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Mix Challenge homepage and the EU Copyright Directive

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Mister Fox
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Mix Challenge homepage and the EU Copyright Directive


Post by Mister Fox »

Hello everyone,

I usually try to stay away from politics - but in this case, I sadly can't. I would like to talk to you about a very serious topic that is currently haunting Europe: the infamous "EU Copyright Directive", also known as Article 11 and Artice 13 or (very dumbed down) the so called "Meme Ban". A currently very unstable powder keg, because this can fundamentally change how the Mix Challenge community has to operate in the future. If the concept of our community is not stopped right in it's tracks.

Image Source: savetheinternet.info, released under: CC BY-NC-ND

:arrow: In a nutshell:

"Article 13" (among other things) pushes webpages to use so called "upload filters". That means, no content that is copyrighted in any shape or form, is allowed on the page. If it manages to land on the page (via a hotlink), and it is not with the approval of the creator of this material, it must be deleted immediately - else this is a clear copyright violation which can result in severe legal repercussions. For the person running the webpage, and also for the person that uploaded the content in the first place.

A good example for this, which is why this is also called "Meme Ban" by critics, would be people posting funny pictures with additional subtitles, image edits or tags taken from various sources without actually having the approval/consent of the person that created this source material to begin with.

In case of the many Spongebob memes, that would be Stephen Hillenburg (who has passed away in November 2018), or rather the Nickelodeon Animation Studio. And even once that license has been sorted out, then you need to ask for a license of the meme creator if you're allowed to re-post this. In case of viral content, think of "Overly Attached Girlfriend" (Laina Morris) or even "The Most Interesting Man In The World" (Jonathan Goldsmith), that is not easy to begin with. Not only did these memes basically spread over night like wildfire, sometimes you don't even know the source of the image or video. Add to that, that memes mutate/evolve within minutes even.

:arrow: Article 13 on the other hand, among other things, insists(!) that you should acquire licenses to this upfront.

Meaning licenses for literally everything - from image material to audio material. Which is absolutely impossible to to. Small communities like the "Mix Challenge" will be given a free pass for 3 years max, or until 10000 forum members are present. Then it's "hands open" for the license holders - may it be the movie industry, or the audio industry, or the people that take over "copyright over possible viral stuff" (those places exist already for maybe-soon-to-be viral content on Youtube!), and then pay you eventually.

You probably already see where this is going. In fact, this is what government-mandated collecting society and performance rights organizations already do. In Germany, that would be the GEMA, in the Netherlands that would be BUMA/STEMRA, in the UK it's PRS for Music (Performing Rights Society), and in the US it's the Harry Fox Agency or similar. If not just so called online labels or "aggregators" step in - examples. CD Baby or DistroKid.

If you follow Youtube's recent issues with false/positives with the Copyright ID system (see: TheFatRat, Ben Prunty, Gavin "Miracle of Sound" Dunne), which is there to prevent illegal copies of your material to begin with, this isn't working on a purely automated basis. And it is only getting worse from here on out. Including, but not limited to: restricting artistic freedom of expression.

:!: :!: :!: All of this, is putting the Mix Challenge community at a very high risk of shutting down.

In case of Song Providers, I'd need to set up highly detailed contracts regarding the availability for the source material (which will actually happen in the future as part of opening up previous limitations on providing songs, offering us more content from signed musicians and/or already released songs). In terms of mix participants I'd also need to set up contracts with even more strict rules than we already have. And if we look at the Songwriting Competition, there also need to be contracts regarding replay rights (since everything is hot-linked here, not uploaded). If pages like SoundCloud will not just downright block streaming for certain European Countries because of this. We've been there before with Youtube in Germany, who blocked music videos for years because "video could contain music, which Youtube could not agree on conditions of use with the GEMA"-

That is an insane amount of extra paper work for me. And no participant or song provider would like to do that either. The Mix Challenge has always been open for everyone. No paywalls, barely any restrictions. I'd like to keep it that way.

:arrow: So when does the final decision for Article 13 fall? And when will it be put in action?

There is sadly no fixed date when the European Parliament will decide on the so called "Copyright Directive". It can happen March 25-28, possibly April 4 or maybe even April 15-18. The date is not set in stone. If this directive is waved through, it is set to be implemented by mid/end 2019 to very early 2020.

What is known however: people started to organize public rallies against this planned Copyright Directive. And those will happen on 23rd March 2019. If you are in Europe and want to participate one of these rallies, here is a map of locations where demonstrations are held. With probably more to come (please also check in with social media like Reddit, Facebook and co).

