After first hour of #Copyright4Startups ,summ is that legislators, by trying to keep YouTube in check, may send a death ray to most others.— Justo Hidalgo (@justohidalgo) February 6, 2017
Sharing photos, films, images, text and whatever else we find freely accessible on the net: Users have become the central actor of creative life in our society. Yet, with the Copyright Directive platforms and social networks, especially startups and newcomers, will be put under the control of an undefined number of rightsholders.
The Directive addresses user-generated content, a core element for many online platforms. Whether the content is actually copyright protected or infringing at all may be irrelevant. Under the new rules, hosts of user-generated content may become liable for infringing content uploaded by users. Regardless thereof, startups may then be forced into agreements with an undefined number of rightsholders. These rightsholders would have a say on filtering all user-generated content and create a disproportionally expensive layer of content-filtering and censorship.
Text and data mining (TDM) – The EU just told data mining startups to take their business elsewhere
Up until now, there haven’t been clear rules on text and data mining in Europe. The majority of Europe’s 1.6 million startups rely on data analytics. It’s hard to think of a startup that doesn’t use the power of data to get newer, more accurate and smarter insights from data that’s already available for free on the web.
While the Commission has identified the potential of text and data mining, it failed to understand that it’s startups who use the technology most. That means you can develop an idea or algorithm in a European university and mine the data there, but you won’t be able to transform the results into a scalable and successful startup in Europe.
The scraping and mining of freely available texts could give rise to complex, costly legal problems from the get-go — problems that not even the most prudent founder teams could navigate
Publishers Rights, Ancillary Copyright or Snippet Tax – a failed concept to be scaled
To save the outdated business models of a part of the publishers, the Commission aims to copy a piece of law that has failed in Germany and Spain before. Startups scale when they are really successful, it looks like the opposite applies for EU laws! All this despite the fact that the Commission acknowledged that publishers did not benefit from the new tax at all. This move is an attempt to create an anticompetitive advantage for incumbents by taxing innovative online services. Although publishers online revenues began plummeting way before news aggregators became big, they are supposed to share their revenue. Ancillary copyright is relevant for startups because they will be hit by the full force of the publishers lawyers army and will have to pay out or stop their service. This is unlikely to happen to tech giants who can defend themselves.