the SMART law against freedom of expression?

presented as a law of content filtering », the SMART Copyright Act of 2022 is being heavily denounced by online service providers. The latter fear that this ” technical measure » it is synonymous with the obligation of automated removal of allegedly infringing material, with all the abuses inherent in machine censorship.

A joint letter to oppose the bill

This new copyright legislation will therefore require the implementation of still unknown screening technologies that will have to be purchased and put into service. If they refuse, the library could face millions of dollars in fines. ” Mandatory filters are error-prone in ways that harm consumers, and raise barriers to entry in ways that reduce competition.explains law professor Eric Goldman on the Internet Archive blog.

And to add: More broadly, the SMART Copyright Act would give the Copyright Office truly extraordinary power: the ability to force thousands of companies to adopt, at their expense, technology they neither want nor need. These imposed tools would simply reshape the way the Internet works.

To carry out this battle against this law, 32 civil society organizations, professional associations, companies and academics, including the American Library Association, the Authors Alliance, or platforms such as Pinterest or Vimeo, have published a joint letter. They argue that the DMCA was more than enough to protect the copyright system.

It already prohibits, according to the signatories, circumventing technological protection measures to access a work protected by copyright. In addition, rights holders and service providers regularly use technical measures to identify and block infringing content. For the Association of Research Libraries, if standardized technical measures are not taken, it is because small service providers such as libraries do not have the resources to adopt technical measures designed for large commercial platforms.

At the din, others rejoice

While library organizations and Internet freedom advocates vehemently oppose this law, publishers and some authors welcome new steps to defend copyright on the Internet, beginning with the powerful Association of American Publishers ( APA). She ” clap your hands including Senators Thom Tillis and Patrick Leahy, who helped sign the SMART Act into law.

For too long, tech platforms have failed to live up to their Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) commitments. Rather, they have even consistently avoided working with copyright owners who wanted to rely on standard technical measures to identify and defend copyrighted works from online infringement.explains María A. Pallante, president and executive director of the union.

READ:Copyright, freedom of publication, inclusion… International publishing projects

Before adding: As a result, nearly 25 years after the DMCA was enacted, not a single technical measure has been deemed a “standard technical measure” under the law, despite the widespread presence of effective technology solutions that technology platforms could and should implement. .. The press release ends with a thank you to the senators involved in enacting this law, and their support for ” a modern and efficient copyright system “. The Authors Union has also welcomed the bill.

Copyright: too much or not enough?

In this eternal question about where to put the cursor on the subject of sacrosanct copyright, a certain Elon Musk started a tweet from which he has the secret… If the AAP or other authors’ associations denounce a DMCA that is too ineffective, for the greatest fortune in the world, this tool” overzealous represents is a scourge for humanity “.

It further states that the current copyright term ” absurdly far” in the protection of creators. Two tweets since deleted, but which Torrent Freak had time to filter:

In recent weeks, several states and their governments have strengthened their copyright laws. In Canada, a Online Broadcasting Law (Online Streaming Act) is the latest to impose the most effective control possible. In the UK, a new online safety bill (Online Safety Bill) aims to censor “ legal but harmful content “.

Credit: Alun Salt (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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