A long introduction to the following statement:
 ⚠ Moderation Message from Mister Fox  
I, the CTO of the Mix Challenge audio community, am supporting the protests resolving around the planned EU Copyright Directive (Article 11 and Article 13).

To spread awareness of this situation, the page will be put into a forced blackout on Saturday, 23rd March 2019.

The main page will remain black with a short statement as to why this is the case, and will link to the "Save the Internet" campaign. Additionally, the forum will be put into maintenance mode for 24 hours.

Thank you all for reading, and also thank you in advance for your support.

https://www.change.org/p/european-parli ... e-internet
https://www.apc.org/en/news/save-your-i ... article-13
https://yamahamusicians.com/help-stop-a ... rinternet/
https://twitter.com/EU_Commission/statu ... 8205171713 (read the answers to this tweet)

INFO: This thread has been started in the Patron Vault on 19th February 2019. Thread was formerly called "Mix Challenge homepage blackout on 23rd March in support of "Save the Internet" campaign", renamed into "Mix Challenge homepage and the EU Copyright Directive" on 01-MAY-2019
User avatar
Mister Fox
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Posts: 3104
Joined: Fri Mar 31, 2017 16:15 CEST
Location: Berlin, Germany

Re: Mix Challenge homepage blackout on 23rd March in support of "Save the Internet" campaign


Post by Mister Fox »

If you've followed the news in recent weeks, the EU Parliament agreed on the "EU Copyright Directive" on 26th March 2019.

And you might be wondering, "what will happen to the Mix Challenge audio community?!".

To take the wind out of the sails of this topic:

The EU member states still have to debate and agree on legislations on how this new directive will be ported/handled. They have two years for that, or in other words - until about April 2021. There are still a lot of things to sort out, and the final word has not yet been spoken on the topic "can this even be enforced/ported". As can be seen with the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which also took years to enforce and set clear ground rules.

:?: So what does this mean for the MIX CHALLENGE audio community?

In an attempt to be "future proof", I sadly have to set up some more strict rules regarding posting audio and image/video material to the forum. Though please do not worry, most of the ground work has already been done for this community.

:arrow: Audio, Video and Image content on the forum (in general):

Uploading to the forum has been deactivated since 2017, so the forum can not host media material itself (forum avatars being the exception, please read below). But you can still link to image and audio material. Pointing to third party content on SoundCloud and Youtube should not be a problem (as of this moment of the post), unless it's obvious that the uploader in question has no right to repost the material.

However - I would like you to please always cite the source from now on.

In case of third party images, as example what I've written for the Songwriting Competitions:

Code: Select all

Image Source: Youtube, screenshot of Mick Gordon "DOOM: Behind The Music" and screenshot of Capcom's "Remember Me Game - Engineering the Score" on Youtube. Released under Youtube Standard License - full credits: <Youtube link> and <Youtube link

Code: Select all

Image Source: Pixabay (via Pexels), released under Creative Commons CC0
Citing the exact source and the license should result in no problem (in most cases). For either you, or me as "host". Doesn't matter if it's a video, a link to Bandcamp, or an image of any form. As long it's an official link, not a so called "deep link". For example: if it's a screenshot from a product during the course of a product discussion, then please do not hotlink to the image directly, but rather the article or the developer page. In terms of forum avatars, please try to use something that belongs to you, or has been commissioned by you and you have permission to use this content. Posting screenshots or photos of your production environment does of course mean that this content is yours.

:arrow: Bottom line is:
No matter what content - if it's not yours (but third party content) - please cite the source!

:arrow: Challenge submissions:

Since the Mix Challenge exists, there has always been the "silent consent" that the material you've uploaded belongs to you (Songwriting Competition). Or in case of the Mix Challenge, has been "admitted to you" with the permission to edit the content, but you're not allowed to distribute it (further) without the consent by the song provider. This has been a staple of the more than detailed "Rules and Guidelines".

A slight bit unclear however, is your explicit consent of your material being presented on the forum (Songwriting and Remix Competitions, WIPs, etc), that people can download this content and that there is no copyright infringement involved. Again, so far this has been a "silent consent", but I'd like to make this more clear in the "Rules and Guidelines". And I think the simplest solution is by adding an additional bullet point, that once you joined the game, uploaded your entry and hot-linked it to the forum, you will give explicit consent for everyone to the access of your material.

This way, there will be no infringement in any form whatsoever. And this could be the first step in preventing the Mix Challenge audio community from running into any troubles in the foreseeable future.

I apologize for the inconvenience this might cause you. But the Mix Challenge audio community is a small place, and I am incapable of implementing any sort of AI filtering of content.

Thank you for your understanding.
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