'A leading authorities on online data privacy has warned new EU copyright regulations will give US tech firms money and data from hobbled European rivals.
Yesterday the EU has adopted copyright reforms championed by the media despite opposition from Google and campaigners saying it restricts internet freedom.
The reform, which got final approval from the European Council on Monday, was loudly backed by news publishers and artists who want protection over their content being shared.
But German Data Privacy Commissioner Ulrich Kelber, who is also a computer scientist, warned before the measure passed that its Article 13 will exacerbate the problem of market concentration in the tech sector, and expose Europeans to particular risk of online surveillance and manipulation.
Article 13 requires that online communities, platforms, and services prevent their users from committing copyright infringement, rather than ensuring that infringing materials are speedily removed.
In an official statement on the Directive, Kelber warned it would lead to the use of automated filters, which would be powered by the industry's largest firms, since they have the resources to build and run the software.
He wrote: 'But if a company is too small to afford licenses, it's also too small to build filters. Google's Content ID for YouTube cost a reported €100 million to build and run, and it only does a fraction of the blocking required under Article 13. That means that they'll have to buy filter services from someone else.
'The most likely filter vendors are the US Big Tech companies like Google and Facebook, who will have to build and run filters anyway, and could recoup their costs by renting access to these filters to smaller competitors.'
Cory Doctorow, a leading campaigner for copyright reform, explained: 'So Article 13 guarantees America's giant companies a permanent share of all small EU companies' revenues and access to an incredibly valuable data-stream generated by all European discourse, conversation, and expression.
'These companies have a long track record of capitalising on users’ personal data to their advantage, and between that advantage and the revenues they siphon off of their small European competitors, they are likely to gain permanent dominance over Europe's Internet.'
Read more: New EU internet copyright laws will give US web giants a huge financial advantage and subject Europeans to mass surveillance, data privacy expert warns
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17 July 2019
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