Copyright 13

First I would like to thank every one of you who participated in the protests yesterday. In Germany, we brought roughly 200.000 people on the street. That is incredible for such a dry and boring topic as copyrights. Maybe this was enough to stop this bungled affair of the new copyright directive.

#copyright13 #copyright #eu #article13

Second I want to look ahead. Let us assume we stop the current attempt to shift more power towards the big copyright companies. What then? Therefore I wrote this post.

Part 3: How to do it better

From my point of view, we have to solve two problems?
1. What is the responsibility of the big platform and what is not
2. How do we make sure that the creatives receive fair pay for their works?

Responsibility of platforms

If we are to answer this question, only looking at the copyright question would imply ignoring a lot of similar structured questions. Platforms for user-generated content are involved in a plethora of problems like defamation, fake news, terror propaganda, etc.

You can easily see why the current proposition of the EU copyright directive is bullshit. One cannot solve all these problems with upload filters. So implementing those for the copyright problem would lead to a lot of scattered solutions. Instead, we should work out responsibilities and work through them.

When looking into how platforms for user-generated content works, we see they all follow the same pattern:

a) The user uploads content
b) Other users "follow" the original user and watch the content
c) Someone searches for specific content and finds it
d) The platform recommends content to users

I think most responsibilities are clear. With a) and b) the platform makes no decision and therefore should be clear of any blame. The responsibility rests solely upon the shoulders of the users.

But when the platform in d) gives a recommendation, it offers an endorsement. At that point, the content should be treated as if the platform itself had made it available. It is already a recommendation if the platform sorts content by any other method than in which it has been uploaded. This because by selecting the sorting mode, the platform already makes a decision.

The only tricky issue is c) as both platform and user make a decision. I would recommend the separation at the following line: The user is responsible when the platform only delivers the best matches and does not profit from the results. The platform becomes responsible ones it benefits or intents from the results (e.g., advertisements) or interprets intent.
  • This approach offers several benefits:
  • No upload-filters are needed.
  • There is also no filter between a user and his followers.
  • The platforms would have additional responsibility and effort, but only where they drive their own business.
  • It would increase willingness to purchase licenses from the copyright owners as those expenses are tied to revenue.

Improve the revenue for artists

As I pointed out in one of the previous posts, there is not a lack of money in the system. We spend money on content as never before. But the revenue flow dries up, long before it reaches most of the content creators. Why is that?

The reason is that a creator, in general, sells his right for a fixed some long before his creation is converted into consumer money. Though the creator has bargaining rights, future and benefits for the buyer use are unclear. The buyer takes the risk, but also makes all decisions from this point on.

The copyrights after the first sale become something like a stock share. They are traded, withheld from the market, cornered, bundled and sold as part of a company. In nearly all of those instances, the original creator does not stand to profit. Disney bought Fox for more than 71 billion US$ (and this mostly for copyrights Fox held), but not a single creative benefited from it.

So my solution for the revenue problem is quite simple: A every sale or licensing agreement of a copyright a share (e.g., 10%) will go to the original creator. The same happens whenever the ownership of a company changes which holds on to copyrights in order to license or sell them