‘Link tax’ and death of memes? EU advances copyright controls

Memes banned. Remixes outlawed. Parody videos removed. Critics say this would be the outcome of the EU adopting two controversial copyright rules that were just approved in committee.

Critics are unhappy with Articles 11 and 13 of the EU Copyright Directive, which were cleared by the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament on Wednesday and now face a floor vote scheduled sometime in July.

Dubbed the “link tax” by critics, Article 11 would require online platforms to pay for links to news and other content they refer to. While proponents said it was intended to make Google and Facebook share the profit they make with news organizations that are struggling in the modern market, critics have pointed out it could penalize linking to content for the purpose of criticism or commentary. It was narrowly approved by the committee, with 13 votes in favor and 12 votes against.

German MEP Christian Ehler (CDU-EPP) is the principal advocate of Article 11. He called it “an important step for the future of the creative industries in Europe.”

“There is a big problem if all those who bring our cultural diversity in Europe to life… can no longer live from their work because online platforms are not prepared to involve them properly,” Ehler said in a statement.

Article 13 is even more controversial, requiring the automatic removal of any material that appears to violate copyright. Critics say this would condemn memes, sampling, news footage and even public domain parliamentary recordings. Platforms would also be held legally liable for copyright violations by their users. This measure advanced with 15 votes in favor and 10 opposed.

Read more

Grumpy Cat, the feline who shot to stardom after a Reddit meme.

Even as Article 11 would force online platforms to pay for content, Article 13 would result in stifling competition and arguably further empower major players like Google or Facebook, which, unlike smaller fish, would have the money and expertise to implement automated censorship and user moderation required to comply with the law. The platforms would also be incentivized to err on the side of censorship to avoid penalties for copyright infringement by their users.

“These measures would seriously undermine basic internet freedoms,” said German MEP Julia Reda (Pirate Party-Greens), a prominent critic of both articles.

A number of internet luminaries, including WWW inventor Tim Berners-Lee and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, have also spoken out against Article 13.

“By requiring Internet platforms to perform automatic filtering all of the content that their users upload, Article 13 takes an unprecedented step towards the transformation of the Internet, from an open platform for sharing and innovation, into a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users,” said the letter signed by Berners-Lee, Wales and dozens of others that was sent to MEPs last week.

Author and activist Cory Doctorow called it a ”foolish, terrible idea,” pointing out that the only filters even remotely able to remove content as required by the law are currently run by American companies, “meaning that US big tech is going to get to spy on everything Europeans post and decide what gets censored and what doesn’t.”

There is no way for AI to decide whether the use of copyrighted work falls within legal exemptions such as quotations or parody. Those exceptions are not consistent across the EU’s 28 member states, nor does the EU have US-style fair use laws. This means that even if the copyright owner does not object to the use of content in memes, remixes, mashups or other creative work, the creators would still technically violate the law.

As the legislation advances toward being enforced, people concerned about a looming death of meme culture in Europe are responding just with that – pro-meme memes.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

RT World News

‘Get knocked up by FIFA players, win $$$ and Whoppers’: Burger King shamed for offensive ad

Burger King has removed an ad from social media that promised Russian women a lifetime supply of Whoppers for getting pregnant from World Cup star players, saying that the PR-stunt was “too offensive.”

The fast-food chain’s page on Russia’s most popular social network, VK (VKontakte), announced on Tuesday that Burger King was offering “a reward for the girls, who would get pregnant from the international football starts,” who arrived in the country for the FIFA World Cup.

“Each one would receive 3 million rubles [$ 47,000] and a lifetime supply of Whoppers (the chain’s most popular burgers),” the post promised. Burger King also claimed that the initiative was a display of “social responsibility” on the part of the company, as “the women, who would obtain the best football genes, will ensure the success of the Russian team for generations to come.”

However, Russian women didn’t find the offer appealing at all, and the company was blasted for being sexist and demeaning in the comment section.

Russian State Duma deputy Vitaly Milonov also slammed Burger King, saying that another “very-very stupid” campaign was masterminded “by the hellish PR people of the fast-food chain.” Milonov blamed the company for “trying to attract attention, not through improving the quality, but though silly offers” and he expressed hope that it would disappear from the Russian market.

