EU law is world law


…what if it was a website of, of, “Shitty companies that cheat you”, and the French Company demanded to be “forgotten”, and so Google ordered a takedown of that data run by a guy in Chicago (where the data was hosted)? This stuff gets tricky. And I don’t see all the EU members risking so much for the sake of one or two members, in the long run.

A couple of points: Firstly, the right to be forgotten is considered a Human Right by the EU; it does not extend its protection to companies (unlike the US, in the EU, companies are not “people”). So company shenanigans = not possible.

Secondly, Google cannot order a take-down of anything. An injunction against Google regarding something like this, only requires Google to refrain from returning search results with this information. The website still exists - it just does not show up in search results anymore (within the EU).

Thirdly, the law applies differently to public figures and private persons. So information pertaining to public actions performed while CEO of Company X would not necessarily be covered by the Right to be Forgotten - at least not while the person remains CEO of that Company (once retired, the protection might begin to apply).

On the whole (new copyright laws notwithstanding), the EU is fundamentally on the side of protecting consumers. Generally, that is a good thing, because not a lot of other legislative entities in the world are…


Understand, but you are being too literal with my example. Did you read the above article I posted from the Wall Street Journal?


No, didn’t read the WSJ article (it’s paywalled/sign-in walled for me), but I doubt it adds a lot of new arguments to the discussion I haven’t seen before - at least not judging from the abstract.

As Juan mentions above, there are plenty of laws that assert national sovereignty over actions committed abroad for companies that operate within that country - both on the internet and outside the internet.

I don’t agree with him that this is particularly uncharted territory, though - on the contrary. The best example of this, is - once again - the DMCA which has been used precisely in this way many, many times for more than a decade already. The Dmitry Sklyarov case is the poster child for this kind of abuse (Russian programmer arrested for doing something perfectly legal in his home country, while travelling in the USA).

The only difference, as I see it, is that the Right to be Forgotten laws are intended to protect human beings, whereas the existing laws which are already in use across borders exist primarily to benefit multi-national corporations.


I PMed you the salient info in the article. The points go beyond the usual EU discussions, and the Right to be forgotten.


I agree that this can have unintended implications - I was surprised to find that about 10% of these take down requests are actually for public figures and compliance rate is relatively high all things considered.

I hope we don’t end up in a situation where disgraced public figures buy into a EU citizenship, file global takedowns and re-emerge 5-10 years later with most people having no way to check their past.


I like how they are trying to prevent Alphabet from using a pure Algorithm-based approach in the language.


Honestly the ‘algorithm only’ approach of so many tech companies, be it Alphabet or Valve, is freaking terrible. Because it always leads to the stupidest possible outcomes.

Inconsistent, punitive, abused for ill purposes while failing to fill the legitimate goals. They always manage find the worst outcomes.

I mean when an actual tactic employed by YouTube creators to prevent a claim from bringing down a video using legitimate fair use material is to deliberately include a second unrelated copyright material solely to generate a separate claim which causes the competing claims to counteract each other? Then you know that the algorithm approach has broken.


All about the Benjamins…


Thanks. Not sure where this really makes many new arguments, though. That there is a clash of values is obvious, and there’ll no doubt be several legal clashes back and forth for the next decade or so.

And I’m not convinced that the EU will back down - mostly because I don’t see what they have to lose. Is Google/Facebook etc going to give up on 1/3 their revenue? Not likely. Does taking on multi-national corporations play well with the European electorates? Yes. There’s simply not a lot of downside for the politicians and parties that are willing to fight for “European values”.

It’s a lot about money, for sure, but it’s also about politics. At least for my 25 cents.


I said it was not uncharted territory, just more wide ranging :P . It affects aggregators (not content providers) and personal data, which is pretty hard to define.

Ultimately some sort of middle ground will be reached.

The new copyright directive is an step forward in drafting something less punitive (by not involving individuals, consumers, non-for-profits or small companies) but still helps to protect certain abuses. I particularly like that you can link to news, but not use the text of the news in the linking page. Although “few words” probably should have some sort of strict definition.


And the PATRIOT act, which was more shameful for the EU, honestly.

It would take sapient intelligence much higher than human to figure out all all the nonsense in IP law in all the relevant legislatures as well as all case law and whatever the nominated judge deciding would think. It’s broken by design by those who earn too much rent to care.

I’m waiting for Google and FB to buy/create their own newspaper and make the whole thing pointless by removing links to every other one.


It’s counter-intuitive, but many laws do not have strict definitions, because it’s counter-productive. In this case, for instance, the number of words that counts as ‘a few’ is probably going to vary considerably in different contexts.


That’s debatable. I think it’s quite beneficial to know at all times whether you are in regulatory compliance.

Regardless, the EU directive itself does not refer to “few words”. It clearly states that a commercial hyperlink is exempt if the linktext is an “individual word.”


Bear in mind this is a directive, so the operative legal wording is going to depend on how individual countries transpose it (assuming this aspect even survives trilogue). There can be quite a lot of variationamong member states.


How is it a step forward? We’ve seen this story before, and know exactly how it’ll end.

Unlabeled links will be totally useless for driving traffic to newspapers, which desperately need that traffic. (We know for sure that it’s useless e.g. from the Axel Springer case, where there was a change to only show a headline rather than a snippet. The traffic from Google News reportedly dropped by 80%, traffic from search by 40%. And article 11 doesn’t even allow for using the headline, so the reality would be far worse!)

Germany introduced a law where newspapers could demand a licensing fee for use of snippets. So Google stopped listing any newspaper sites that didn’t opt in to show a snippet. So of course just about every newspaper opted in. The only effect was to make life harder for new search engines, since they wouldn’t automatically get the same arrangement.

A-ha, said the Spanish. We’ll have a similar law but also forbid the newspapers from licensing the snippeting rights for free. So Google closed Google News in Spain. Spanish newspapers lost 5-10% of their total traffic.

This directive is total garbage, everyone loses. There is no way this becomes the major newspaper revenue source for newspapers and authors that’s claimed. The options are for newspapers to get traffic but no snippet revenue, or to get neither traffic nor snippet revenue. And they’ll always choose the first of those options.


The European Parliament’s rapporteur for the digital services tax directive has published his draft report.From a quick skim, it seems the big change from the Commission’s proposal is the inclusion of sales of goods, user data and digital content within the tax. It also ups the tax rate from 3% to 5% of gross revenues. On the other hand, it emphasises that the DST is temporary and will automatically expire when any of various other measures on taxing online services are adopted.

Tang’s explanation:


So many economic things wrong that it isn’t even funny.

  • Big multinationals pay a little, small competitors stop competing, further entrenching the former.
  • You can’t prevent physical stores from becoming less relevant - for one, big shops in cities crowded in tourist bubbles aren’t going to become attractive.
  • It still doesn’t make them pay any significant amount
  • It still does nothing for capital control
  • It still misses the point of what taxes are for


I don’t follow this. 5% of (attributable) revenues is huge. Especially compared to zero.


You may be right, I failed at understanding what it was, and it seems to be a bit more complicated than what I can understand from a quick reading (there’s likely a lot more to it than what’s in the link).

EDIT: and it appears the link doesn’t show the text if it isn’t clicked through google or some nonsense. I’ll read somewhere else.


In other EU digital news, the Parliament approved the local content law today.

This is the bit that has grabbed the headlines, but I should note it also contains restrictions on TV advertising: