you with an MEP with minimal effort to do just this.
  • Write letters to your MEPs! It's not too late yet to reach them by snail mail - and at this point this is probably more effective than sending them mails because some politicians out there claim all of us who are against this nonsense are bots :unamused: Here's a website that will help you with this.
  • Help sharing this further! In Germany the protests against this directive have grown large enough that even the mainstream media has finally caught on, but from what I hear from other European countries we are sadly somewhat alone there. So please help spread it further that this is happening and try to organize resistance!

And even if you are not living in the EU, the final point is something you can help with too.

Next steps

The German Wikipedia has decided on a blackout on March 21st in protest against this directive and especially Articles 11 and 13 (see also here and here).

The OctoPrint Community Forum as many other places around the net will also go dark on March 21st. However in order to not cause harm in the field with pressing 3d printing issues we'll only put up an overlay linking back to this thread that will have to be clicked away.

And as already mentioned I'll participate in the protest in Frankfurt on March 23rd. I hope to see and hear you in the streets! :fist:


Further reading


anyone have idea if combination of

  • hosting forum outside of EU
  • when access site first time as guest you get asked to confirm you are ok with ignoring all the @_^&%#^&# EU stuff
  • registered users accept that they are ok with ignoring all the EU %#@&^@!)#


Unfortunately wont work, just based on the GDPR rules themselves, we're not allowed to move the data outside of the EU. Anther huge factor is that @foosel is located within the EU; making such a move would be a legal disaster for her.

how come? I don't see that she's hosting "user data"?! This is not registered business, I can't believe GDPR don't allow EU citizens to privately run any service outside of EU ?!

Absolutely we're hosting user data, your login information, any other bits of profile information, anything you post, it all belongs to the respective users; and in the case of EU users, that data must be processed within the bounds of the GDPR; regardless of where the service is located. It's about who's data is being processed, not who's doing the processing...

Under GDPR even a client IP is considered personal identifiable information. It's why last year I spent about two or three weeks doing nothing else but making the static homepage and plugin repository (hopefully) GDPR compliant, which was a bloody nightmare. So, no, moving this outside the EU and then risk getting cease and desisted into oblivion for that isn't the solution.

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well it really depends on what you consider "private data"... I don't see any data that I put on forum that is "private" ?! lot of forum even show the IP address I post from and/or last IP I logged in from... the only data on forum I'd consider to be private is direct messages between users... now, that's "my common sense" and we all know that common sense have zero to do with how politicians and lawmakers create laws :frowning: ..

you have friends / octoprint have friends & benefactors from outside of EU?! a person X, purchase .org / .com / .notineu domain, use whois protection (not important as person X is not from EU nor linked to EU), person X opens the forum on that domain and give you full control over it? you are not running it, you are not owning it, you can't be held accountable?

I know there's a trick with that where they require non EU sites to comply if they are visited by EU visitors, I know as I see number of USA sites closing access to EU (actually to non-usa) visitors, few of my clients already did it .. but I'm not sure if that can be circumvented by "I agree to wave all my rights as EU citizen" banner :smiley: or something like that ....

Perhaps move the forum to the dark web, where everything is anonymous? Look how long they took to find SilkRoad's founder.

I'm sorry, but the EU has no control over anything outside EU. If a site isn't hosted in any EU member country, any rules/regulations they enact have no affect. They are not the rulers of the world and every country, no matter how much they think they are Pinky and the Brain. Have it hosted on a US site, you still admin as "Co-admin". EU has no say,and anything they try to do will be blocked by the FCC here in the US.

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Europe has more than twice the amount of citizen as the united states.
Every Company which does business in the eu have registered office in the eu.
Then there is no matter where the servers are.
You do business with that company.
For example youtube has an office in Berlin.
Facbook in Ireland.
So they can't say we don't care. Otherwise they maybe will be blocked by the providers.

That may be the case, but Octoprint isn't a commercial entity, and isn't even a business or company.
The EU is not GOD.
Remember what happened to Hitler?

Since we're describing hypothetical solutions...

Wouldn't it be nice if we had a way of detecting who isn't a lawyer, member of the recording industry or member of any organization which opposes free speech? And then when they visit your website, they would get a media- and link-free experience.

It's not as crazy as it seems. Google's webcrawlers are often fed a false story when they come around to index a website. These bots announce themselves with a particular browser Agent identifier; clever webmasters can then return different content based upon this information.

What if website owners collectively create an index of IP address ranges of the "cats" and then the "mice" can tell a different story when they come around? You've probably created code which looks like this:

static void display_device_name(nfc_device *pnd, const bool bVerbose) {
  if (bVerbose) {
    printf("NFC reader: %s opened\n", nfc_device_get_name(pnd));

It's either verbose or it's not. The user sees content or they don't. In this case it's more like "IF NOT CAT..." but that's the suggestion. Just deliver a website which makes their bots go away since there's no content to be found.

Remember, these entities will have to implement bots to crawl the Internet to look for content much the same way that Google indexes the Internet. You want to make this harder for them? Identify their bots and block them! So now they need to pay interns or people from developing countries to search for copyrighted material (good luck with that).

That would work, but if a user decided to report a site and it was manually checked at some point then it wouldn't work out so great.
Also, side note, providing different data to Google's crawler violates their terms and will get your site penalized or delisted from Google results. I've seen it happen.

We're not discussing Google's TOS, though, we're just describing that it's done routinely and effectively by website owners in realtime.

We somewhat enjoy what is called net neutrality, the idea that we get to download what's on the Internet just like anyone else. But if my Cox Internet cable company wanted to play games with me, they could block Google searches for "cox internet class action lawsuits", for example; I'd just see something like a 404 error message perhaps.

What I'm suggesting is a fight-fire-with-fire approach. Selectively abandon net neutrality for the copyright/patent industry's bots.

Don't forget the earlier misbehavior of Monsanto. Who's to say that these people won't also create bots to upload copyrighted material so that they may programmatically see if it applied their filters? This is how we test code—we inject something and we look for it. Trust me, this is what it will become someday in the future.

isn't it ? :joy:
Why have Gina to pay taxes for their small business ?
if it isn't a business?

Why there is a VAT Id on the page if it isn't a business ?
if it isn't a business?

Remember what happened to Hitler?

After this sentence it was clear for me that you are an american without visit your profile XD

The EU is not GOD.

How can the EU be god if the USA is already god.
This point goes to you :blush:

My point is the EU does not control USA Hosted web sites and forums. Octoprint isn't a "business", if it was commercial software, we would have to purchase it etc.
The VAT is there for DONATIONS made to support the developer, not to purchase software.
The EU doesn't control the rest of the world.
You want to make insults against Americans, go do it elsewhere.