Read more

© Leonhard Foeger

Burger King was quick to remove the controversial ad from its VK page and later posted an apology. “We apologize for the statement we’ve made. It turned out to be too offensive,” the company said, but many users remain unconvinced of its sincerity.

“It wasn’t just ‘too offensive’– it was beyond all bounds. After reading that post and your weak apology, I feel as I was smeared with dirt,” one of the comments read.

READ MORE: Burger King in court amid outrage over flyers at Dachau concentration camp

The lackluster achievements of the country’s footballers have been the subject of many jokes in Russia. But the Russian team is actually doing quite well at home in the World Cup, beating Saudi Arabia and Egypt with a combined score of 8-1 and the team is already booking a place in the playoffs for themselves.

Last year, Burger King also found itself in hot water in Russia after one of its ads used the likeness of an underage rape victim, Diana Shurygina, whose story made headlines across the country. A promo on social media contained an image of a girl with the same haircut and clothes Shurygina wore during her famous talk show appearance. The company removed the post after a wave of criticism, but they provided no explanation or apology.

Like this story? Share it with a friend!

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

RT World News

Boss of ‘hitmen army,’ who allegedly has the blood of 60 victims on his hands, extradited to Russia

Alleged crime boss Aslan Gagiyev, who is suspected of being behind the murders of over 60 people, has been extradited to Russia from Austria. He is arguably the worst dealer of contract killings in Russia’s modern history.

The man arrived in Moscow from Vienna on a regular flight on Wednesday under heavy escort from representatives of several Russian security agencies.

Gagiyev, also known as Dzhako, faces numerous criminal charges in Russia, including the organization of a criminal community, banditry, murder, illegal circulation of weapons and fraud, according to Irina Volk, Russia’s Interior Ministry spokeswoman. He faces a lifetime in prison for his alleged crimes.

According to the investigators, back in 2004, the native of the former Soviet Republic of Georgia organized a gang that, at one point, had more than 50 members. The group, which was labeled the ‘hitmen army’ by the Russian media, specialized in contract killings and operated mostly in the southern Russian republic of North Ossetia, Moscow and its suburbs. The alleged hit list of the gang includes the Mayor of Vladikavkaz Vitaly Karaev, vice-premier of North Ossetia Kazbek Pagiyev, law enforcers, prominent bankers and businessmen.

Gagiyev was put on an international wanted list after fleeing Russia in 2013, and he was arrested in Vienna back in 2015. Since then, the Austrian courts have made several rulings to extradite the criminal boss to Russia, but his lawyers have been stalling the process on various pretexts.

Read more

La Barbie is arraigned by Mexican federal police.

Dzhako was supposed to be handed over to Russia in November last year, but, at the last moment, his lawyers presented a medical certificate that their client suffered from a severe form of aerophobia, the fear of flying. The court ordered the examination of Gagiyev by two experts, who independently ruled that he didn’t have the condition and that nothing prevented the defendant from being transported to Moscow by plane.

His lawyers also referred the case to the European Court of Human Rights. They argued that Austria had no right to keep him in custody for such a long period of time and that the decision to extradite him violated his rights.

Gagiyev’s right-hand man and his namesake, Oleg Gagiyev, is already serving a life sentence in Russia, as well as another senior gang member. Convictions have been secured by prosecutors for 20 other people involved, while 13 others are in police custody awaiting or undergoing trial. Nine suspects are fugitives from the law.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

RT World News

Schmeichel praises Spain’s patience in breaking down defensive Iran (VIDEO)

Special RT World Cup host Peter Schmeichel has given his expert analysis on a highly-charged encounter between Spain and Iran at Kazan Arena, which was decided by a dubious Diego Costa goal.

Spain drew level with Portugal at the top of Group B on four points each, while ‘Team Melli’ stay third on three points and needing a win against Portugal in their final game to qualify.

READ MORE: Spain overcome spirited Iran 1-0 to claim World Cup win in Kazan

Schmeichel was quick to laud Iran’s tactical discipline in a 6-3-1 formation, which saw even star forward man Sardar Azmoun even dropping back to midfield to support, but equally commended striker Costa, who fortuitously found the net when the ball ricocheted off him and into the net.

Iran thought they had drawn level when Saeid Ezatolahi’s rifled home after the ball fell to him following a set piece, but the goal was ruled out for offside. Replays showed it was the right decision.

