On Tuesday the European Parliament voted with a clear majority for the adoption of a widely controversial copyright reform. Critics fear massive restrictions on the free Internet. Rights holders though expect better payment. The consequences for the erotic industry are difficult to predict. Will the disruptive tube pages disappear?
Part of the copyright reform passed by the European Parliament is a so-called upload filter, which makes websites responsible for what users upload to their sites. Up to now, tube sites such as Pornhub and Redtube, but also major mainstream providers such as YouTube, have been able to claim that they can block or delete content on request, but cannot recognize pirated or copyrighted content during upload. The copyright reform is designed to force the providers to do this and thus prevent copyright infringements.
What initially looks like a blessing for the troubled paid content providers could turn out to be detrimental to freedom on the Internet and ultimately also harm smaller content producers who could lose large platforms delivering global audiences. Not only Youtuber and Instagrammer have long since developed profitable business models, but also clip page and tube page uploaders that create or advertise their own content over these platforms.
Consequences of the reform: More turnover for corporations, loss of net culture?
Critics of the copyright reform fear that the new regulations will ultimately only benefit large media conglomerates, which will now be able to better enforce their rights, to better control the distribution of their content and thus to offer it at higher prices. Some fear for the Meme culture and collages, parodies, quotations, and the net culture as we know it.
YouTube was not the only one to mobilize massively against the EU’s proposed legislation. In numerous cities, young fans of Youtubers in particular were on the streets demonstrating against upload filters and stricter interpretation of copyright laws.
Means for censorship? Technical feasibility?
Prominent representatives and advocates of a free Internet such as Edward Snowden and Cory Doctorow from the Electronic Frontier Foundation have also sharply criticized the project. Immediately after the vote in the EU Parliament, Snowden spoke on Twitter: »Never forget what they did here!«
Doctorow also doubts the technical feasibility of the law. He wrote a month ago that »any online community, platform or service that has existed for three or more years, or is making €10,000,001/year or more, is responsible for ensuring that no user ever posts anything that infringes copyright, even momentarily.«. He believes that this is technically impossible. The only way would be automatic upload filters, which would necessarily have to be designed so strictly that quotes, collages and uses of other copyrights would be technically prevented completely. Involuntary censorship of the Internet would be the result.
The next few months must show to what extent the critics are right or whether the alarming comments from the tube operators prove to be true. It remains to be seen how xHamster and the MindGeek group’s RedTube, YouPorn and PornHub websites will react to the European assault on their business model.