EU Citizens Launch Initiative to Freely Share Files With Each Other

By Bill Toulas / December 17, 2020

Simultaneously with the EU Commission proposing stricter data sharing laws, a respectable number of citizens across the continent feel the need to do something to protect their rights to freedom. More specifically, their right to exchange data with others as they please.

A new initiative titled “Freedom to Share” aims to make unrestricted and unconditional file-sharing legal and needs millions of e-signatures to send the message to regulators. The supporting organizations include the Pirate Party of Sweden, Germany, and Italy, Foundation 42, and Wikimedia Italy.

The purpose of the initiative is not to make piracy legal nor to harm copyright holders. It is to put the protection of people’s freedom to share whatever they want above the protection of copyrights. Right now, national and international legislation has it the other way round.

The initiative's description makes it clear that file-sharing should be legal when it’s for personal use or non-profit purposes. So, again, it’s not that they’re asking to legalize subscription-based IPTV services or cinemas playing movies they downloaded via torrent.

Moreover, the campaigners are keen to point out all the problems that arise from strictly controlled file-sharing platforms, such as the abolishing of anonymity and privacy, user profiling, and oftentimes the vague discrimination between what is considered appropriate and what should be ousted from the platform. Also, the campaigners believe that creators have only to win from free sharing, as the current system is only there to maintain intermediaries that add no value to the content itself and serve no real purpose to society.

On the question of how creators are to live outside a strict content distribution system, “Freedom to Share” answers that there could easily be a counter measuring the number of transfers for each file and then divide the total amount between creators. Also, voluntary donations from users who appreciate the works are always a possibility, even if it sounds too utopian right now. Finally, there’s the idea of adding a tax paid by EU citizens that will go straight to the authors, with the amounts divided not equally but fairly.

Of course, none of these arguments are new or ground-breaking, but as the war against piracy intensifies, the need to bring them to the spotlight grows bigger. We, as a website, do not encourage copyright infringement activities, and we always advise our readers to consume content legally.

However, we accept that the current legislation and the enforcement system lean heavily towards protecting rightsholders, not people’s freedom, and this has its complications. There are many ways to strike a balance, and legislators should finally accept that the approach of raising the bar of content control every few years is never going to be a definitive answer.

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