Article 13 and Article 11

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teo123
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Article 13 and Article 11

Post by teo123 » Thu Mar 28, 2019 6:17 am

So, what do you guys here think about the controversial articles of the new European Union copyright law? Honestly, I don't know much about them, but I am terrified by the idea that there will be more copyright laws on the Internet. Internet has always been hindered by the copyright laws. If the copyright laws didn't exist, a simple truth is, there would have been no Browser Wars that made web-development so hellish in the 1990s and the early 2000s. Almost all the innovation in the Internet technologies comes from the free and open-source browsers such as Chrome and Firefox. Proprietary browsers "protected" by the copyright laws, such as Internet Explorer, can't even catch up with the innovation, yet alone innovate something. To understand the extent of that effect, consider the PacMan game I've made. It runs in almost all open-source browsers from the Internet Explorer 9-era, yet it fails to run in any version of Internet Explorer until Internet Explorer 11, and even there the animation is somewhat broken. And we will try to enforce the copyright laws even more? When will we learn the lesson?
Many people are worried about FaceBook leaving the European Union because of those new laws. Honestly, I wouldn't care, I think FaceBook is using its popularity to enforce its beliefs upon other people (and it banned me when I expressed my genocide revisionism views on it a few years ago). However, I am worried how will the web-hosting companies deal with the new laws. The only free web-hosting available in China today is GitHub Pages, and it doesn't support any server-side scripting (not even for comments or highscores). Will the same become true in the European Union?

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Post by teo123 » Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:27 am

I mean, I know that the mainstream media isn't always right and that I am not always right, but nearly all media I looked into (except tportal.hr, that apparently hasn't commented on it) has made a very strong negative statement about the new European Union copyright law, and what they are saying makes sense to me. And you can't really say I know nothing about the field.

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Fri Apr 12, 2019 2:49 pm

teo123 wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 6:17 am
If the copyright laws didn't exist, a simple truth is, there would have been no Browser Wars that made web-development so hellish in the 1990s and the early 2000s.
Yet there may not have even been browsers. You can't predict what would have been had X had been different.

While there's innovation in open source space, it's very difficult to compare objectively. You'd need to figure out how to do some kind of statistical analysis. Most successful open source software pretty closely copies normal software in terms of features.

There are some theoretical differences to consider:

1. It's harder to generate revenue in open source, which means people are limited in contributions to hobby time.
2. People working on open source projects are more likely to be doing it for enjoyment and love of the project since they're not likely getting paid (much or anything)

Maybe point #2 makes better software despite point #1. I'm not sure if anybody has looked into it before, it would be interesting to see a real study. There are still going to be branches, though; it's not like *all* of the good stuff gets put into one piece of software, because people have different ideas. Open source software is like an indie ban, always breaking up over creative differences. And even if you try to put it all together it's not always possible to just copy over code from one branch to another due to incompatibility.

Ultimately, I don't think copyright is a big issue because programming a feature isn't always that big of a limitation. The bigger issue is software patents which forbid one piece of software from recreating a feature from another... now that's pretty evil and anti-innovation.

I think there's a lot more argument to be made against aggressive patent laws than copyright laws. Without patent laws, redoing a feature just isn't that big of a deal. And even without copyright laws it doesn't mean you don't still have to rewrite a function to work properly in your software (you probably still have to start from scratch). It's only the patent laws that can really sabotage innovation.
teo123 wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 6:17 am
Almost all the innovation in the Internet technologies comes from the free and open-source browsers such as Chrome and Firefox. Proprietary browsers "protected" by the copyright laws, such as Internet Explorer, can't even catch up with the innovation, yet alone innovate something.
How do people usually get internet explorer? Do they consider different browsers and then select it and purchase it?
Think about that for a minute, and then you might understand why IE sucks so much.

It's not competing with other browsers because it enjoys a semi-monopolistic position of being the default (and free) browser on Windows, being bundled with the operating system. Mac's default browser sucks too, maybe only slightly less because they're trying to compete with Windows (which still enjoys a dominant position).

