2. EU crackdown misses big tech targets
European laws and proposals meant to rein in tech giants are inadvertently empowering them.
Why it matters: The laws stem from concerns about the behavior of big platforms, like YouTube and Facebook. But big companies have more resources to comply with complicated regulations than small firms.
1. The latest copyright law has big implications for publishers. The European Parliament last week passed a directive that would overhaul its copyright law and would force platforms to impose strict filters for copyright violations or face fines. Regulatory analysts argue that the law seems manageable for Google and Facebook, while some activists say it would crush smaller firms.
- For media geeks, this would force big web platforms that aggregate content to actually pay publishers for linking to their stories, in what's being dubbed a "link tax." It would also make them obtain licenses for using copyrighted material, which inevitably shift some power back into the hands of creators.
2. A new content filtering law is simultaneously being proposed by the E.U. which would fine internet platforms if they fail to remove terrorist content within an hour of it being posted. Like the copyright law, critics argue that small firms will struggle to comply with this type of regulation without engaging in some sort of content censorship up front.
3. A sweeping data privacy law that went into effect in the EU in May called the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), presents similar concerns. From the outset, it became clear that the law could inadvertently cement the dominance of bigger tech platforms that could afford compliance over smaller ones. Early reports suggest that smaller firms are frustrated with enforcement. To date, over 1,000 U.S. websites are still not available in Europe.
Yes, but: Elsewhere in Brussels and around Europe, authorities have the giant platforms in their sights. And it's important to remember that these cases move slowly, including appeals and long investigations.
The big question is whether E.U.-initiated regulations will be somehow copied in the U.S., which seems unlikely. More from me and David McCabe.