Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 24th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2019 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at

Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

EU to ban user-generated content sites?

29 October 2018

Some of the internet's most popular websites are driven by user-generated content.

There's YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and a raft of other entities which rely on users uploading material which, in turn, attracts other users which, in turn, exposes them to advertising.

Although sometimes the ads are pretty annoying, this add-funded, user-generated content paradigm has worked pretty well for quite some time now.

Of course there are some issues -- such as when users upload someone else's copyrighted material without permission. To reduce this, both YouTube and Facebook have automated content-ID systems which attempt to identify and delete infringing material. So far, most copyright owners have accepted that this is a "best efforts" approach on the part of the Net companies and so we only occasionally see law-suits claiming losses.

However, the EU is a bit challenged in this regard.

The bureaucrats in Brussels seem hell-bent on passing new laws that would effectively hold companies like YouTube and Facebook responsible and legally liable for any copyright infringements created by users' uploads.

If this law were to pass (and it's looking like it might), it could spell the death of many very popular net-based services in the EU.

After having suffered a beating at the hands of the adpocalypse, where advertisers left in droves after finding their promotions running on "unsuitable" content uploaded by users, YouTube is running very gun-shy and appears unwilling to take the risk that they might face huge fines if people upload movies, music or other material without the permission of the copyright owner.

It seems that the EU's legislators have a motto of "we're not happy until you're not happy" when it comes to regulations and this latest attempt at scuttling freedoms would effectively turn the internet into a place where all you could find was material produced by corporate entities.

Although this "Copyright Directive" was originally rejected by the EU parliament back in July, it has been revised and the new version recently passed the first hurdle to becoming law. A final vote is to be held in January.

The Verge did a piece on this issue which explains the ins and outs but most critically, it would impose a "link tax" on hyperlinks to copyrighted material and make publishers liable for any and all copyright infringements created by uploaders to that site.

YouTube has officially officially warned that this directive would place the entire creative online community at risk and has warned that if enacted, YouTube might have to block all EU countries from accessing its platform.

And now, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has urged video makers using the platform to "take action immediately" to protest the proposed legislation.

"This legislation poses a threat to both your livelihood and your ability to share your voice with the world", she stated in this blog post.

So what the hell is going on in Europe?

Did Britain do the right thing and decide to pull out of the EU, given the latter's propensity to engage in all sorts of mind-numbing and freedom-wrecking regulation?

Are the EU legislators effectively building their own cyber-equivalent of the Berlin Wall by creating an online regulatory environment which is so hostile that no sensible operators will allow access to their content from this part of the world?

I'd love to get readers' take on this.

Please visit the sponsor!
Please visit the sponsor!

Have your say in the Aardvark Forums.

PERMALINK to this column

Rank This Aardvark Page


Change Font

Sci-Tech headlines



Beware The Alternative Energy Scammers

The Great "Run Your Car On Water" Scam


Recent Columns

So handy, so cheap
Hands up all those who remember the clunky, old-fashioned, unreliable, expensive torches of yester-year?...

Another million-dollar idea?
Supermarkets have stopped giving away "free" single-use plastic bags...

The Snowflake Award for 2019 goes to...
Many groups of workers have representative bodies that lobby strongly for their rights and to protect their members...

YouTube bans ads on "controversial" videos
Some people stir up controversy, almost as if for fun...

Could outer space bring peace to earth?
Space exploration is heating up...

Is nuclear power the future?
If you've ever read any of those old Popular Science or Popular Mechanics magazines from the 1950s and 1960s, you'd be forgiven for thinking that by now (2019), the world would be almost totally nuclear powered...

Red tape run amok
Everyone knows about clipboard nazis...

Better than radio-waves
Radio transmissions are (IMHO) one of mankind's greatest achievements...

Google Chromecast - crap!
The wife wanted Netflix but our "generic" brand TV isn't smart enough on its own...

Beware the digital eviction
We are the masters of technology...

Is this butterfly a canary?
Back in "the olden days", men working in coal mines, deep below the surface of the planet, would take canaries with them as they dug deep into the earth's crust...