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EU policy/Copyright 2019 and FlightGear

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EU policy/Copyright 2019 and FlightGear

Postby Catalanoic » Sat Mar 23, 2019 1:28 pm

Hi guys! I'm writting to you because the EU copyright reform that final vote will take place on 26 March 2019. After years of deliberation and negotiations on the proposal for a EU copyright reform, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union have reached an agreement on a final version of the text, but, despite some positive articles, some Internet communities considers this reform to be a step in the wrong direction. The main aim of its two central provisions (Articles 11 & 13) is to control and restrict dissemination of content online. This could lead to less information and culture from fewer sources being available to citizens. You can read more at Wikimedia or here. Some wikipedias are deciding to shutdown for 1-3 days until the votation occurs and some demonstration on streets. The FlightGear project, and the whole open source community has sensibility about these communities and the whole Internet spectrum. I think we need to support it in some direction.
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Re: EU policy/Copyright 2019 and FlightGear

Postby Torsten » Sat Mar 23, 2019 5:46 pm

Thanks for pointing this one out.
I have been following the discussion for a long time now and i fear that if this becomes reality it will affect the FlightGear infrastructure, too.
Just think of the scenemodels database or fgaddon where we are used to "upload" content.
It's not hard to guess that - if content-scanning becomes mandatory - commercial services offering this will soon after pop up like mushrooms in the rain. None of this will offer their service for free. This will most likely kill the scenemodels database.

If you live in the EU, please get informed and act.

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Re: EU policy/Copyright 2019 and FlightGear

Postby tdammers » Sat Mar 23, 2019 6:11 pm

As much as I oppose this proposal, it's not as devastating to Open Source, or FlightGear in particular, as you make it sound.

Content scanning will be mandatory for "commercial platforms", and IIRC the exact nature of the platform is further qualified, with an intention to target social media and similar services. FlightGear is not commercial, and I doubt the "social media like" qualification applies, so I'm pretty sure mandatory content scanning isn't going to apply.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't go and voice your concerns against this proposal. Just that it probably won't affect FlightGear much (except for its commercial users and commercial third party services, maybe).
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Re: EU policy/Copyright 2019 and FlightGear

Postby Catalanoic » Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:15 pm

It affects the project indirectly and perhaps we can avoid future inconveniences but, as most FG users are european, there's a point of concern
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Re: EU policy/Copyright 2019 and FlightGear

Postby FlugHund » Sun Mar 24, 2019 1:21 am

Would someone care to elaborate which words and phrases of Art. 11 and 13 exactly we should be afraid of? I've read some stuff on that topic and at least some of it seems to based on vivid imagination. Looking at the text itself I cannot see what everybody is so concerned about.
https://juliareda.eu/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Art_11_unofficial.pdf
https://juliareda.eu/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Art_13_unofficial.pdf
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Re: EU policy/Copyright 2019 and FlightGear

Postby Thorsten » Sun Mar 24, 2019 11:45 am

Hm. even after a few pages of Sascha Lobo on Spiegel online, I haven't realized what the issue is. The thrust of the article is 'I'm a creatve guy, I think it's very bad, politicians aren't listening to me.'

But he fails to make clear why it is really bad (which might be why nobody is listening).

So if anyone can explain in details - please.
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Re: EU policy/Copyright 2019 and FlightGear

Postby tdammers » Sun Mar 24, 2019 12:34 pm

Much of it is indeed unfounded panic reactions.

First of all, these articles only apply to:

...a provider of an information society
service whose main or one of the main purposes is to store and give the public access to a
large amount of copyright protected works or other protected subject-matter uploaded by its
users which it organises and promotes for profit-making purposes


That is, all of the following must be true:

- storing and publically exposing data must be one of the main purposes of the service
- large amounts of protected materials must be exposed
- the protected materials must be user-uploaded
- organizing and promoting the uploading, distribution and storage of those materials must be done for profit-making purposes

So that means that this doesn't apply to, for example:

- Personal blogs
- Wikipedia
- The forum you are looking at

The intention of this proposal has been from the start to combat the situation where users (often anonymously) upload copyright-protected materials to social media, effectively using them as a means to commit copyright infringement anonymously, and social media providers profiting from this, while rejecting any kind of responsibility.

The problem with this is of course that it moves the responsibility for fighting copyright infringement from (hopefully) democratically established and controlled authorities to private entities with conflicting agendas; and this is a problem because it de-democratizes the availability and exchange of information on the internet.

Protests and activism seem to have made a difference here, it looks like newer iterations of the proposal fix many of the loopholes seen in earlier versions (e.g., explicitly excluding hyperlinking, defining the scope more rigidly, explicitly mentioning some fair use exceptions, etc.).

That said, I can see a few ways in which this could actually affect flightgear. For example, commercial code hosting services like github or sourceforge ARE within the scope of the law's definition of a service provider (according to my layman's interpretation anyway), and this means that if, say, Boeing says FG is infringing on the Boeing trademark, SF may be forced to respond by making the relevant material unavailable. Then again, this isn't exactly news, the main difference would be that SF would have to do a "reasonable" amount of proactive filtering, and the takedown might happen before Boeing even says anything.

An "easy" fix for that, if it happens, would be to move the code to a self-hosted repo somewhere. Even if you host it on, say, AWS or Linode or whatever, the new law probably wouldn't apply, because those services don't meet the definition.

