Share your voice Internet Services Tech Industry Tags The EU has adopted Article 13, among other reforms. Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images European countries approved sweeping reforms to copyright law on Monday after the European Parliament voted to adopt the new legislation last month.The EU Copyright Directive will protect and govern how copyrighted content posted online, bringing outdated rules up to scratch for the internet age. The law has been hotly debated both by politicians and the wider tech community, with some of the world’s biggest companies taking a strong stance against the legislation — in particular a section known as Article 13.Article 13 dictates that anyone sharing copyrighted content must get permission from rights owners — or at least have made the best possible effort to get permission — before doing so. In order to do this, it’s thought that internet services and social networks will have no choice but to build and enforce upload filters and generally apply a more heavy-handed approach to moderating what users post online.For proponents of digital rights, the approval of the directive comes as a huge blow after over a year of campaigning to uphold what they see as the integrity of the internet. Following the European Parliament vote in March, there was hope that enough key countries might try to block the directive that it wouldn’t pass, but ultimately it didn’t face enough opposition on a national level (all EU legislation faces a final vote by member states before it can pass into law).Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Finland and Sweden voted against adopting the directive, whereas Belgium, Estonia and Slovenia abstained. In total 19 countries voted to approve the legislation.”This is a deeply disappointing result which will have a far-reaching and negative impact on freedom of speech and expression online,” said Catherine Stihler, chief executive of rights group the Open Knowledge Foundation in a statement. “The controversial crackdown was not universally supported, and I applaud those national governments which took a stand and voted against it.”But not every was disappointed by Monday’s result. A coalition of organizations representing news publishers in Europe celebrated the adoption of the directive. “This important reform will help make the EU copyright regime fit for the digital age without stifling digital innovation,” said Christian Van Thillo, chairman of the European Publishers Council in a statement. 2 Comments
Airbnb—the room rental company that does not own any rooms—has just sued the city of New York. Why? This is because the city has introduced a bill to penalise anyone who rents out their apartment for less than 30 days. This would effectively kill Airbnb’s business, which makes every household owner a potential hotelier. Airbnb provides an online listing system—anyone who owns a house, or many properties can rent out space. The business cuts into the profits of conventional hotels who have to buy land, build rooms and take care of the establishment. In Airbnb’s case, the costs are low and distributed. More importantly, thousands, even millions, of rooms suddenly become available, which eat into the market of house rentals or hotels. Airbnb is, not surprisingly, hitting old business, which also is hitting back. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfIt is also difficult to regulate. Just think. How do city governments control millions of property owners who have become instant hoteliers? Airbnb argues that its reputational system, where owners and guests rate each other, regulates the informal market. Governments disagree. Airbnb is fighting similar battles in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin and even in its hometown of San Francisco, and the list is growing. Uber—the taxi service that does not own any cars—has similar battles on hand. Uber, and others like it, have turned every car owner into a potential service provider. All that Uber does is to aggregate these millions of car owners who have overnight become taxi drivers. This is why it can reduce costs and work the market—drastically undercut the market price and drive regular taxi service into the red. All this without owning a single car. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveUber and its variants are facing tremendous hostility from the old business. I saw this at close hand when the Supreme Court of India directed that all taxis, including those run by aggregators like Uber or Ola, should convert to CNG. This was done to reduce Delhi’s runaway air pollution. But the result of this seemingly simple order was out and out war. All taxi owners—from the black and yellow, radio taxi, to the tourist taxi and all India tourist taxi—converged at the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (I am a member of it), which is required to oversee the implementation of the Supreme Court’s direction. They had only one demand: stop Uber and Ola. Our objective was different—to regulate the fuel used by taxis and not to stop their operations. But regulation is a challenge. In the very first meeting, the police informed us that they are helpless. They could not identify the taxi—every car had become a taxi. Uber and Ola told us that they were not taxi operators—only aggregators. In fact, their companies are registered as information technology providers. They were also not responsible for anything—customers hired cars using their platform and rated the service provided by drivers. The Delhi government had issued guidelines, which would curtail the operations of