The EU Copyright Directive (Article 13) and p2p

Andre Saltz is one of the architects of scuttlebutt (and well worth a follow on twitter).

I’ve been saying that Article 13 is both a disaster for the Internet and a boost for the decentralised Web for a while, but Andre has written it up in compelling terms. I particularly like his metaphor at the end - I shall steal that.

His short big post articulates the bigger problem of trying to regulate big corporations - that you harm the little people and end up boosting the big companies. But goes on to point out how we are at the point where the tables might be turning, because regulations are making the Internet itself much worse.

The warnings that internet-born activists are placing are legitimate: the user experience – and freedom – on these platforms will become worse, for all of us, but particularly in Europe. But what if that’s just the thing we need for starting over? Is this a reboot? What if we just allowed the old internet to die away, and built something else that learns from all that we have seen so far?

I agree with and highly recommend this:


Great article. The first question I got was ‘can farmers be defined as “service providers”?’

From the article:

I’ve looked at the new regulation proposal PDF, and it repeatedly talks about “uploads” to “online service providers”. These are terms that were tailored to target platforms like YouTube and Facebook. They can’t mention any specific company, but they choose terms that describe those platforms, such as “Online content sharing service providers perform an act of communication to the public”.

Peer-to-peer protocols seem far from that definition. For instance, Scuttlebutt is a network of friends, there is no service provider (note, in some decentralized software like Mastodon, instances/servers are actually service providers) because friends connect directly to each other. The closest thing to a service provider in Scuttlebutt would be the pub servers, which are like mirrors for a couple of feeds. These easily qualify as “providers of cloud services for individual use” which are exempt in the regulation proposal.

No I doubt it very much unless you use zeroflaw’s extreme everything is a server terminology.

Farmers are just looking after chunks and retrieving them when the section asks for them.

The service providers under reasonable definitions are the web sites, newsgroups, time servers, forums, etc. They are providing a full service self contained.


Only if they are large commercial enterprises, but even then, there is no way for them to filter uploads. It’s like saying cloud hardware providers should police the services (eg Facebook) that run on them.

So if anyone is vulnerable it would be a large consumer facing app/service provider rather than farmers.

But even here, it gives smaller enterprises a boost because small enterprises are exempt.

So Article 13 is a decentralising force, unintended no doubt, but good for SAFE, Solid, and DWeb in general.


there is no way for them to filter uploads

The least you can say is that such filters needs fine tuning, like the recent instance where Facebook blocks someone’s piano play of a Bach composition, because Sony had claimed copyright for it.

Are you suggesting that farmers can filter uploads? I’m not going to get into a discussing about this, but I don’t think that is feasible. I just want to clarify what you are saying.

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I did read ‘large enterprise’ ‘Facebook’ and ‘filter uploads’ in your post and had to think about the Bach example.
I didn’t want to suggest something related to the upload filtering ability of Safe vaults (by large commercial enterprises or not).


Great article and I agree with it. Regulations in general have the same effect of centralisation wherever they are imposed. It can also kill of an industry all together where compelling alternatives are present. In fact, sometimes the latter is intentional, but frequently not.

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