TL;DR: proposal is bad, but probably won't affect FG much.
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Re: EU policy/Copyright 2019 and FlightGear

Postby Catalanoic » Sun Mar 24, 2019 10:27 pm

Thanks for the comments, but i think the new EU policy envisions a technical and legal infrastructure that treats user generated content with suspicion unless proved legal. This will dramatically decrease the diversity of content available online if websites strictly comply with these requirements. And i'm sure FG project rely on the outside world and as it affects the internet ecosystem, we'll be indirectly affected too. I think the new reform improves the earlier version with some text and data-mining, protect cultural heritage content (although no Freedom of Panorama...shame!), etc but i think some articles were written without considering all factors.

PS: vivid imagination? having a reform including these toxic provisions will let your imagination to become reality... I dont know, maybe because MEPs are up for re-election, want to finish something despite Brexit and other real world problems but with a better third or fourth reform proposal and the time between to debate it would be better than just be fine with an incompleted one.
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Re: EU policy/Copyright 2019 and FlightGear

Postby Thorsten » Mon Mar 25, 2019 5:53 am

Thanks for the comments, but i think the new EU policy envisions a technical and legal infrastructure that treats user generated content with suspicion unless proved legal.


So do we in the FG project - we audit new content and check GPL compliance before committing to the repository, we don't commit everything and ask questions later. I can't see anything wrong with that (especially given the huge mass of content that manifestly is 'just taken' from somewhere without regard for license that's available on e.g. YouTube).
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Re: EU policy/Copyright 2019 and FlightGear

Postby tdammers » Mon Mar 25, 2019 7:42 am

Catalanoic wrote in Sun Mar 24, 2019 10:27 pm:Thanks for the comments, but i think the new EU policy envisions a technical and legal infrastructure that treats user generated content with suspicion unless proved legal. This will dramatically decrease the diversity of content available online if websites strictly comply with these requirements. And i'm sure FG project rely on the outside world and as it affects the internet ecosystem, we'll be indirectly affected too. I think the new reform improves the earlier version with some text and data-mining, protect cultural heritage content (although no Freedom of Panorama...shame!), etc but i think some articles were written without considering all factors.

PS: vivid imagination? having a reform including these toxic provisions will let your imagination to become reality... I dont know, maybe because MEPs are up for re-election, want to finish something despite Brexit and other real world problems but with a better third or fourth reform proposal and the time between to debate it would be better than just be fine with an incompleted one.


Yes; this proposal reverses the "innocent until proven guilty" principles and undermines democracy by moving some executive and judicial responsibilities to private entities. That's bad.

But in practice, the concrete consequences for FG will be very limited. The worst case scenario, I think, would be one where SourceForge (and GitHub, and any other commercial code hosting service) complies with a request from Boeing, Airbus, or some other Aircraft manufacturer, to block all "user-uploaded" content containing references to their trademarks, without the intervention of a court to establish whether it actually constitutes a trademark violation. This would mean that SF- or GitHub-hosted FG versions would have to cull all branded content in order to get hosted again, or the FG project would have to find a non-commercial code hosting home. A hassle, certainly; but not the death of free speech and free software as we know it.
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Re: EU policy/Copyright 2019 and FlightGear

Postby Catalanoic » Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:08 pm

3 examples of how this reform will affect SMEs, as said, it can affect open source projects too :twisted:
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Re: EU policy/Copyright 2019 and FlightGear

Postby tdammers » Tue Mar 26, 2019 12:44 pm

None of these 3 examples has anything to do with open source; all 3 are for-profit services.

The MuseScore example is particularly interesting, because the Open Source part there is a bit of a red herring: MuseScore (the software) is free, open source software, and distributed free of charge. The proposal does not affect this part *at all*. The score sharing service on musescore.com, however, is a commercial for-profit online service, and since its main purpose is sharing potentially copyright-protected material, the proposal would apply. It doesn't harm the software, except of course that the current funding model may not be feasible anymore.

I don't see how FlightGear currently depends on anything that would be covered though - none of the associated services (except for the code hosting) fall under the definitions of the proposal. Multiplayer, tracker, forum, they're all hosted free of charge and on a not-for-profit basis.
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Re: EU policy/Copyright 2019 and FlightGear

Postby Thorsten » Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:02 pm

I'm sorry, but if the business model is 'Upload what you want, and if someone notifies us it's illegal we'll take it down' then maybe that is a problematic business model in the first place and should not go on.

In FG, we've had long discussions about the virtues of reviewing content before it enters the repository with people who believe in the other approach, basically the whole OpenSource community follows the principle of making sure licensing is okay before stuff gets committed for years - so I believe this is how it should be.

I don't want any platform to illegally distribute my stuff and wait for me to recognize the problem - I want the platform to notice that they can't distribute my stuff before they make it available. It's as simple as that.
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Re: EU policy/Copyright 2019 and FlightGear

Postby legoboyvdlp » Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:38 pm

GitHub may be particularly at risk - especially if you think about e.g. FGMEMBERS which has at least one pirated sound file and some navigraph files in its history to my knowledge. Unfortunately this legislation will almost certainly force git sites to implement some form of filtering.

However, if they implement filtering or allow responsible projects (ie flightgear and their fgaddon) to prove that they have their own filtering process etc then that shouldn't be a problem - as a worst case scenario, flightgear could host a git repository on flightgear.org - however, the problem would be securing funding for that and it would be very inconvenient as there would not be much capability for forks / pull requests etc.

I don't think trademarks would be problematic - isn't this more about copyrights than trademarks (especially since FlightGear is free of charge?)
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Re: EU policy/Copyright 2019 and FlightGear

Postby Parnikkapore » Tue Mar 26, 2019 11:06 pm

Most of the concern of A13 is that it strains new websites who has to implement an upload filter even though they might not have the money to. Which isn't really our problem (save for some copyright trolling to Scenemodels maybe), but a big issue in other communities.

Personally, carve-outs would probably be abused over definition twiddling eventually.
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