such aggregators, but Uber challenged this in the court. Finally, after weeks of protracted discussions, and often violent disagreements, it was agreed that all taxis, including those listed with the aggregators, would run on CNG. But all other issues, including the contentious issue of surge pricing, remained unresolved. Governments in India and abroad are battling with taxi operators and technology companies to formulate these rules. But why am I writing this now? The fact is Airbnb and Uber are part of the inevitable change in our future. The reason is that the modern world has formalised its economy to the point that it has become unviable. The brick-and-mortar world requires massive infrastructure, and this then requires regulations to ensure that all this operates within rules. The cost of regulations is also high and adds to the cost of running the economy. In my view, Uber and Airbnb are undercutting this world—by making the best use of the individual’s assets. In both cases, they are optimising existing resources—the cars and houses people own—to make more money and share the profits. But most importantly, these businesses are working the informal space. They are doing this to reduce costs and to expand opportunity. This is where we need to think further of what our world is about. In countries like India, informal business is the existing order of the day. Everything—from collecting sewage from homes, recycling garbage to providing transport in our cities—is managed by millions of myriad informal businesses. But we do not consider it part of our future. Worse, it defies regulation as we know it today. So, it must go. But given that the formal economy comes with costs, we cannot replace this informal and thriving business. But to kill it we neglect it; make it illegal, and altogether despise it. But still, it stays. We just can’t make it work. So, is it time we thought of a different business future? Let’s discuss this again.(The writer is Editor of Down To Earth magazine. Views expressed are strictly personal.)
To promote the cultural heritage and weaving skills of Indian hand-made carpets and other floor coverings amongst the visiting overseas carpet buyers, the Carpet Export Promotion Council is organising its 34th India Carpet Expo (13th in Varanasi) at the Sampurnanand Sanskrit University Ground, Varanasi, under the aegis of Government of India. The event which will commence from October 10 and will last till October 13, is an ideal platform for International carpet buyers, buying houses, buying agents, architects and Indian carpet manufacturers and exporters, to meet and establish long term business relationship. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfBeing one of the largest handmade carpet fairs in Asia, the expo offers a unique platform for the buyers to source the best handmade carpets, rugs and other floor coverings under one roof. It has become a popular destination worldwide for handmade carpets. India’s unique capability in adapting to any type of design, colour, quality and size as per the specifications of the carpet buyers has made it a household name in International market. The carpet industry uses diverse raw-materials from various ports of India i.e. wool, silk, manmade fibre, jute, cotton and various blends of different yarns. Economists believe that this industry have immense potential for growth, both in production and exports. Also, it is environment friendly and does not use scarce and perishable energy resources. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveOver the years, the India Carpet Expo has established itself as a great sourcing platform for the carpet buyers from all over the globe. The prime objective of the Council in holding the Expo in Varanasi, the major Carpet producing belt, is to provide ‘unique pick and choose’ business opportunity to all overseas carpet buyers. It is the endeavor of the Council to provide exclusive business environment to the carpet importers as well as manufacturers and exporters. The Council has allotted stands to 274 participants in the biggest possible stand area of 6631 sq meter in ICE, during October 2017. The event will be inaugurated on October 10, by Ajay Tamta, Minister of State for Textiles, Government of India, in the august presence of Shantmanu, IAS, Development Commissioner (Handicrafts) and other Senior Government officials from the Central and State Governments.It is expected that around 500 reputed overseas carpet buyers, from almost 58 countries mainly from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Chile, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey, U.K., USA etc. have registered themselves for attending the Expo. It would be worthwhile to mention that buyers from new countries like Bulgaria, Israel, Mauritius, Taiwan, Vietnam are also attending the mega Expo to do serious business with Indian exporters/manufacturers. This will ultimately benefit over two million weavers/artisans employed in this highly labour intensive rural based cottage industry.Carpet Export Promotion Council (CEPC) is not only inviting and incentivizing the wholesale buyers but is also providing a two-nights complimentary stay in a hotel at Varanasi for attending the India Carpet Expo. Mahavir Pratap Sharma, Chairman, said that this exhibition and buyer-seller meet will be taking Indian exports of handmade carpets to greater and newer heights. Siddh Nath Singh, first Vice-Chairman, Umer Hameed, second Vice-Chairman and all Members of COA, CEPC are confident that the Expo will generate good business for the artisans and weavers from around the globe.