Read more

“Scrappy yes and very very exciting in the last 15 minutes,” Schmeichel said of the game. “Iran actually had the ball in the net and we all thought that they’d scored but the linesman he gave offside and it was taken to a VAR decision and it was the correct decision.

“Spain are probably the best team in this tournament and they played the game the way they had to do it and came away with the three points which puts them firmly back in control of this group.

“It hits Diego Costa’s knee, he knows nothing about it and it goes in and Diego Costa now has three goals in this tournament. He knew nothing about it but he was in the right place at the right time and this is what good strikers do.”

“I have to commend Spain for their patience and they just kept on playing and plucked away as we say in football and eventually it paid dividends. Yes, it was a stroke of luck that it hit Diego Costa’s knee but it’s a goal and it’s enough. And then they just ran the clock down and they did it perfectly.”

As part of the latest episode of RT’s The Peter Schmeichel Show, the former Man United and Denmark great spoke to Johannes Holzmuller, head of FIFA’s Football Technology Innovation, to discuss the finer points of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system. There was no shortage of praise from Peter about the system in Kazan on Wednesday night.

READ MORE: WORLD CUP 2018 LIVE #FansEyeView #FootWall

“The flag goes up, Iran are celebrating the goal, the referee is a little bit unsure on why he gave offside because initially we didn’t spot it, initially we didn’t see that he had hit his own player and came back, so it was taken to VAR and the VAR system rightly said that it was offside. So the linesman and the referee and VAR got it perfectly right,” he said.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

RT Sport News

Australian woman wins right to use dead boyfriend’s sperm to have children

A woman in Queensland, Australia, has won the right in court to have children using her dead partner’s sperm. She still has to persuade the medics for the procedure to go ahead.

Justice Sue Brown delivered the decision – the first of its kind for Australia – in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Wednesday. Brown determined that the woman, Ayla Cresswell, should be allowed to use her deceased boyfriend Joshua Davies’ sperm.

Cresswell had been in a three-year-long relationship with Davies before he took his own life in 2016. It is understood that the couple had planned to get married and have children together.

Cresswell began legal proceedings within hours of finding Davies dead in their home. She hoped to harvest his sperm so that it could later be used for IVF treatment.

Read more

© Global Look Press

The very next day — within the crucial 24-hour window following his death — a court order was passed allowing a surgeon to remove Davies’ sperm. Cresswell has been paying for the storage of the sperm ever since, awaiting the ruling on her right to use it.

As part of her decision, Brown was tasked with determining whether Cresswell was fit to be a single parent. Cresswell told the court that she had already been financially prepared for having a child and that she had enough family support to help her — including the support of Davies’ parents.

The judge agreed with arguments made on behalf of Cresswell and clarified that she was the only person entitled to use Davies’ sperm.

Brown clarified that it’s still up to medical professionals to decide whether or not to go ahead with the procedure.

Like this story? Share it with a friend!

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

RT World News

England fans give Nazi salutes, sing Hitler song in World Cup city invaded during WWII (VIDEO)

A video showing a group of England fans giving sickening salutes and singing Nazi songs in the World Cup host city of Volgograd, in which nearly 2 million people died during WWII, has appeared online.

In the footage, which was reportedly taken after England beat Tunisia 2-1 at Volgograd Arena on Monday, the fans are seen performing Nazi salutes while shouting “Sieg Heil”. They also sang songs which glorify the Third Reich.

The bar in the video has been identified as ‘Galereya Pub’ in Volgograd. RT’s Ruptly video agency, which was on site to report on World Cup games, went to the bar to investigate the video.

While the bar’s employees refused to talk on camera, they confirmed that the group of England fans visited the establishment but say that they missed the moment which was shown in the footage as they were in the process of closing the bar.

The video appears to show the fans signing: “Spurs are on their way to Auschwitz, Hitler’s gonna gas them again, you can’t stop them, the Yids from Tottenham, the yids from White Hart Lane,” while laughing and performing Nazi salutes.

While the song is aimed at fans of Tottenham Hotspur – nicknamed ‘Spurs,’ it is all the more abhorrent given it took place in Volgograd, a city scarred by the Battle of Stalingrad in which nearly 2 million people perished in a defeat of Nazi forces in WWII.

