So the EU has voted through its new copyright bill. As Chair of a leading Rights management software company I’m rubbing my hands with glee, but as someone who pontificates endlessly about the Internet, I’m rather more hesitant.
Essentially the legislation says that you have to get someone’s permission to use their ‘work’, however available or succinct it is.
Theoretically Flipboard and Apple News will be breaking the law with every page of their services unless they come to an agreement with the rights holders.
Equally, if your son or daughter uses an image off the internet for a school project that is not explicitly cleared you will be in line for a massive fine and possibly jail time (it is not yet clear how the directive will pass into law in member countries).
The legislation was aimed at Big Internet, but those companies shrug it off knowing that they already have deals in place with most major content owners at ridiculous rates.
So, as ever, the EU has unintendedly made life worse for ordinary people and better for Big Internet.
As far as I can tell the only effect of GDPR were more annoying pop ups on every site and nothing in the way of greater protection for users.
When the UK finally leaves the EU, it has the opportunity to pass much better considered laws. But don’t hold your breath....
Meanwhile, we have some great cloud based rights management software you can subscribe to in order to manage all of your new liabilities!