We’ve written quite a few times about EU Commissioner Gunther Oettinger, a bigoted luddite, who bizarrely was put in charge of internet regulations for no clear reason at all. His main focus seemed to be on putting in place policies whose sole goal was to harm the internet because many key internet companies are American. Oettinger, who seems to be magnetically connected to all sorts of scandals has failed upward to a new job as the EU’s budget chief, but as EU Parliament Member Julia Reda notes, he’s still leaving a trail of internet destruction in his wake. In particular, she highlights ten everyday internet activities that would be outlawed if Oettinger’s copyright and internet proposals become law. It’s a pretty eye-opening list, and should raise serious questions about why Oettinger was ever put in charge of anything having to do with the internet.
Among the list of things: sharing a snippet of a news article, retweeting a “creative” new headline, posting a blog post to Facebook, posting unmoderated comments to many platforms, or uploading content to Wikipedia. There’s more in the list, but the crux of Oettinger’s proposals were basically written by big legacy publishers and Hollywood — looking to hamstring any competition from the internet at all, and requiring all sorts of new regulations, payments and monitoring requirements for any internet platform that let’s users actually do stuff online. Reda points out the true irony here, in that the bills wouldn’t actually impact actual cyberlockers — which the industry often claims are pits of infringement, but rather seem uniquely targeted at big, established successful internet companies by industries who have failed to adapt to a changing internet.
It’s good that Oettinger is leaving that role overseeing internet regulations, but these proposals still exist and may still move forward. Hopefully, the EU’s next internet regulations czar actually has a bit more of a clue.