It's the software that has to convince people to download it that has the work to do of having better features. Windows doesn't care if you use Firefox instead as long as you're still buying Windows. They have not been motivated by market forces to improve their browser beyond barely functional.

There's no reason to believe that has anything to do with copyright laws at all given that enormous confounding variable.

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Post by teo123 » Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:46 pm

brimstoneSalad wrote:And even if you try to put it all together it's not always possible to just copy over code from one branch to another due to incompatibility.
I wouldn't be sure that plays a significant role in large pieces of software. Opera browser, for instance, has changed its HTML and CSS engine at least once (from Presto to Blink, and I believe some versions used the Safari's Webkit, but I haven't actually studied that much), and has changed its JavaScript engine many times. Similarly, the Netsurf browser has changed its JavaScript engine, as far as I know, at least two times, and none of those engines were even intended to be used in a browser. Browsers are usually written in a way that makes it easy to do that.
brimstoneSalad wrote:Mac's default browser sucks too, maybe only slightly less because they're trying to compete with Windows (which still enjoys a dominant position).
I can't really confirm that. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I've programmed much of my website using the Safari Developer Tools, so that's why I fail to see how often things that work in Firefox and Chrome fail to work in Safari.
Still, I doubt it: apart from Internet Explorer, the browser I had to tweak my website to work in the most is Firefox, and I guarantee you many of those Firefox-specific behaviors are bugs in Gecko ("document.body.clientWidth" returning different results when called multiple times consecutively, or "offsetWidth" returning 0 on SVG elements), rather than the intended behavior.
Chrome and Safari, as well as modern versions of Opera, share much of the codebase: Blink, used by Chrome, is actually a Google's fork of the open-source HTML and CSS engine WebKit, used by Safari.
Safari on iOS is a bad browser, but that's because it isn't really open-source: Apple doesn't allow anyone to change it, or even port a different web-engine to iOS.

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Post by teo123 » Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:49 pm

Also, @brimstoneSalad, you seem to imply programmers don't get paid for working in the open-source projects. Where are you getting that from? I thought people hire programmers to add a new feature to, for instance, Firefox.

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:12 pm

Script libraries may be an exception, but even so I somewhat doubt it's that trivial to switch them.

There are sometimes libraries that can be switched out easily. I think image file reading stuff, typically. You'd have to talk with somebody who works on that stuff more.
teo123 wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:49 pm
Also, @brimstoneSalad, you seem to imply programmers don't get paid for working in the open-source projects. Where are you getting that from? I thought people hire programmers to add a new feature to, for instance, Firefox.
Some programmers get paid, but the funds are more limited. They're going based on donations, and (I think) usually at a massively discounted rate. So more like getting paid a fraction of what they're worth, which is more or less like volunteering.

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Post by teo123 » Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:18 am

brimstoneSalad wrote:Script libraries may be an exception, but even so I somewhat doubt it's that trivial to switch them.
I don't know now. When I was making the compiler for my own simple programming language, I was switching back and forth between the Rhino framework and the Duktape framework, because I wasn't sure which one will serve my needs better. It was very easy to do that. Maybe what I was doing is some kind of an exception, though I don't see why it would be.
brimstoneSalad wrote: They're going based on donations, and (I think) usually at a massively discounted rate.
Well, I believe I've read somewhere Mozilla gets around 40% of its revenue from the funding from Google (primarily so that they keep Google the default search engine and that Google can show its adverts in Firefox), and that Google gets around 90% of its revenue from the paid adverts and by selling the "anonymous" data sent to it by Chrome browsers to the advertizing companies. Mozilla's website is also full of links to some NGO websites, and I assume they get some revenue from them also.

I am not aware of any research comparing whether developers that rely on companies selling their products earn more than developers that rely on donations.

Open source software is often improved by people who need to use it for something else. The software such as JQuery often gets improved by web-developers, because they actually need to use it to make websites, and the codebase is rather hackable. The companies such as Intel and ARM are known to contribute to the open-source software such as LLVM, because they actually need to use it in order to make their own products. Facebook is known to make significant contributions to PHP interpreter, and so is Mozilla the primary contributor to the Rust compiler, because many FaceBook programs are written in PHP, and much of Firefox is written in Rust.