READ MORE: Five ways iconic Stalingrad battle turned tide of WW2

Known as Stalingrad during the war, this year marked 75 years since that battle which was the bloodiest of the entire conflict. The fans could now face criminal proceedings for glorifying Nazis in both Russia and their native United Kingdom.

In Russia under the criminal justice system, actions meant to incite hatred based on race or religion can be punished with up to five years in prison. According to reports in UK media, British police are already working with the Football Association to investigate of the video.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

RT Sport News

Royal welcome? Trump to meet the Queen after all during his UK visit, ambassador says

US President Donald Trump will meet with Queen Elizabeth during his visit to the UK next month, says the US ambassador to London. The “very symbolic” meeting would come despite the royal family’s chilly attitude toward Trump.

“Meeting Her Majesty is the most important thing, because she’s the head of state, and from then on, it’ll be what the president wants to do,” Ambassador Robert Wood Johnson told the British Sky News when asked about the US leader’s plans for his trip. “I mean he has to see the head of state. Putting his foot on British soil, it is job one, it’s very important, very symbolic,” he added.

Read more

 © Andy Rowland/ Global Look Press

Trump is due to arrive in the UK for a working visit on July 13. It will be his first trip to the country, which the US supposedly has a “special relationship” with, since his election victory in 2016. His trip has since been downgraded from a full-blown state visit, which British Prime Minister Theresa May promised him last year, to a “working visit,” which does not necessarily involve a meeting with the Queen.

Trump is expected to meet Her Majesty at Windsor Castle, which will be closed to the public on July 13, according to Sky News. This might not sit well with some members of the royal family. Princes William and Harry have reportedly expressed their concerns over Trump’s presidency in private and called him “a serious threat to human rights,” according to media reports.

Prince Harry is also said to have admitted he “is not a fan” of the 45th US president, and he has “often been vocal” about his feelings towards Trump. On the other hand, the father of Harry’s wife, Meghan Markle, now the Duchess of Sussex, has recently struck the public by saying that the prince told him to “give Donald Trump a chance.”

It seems, however, that the British people are even less keen to see the US leader meeting the Queen or even visiting the UK at all. Tens of thousands protested against Trump’s visit after May initially invited him in 2017. The anti-Trump campaign was then joined by popular British musicians, comedians and politicians, as well as trade unionists, while almost 2 million people signed a petition against his visit.

Some protests are also expected to take place during Trump’s visit in July. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, however, seems to be more than happy with the upcoming event. Back in April, he took to Twitter with an erratically capitalized post to share his glee over the US president’s upcoming visit, which he called “fantastic news.”

If you like this story, share it with a friend!

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

RT UK News

Hungary approves ‘Stop Soros’ law criminalizing aid to illegal migrants

Hungary’s parliament has passed a law that could see anyone helping illegal immigrants claim asylum in the country imprisoned. The ‘Stop Soros’ law is named after Hungarian-born billionaire and open-borders advocate, George Soros.

The law was voted on in the Hungarian parliament on Wednesday, where Viktor Orban’s right-wing Fidesz party holds a two-thirds majority. Under the law, individuals who aid migrants, informing them about the asylum procedure or “providing financial or property benefit” will be liable for a 12-month prison sentence. NGOs working with migrants will need to seek licenses and will see the scope of their work severely restricted.

Read more

© Bernadett Szabo

The law was criticized by Human Rights Watch, who called it “the latest salvo in the Hungarian government’s war on refugees and those who help them.”

Under its terms, aid workers suspected of “enabling illegal immigration” could be barred from border areas at the authorities’ discretion. Activists fear that this could be used against watchdog groups and journalists keeping an eye on Hungarian authorities.

The law also grants the authorities permission to deny asylum claims to migrants who arrive from a country other than their own.

“We want to use the bills to stop Hungary from becoming a country of immigrants,” said Interior Minister Sandor Pinter.

The bill is named after Hungarian-born billionaire and liberal financier George Soros. Soros has been a vocal critic of Orban’s government and at the height of the refugee crisis, stated that the “EU has to accept at least a million asylum-seekers annually for the foreseeable future. And, to do that, it must share the burden fairly.”

READ MORE: Le Pen, Orban, Wilders among Kremlin’s ‘5th column’ hell-bent on destroying Europe, says EU bigwig

Orban has accused Soros of attempting to use mass migration to undermine Europe’s stability. “Soros has antagonized not only us but also England, President Trump and Israel too,” Orban said in February. “Everywhere he wants to get migration accepted. It won’t work. We are not alone and we will fight together… and we will succeed.”

