The Three Internets

Casey Newton gives a lot of great perspective on how the European Union’s new Copyright Directive breaks the internet:

As of today, though, the web no longer feels truly worldwide. Instead we now have the American internet, the authoritarian internet, and the European internet. How does the EU Copyright Directive change our understanding of the web? James Vincent describes its changes, which still must be implemented by individual countries, in The Verge…

If you’re not familiar with the directive, you’ll find a good summary in Newton’s piece; for now suffice it to say that the restrictions are so onerous and wrong-headed that it would be reasonable for anybody running some of content-driven online service to decide to simply block it throughout Europe rather than try to comply, because compliance will require massive expenditures.

I’m not opposed to regulation of the internet, and in fact I would like see the United States get serious about protecting privacy and restricting data collection. But regulation is hard to do well, and you can pretty much count on anything related intellectual property being a disaster; one need only look at how badly media companies have abused the DCMA’s provision for a take-down process to see that. This is one of those cases where doing nothing would be far better than what Europe is getting.

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