Do you think that Article 11 and Article 13 are good laws for some reason?

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:31 am

teo123 wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:18 am
I am not aware of any research comparing whether developers that rely on companies selling their products earn more than developers that rely on donations.
I don't know if there are any surveys.
Otherwise high paying positions tend to earn less in non-profits, though (low paid positions tend to earn more).
teo123 wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:18 am
Facebook is known to make significant contributions to PHP interpreter, and so is Mozilla the primary contributor to the Rust compiler, because many FaceBook programs are written in PHP, and much of Firefox is written in Rust.
That is, coming from a vested interest in proprietary software that works with the open source libraries. No way to know what those contributions would be like, if they existed at all, without copyright.
teo123 wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:18 am
Do you think that Article 11 and Article 13 are good laws for some reason?
No. Why would I assume they are good or bad without evidence?

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Post by teo123 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:22 am

brimstoneSalad wrote:That is, coming from a vested interest in proprietary software that works with the open source libraries.
Firefox is open source completely. You can download the source code right now and compile it (though it might take long to install the necessary tools). And you can host your own modified versions of Firefox without asking Mozilla for permission (that's what Red Hat does to make Firefox work relatively well on Oracle Linux, Red Hat Linux and the like).
You can use large parts of Firefox in your own programs. WINE uses modified versions of Gecko and SpiderMonkey to emulate old versions of Trident and Chakra for the Windows apps that rely on them (it doesn't work very well, in my experience, though). Seamonkey uses them, as far as I know, unmodified. And there are a few apps that use SpiderMonkey for scripting.
Mozilla develops Rhino primarily to make testing of SpiderMonkey easier: implementing new features in Java is easier than implementing new features in C++, so Rhino can be assumed to be, although much slower, less buggy.
Rhino, being written in Java, also happens to be relatively easy to embed into other applications (at least if you are comfortable using an IDE). That's what LibreOffice does, that's what NetBeans does, and that's what I was doing in some versions of my compiler (the core of it being written in JavaScript).
And, if you value the quality and the speed of the JavaScript engine inside your program more than you value the convenience of being able to compile the whole program in seconds with any C compiler, you can embed SpiderMonkey (or ChakraCore, or WebKitCore, or V8, or even whole NodeJS) into it. I don't, I prefer to be able to use the tools I am already familiar with as much as possible, and that's why the version of my compiler available on the website uses Duktape (which is also used in the NetSurf browser). And, since Duktape doesn't use JIT-compilation (which is forbidden on iOS for security reasons), I can use it to port my programming language to iOS if I find the time to.
Sometimes incompatible technologies are a small problem. But copyright laws tend to be a much bigger problem.
brimstoneSalad wrote:Why would I assume they are good or bad without evidence?
Well, in the event of uncertainty, you should be against introducing new regulations, don't you think? Article 11 and Article 13 are basically milder forms of SOPA and PIPA. Even if not all laws are bad, certainly most conceivable laws are bad, right?

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:43 pm

Firefox is an interesting case, getting money from Google with other proprietary software. Follow the money, you'll find copyrights.
teo123 wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:22 am
Well, in the event of uncertainty, you should be against introducing new regulations, don't you think? Article 11 and Article 13 are basically milder forms of SOPA and PIPA. Even if not all laws are bad, certainly most conceivable laws are bad, right?
Correct. However, the corollary to that is that in the event of uncertainty you should also be against repealing extant laws. It's about erring on the side of not introducing changes without evidence that they'll be good ones.
The only laws we can repeal are those that are either not enforced (in which case it doesn't make a difference beyond cleaning up the books and theoretically increasing respect for the laws that are still there) or those with clear evidence that harm exceeds benefit (like abortion prohibitions or criminalizing homosexuality) or that they're not cost effective for the benefits they yield. Unfortunately even apparently stupid laws should be kept until there's evidence for repealing them, and even laws that seem like they would obviously be good should be held off on until we have evidence they're cost effective. Often that's why trial legislation is introduced, so it can be tested out and evaluated before being made permanent... but too many politicians have blind faith in their policies and fail to do that.

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