Read more

Migrants crossing from Austria into Germany in 2015.

So far, Orban appears to be winning. Soros’ Open Society Foundations ended its operations in Hungary this April, citing “an increasingly repressive political and legal environment in Hungary.” The Hungarian government had previously hinted that Soros’ NGO could be punished under the new law.

“If Soros is found to have engaged in such activity, meaning he organizes illegal immigration, then the rules will apply to him,” government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said in February.

In addition to the ‘Stop Soros’ law, the parliament also passed a constitutional amendment on Wednesday stating that an “alien population” cannot be settled in Hungary, a rebuke of the EU’s plan to impose resettlement quotas on member states.

Viktor Orban rode a wave of populist sentiment to victory in Hungary’s 2010 elections. Since then he has been a constant critic of liberal democracy, and of the European Union. When waves of migrants began pouring into Hungary over the Serbian border, his government erected a 110-mile long, double-layer security fence in 2015.

At present, Hungary accepts two asylum seekers per day. Once their claims are processed, they often disappear towards Austria and Germany.

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

RT World News

‘There are trigger points’: FIFA technology head explains VAR system to Peter Schmeichel (VIDEO)

Russia 2018 is the first large-scale introduction of VAR (Video Assistant Referee) but how does the new system work exactly? RT’s Peter Schmeichel was given a crash course in the cutting-edge technology.

“In general we are talking about four game-changing situations,” explains Johannes Holzmuller, head of FIFA’s Football Technology Innovation to RT’s Schmeichel about when VAR will be employed.

Read more

/ RT

“These are the trigger points for VAR. It means that only when one of these situations is happening on the pitch then VAR can support the referee on the pitch. If something happens, let’s say a potential red card, the ball goes out of play or even if the ball is still in the game, in the background there are checks happening.

“The entire VAR team – we will have four VARs – they will check immediately; is this a potential red card? In the moment when he is clear that this is obvious and very clear for everyone, then he will inform the referee on the pitch. The VAR then explains exactly what he has seen, what was the clear and obvious error.”

If it isn’t clear, the referee has access to a monitor on the sideline so he can make his own judgement call on the incident.

“If it is factual information – the best example is offside – it is black and white. We have a line, we will see the line and [the referee] will then of course support the VAR”

Given that VAR is still a relatively new introduction to the ruleset of the beautiful game, some grey areas still exist. Can officials, for example, bring back play by a period of two minutes?

“Yes and no,” Holzmuller explains. “In the attacking phase it is defined in the protocol the moment when it starts, the build-up to the goal.

READ MORE: ‘VAR cannot replace referees,’ – FIFA refereeing head Busacca (VIDEO)

“It’s really up to the referee to decide [when] the build-up to the goal started … and from thereon everything that is not according to the laws of the game can be analyzed.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

RT Sport News

Stand up to Trump: Ex-Labour leader Ed Miliband urges Theresa May to defend ‘values’ (VIDEO)

Former leader of the Labour party Ed Miliband has challenged Prime Minister Theresa May to do more about US President Donald Trump, and other right-wing governments he believes are undermining fundamental democratic ‘values.’

During Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Miliband said: “This has been a chilling week for those of us who believe in values of tolerance and diversity.”

Trump has earned fresh criticism recently over the immigration policy pursued by his Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ which involves separating thousands of children from their parents as they try to cross the southern US border illegally.

The PM had previously labelled the images of children being kept in cages as “deeply disturbing” and “wrong.”

Citing Trump, as well as populist governments in Poland and Italy, the former Opposition leader said: “It’s good that she [PM] said President’s Trump policy is wrong but I want her to do more and I think this house wants her to do more. What is she going to do proactively do defend these values? To make clear to the rest of the world and the European Union that these values are inimical to our country and cannot stand?”

May responded saying: “We believe in the fundamental values of liberty, of democracy, of respect for human rights. We will continue to work with others to make sure that it is those values that are preeminent in everything that we do.”

If you like this story, share it with a friend!

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

RT UK News

1 2 3 1,406
Page 1 of 1406
Show Buttons
Hide Buttons
error: Content is protected !!