Important Announcement for EU and UK users

TLDR; Due to Article 13 in the new EU Copyright directive it is very probable that we may be forced to black list EU and UK IP addresses due to our inability to comply with the law.

As our EU and possibly our UK members know the new EU copyright directive passed the first round of voting and was approved. This new law contains two portions that are a concern to many websites operating around the world, Article 11 & 13.

After a cursory look over we feel Article 11 will not apply to our site, but Article 13 has us worried. Our understanding is that Article 13 requires sites that distribute user content (for example Facebook, YouTube, ect) and make money to be proactive in screening the content its users post for copyrighted material and if we fail to do this the site (Weight Gaming) would be held liable for the distribution of the copyrighted content. This is very dangerous for us as we do not have the resources to set up automated screening systems or dedicate manpower to screening user content for copyrighted material in a timely fashion. This would leave the site open to potential lawsuits, and while we know that there are exceptions for “small businesses” we did not see any hard numbers one what defines this and it seems to leave the decision up to the presiding judge.

All this means is under the current form of the law (to the best of our understanding) if it is fully passed it would be too risky for us to operate in EU countries. While we understand the law can change before it enters the last round of voting, currently it seems very likely we may be forced to blacklist all EU and (by extension) UK IP addresses. We don’t know yet if we will only be blocking the official site once it is up or if we will be blocking anything Weight Gaming related as it is going to depend heavily on our detailed review of the new law, specifically of Article 13.

We are watching the situation closely and will do our best to keep our EU and UK users informed of the situation as it develops. Thank you for your understanding.

Still baffled that this went through, I really hope they wise up and shut this shit down.

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I don’t know what the current text is, but I actually don’t believe that Article 13 would apply here. As of the September 12 revision, Article 13 regards:

  • Use of protected content by online content sharing service providers storing and giving access to large amounts of works and other subject-matter uploaded by their users*

While this certainly applies to file hosts, social media services, etc., I find it unlikely that you could argue a small forum with a couple hundred users constitutes a site that falls under this regulation - even if you claim we’re giving access to large amounts of works, it’s still not stored on the WG server, and I wouldn’t think that this site actually constitutes a content-sharing service. By and large, everything here is a link to some other platform; unless a user directly uploads an attachment that violates the rules, there’s really no case to be made.

EDIT: Also, as long as you’re proactive about removing the content once notified, I don’t see a case to be made for being fined or otherwise found in violation of the law. As long as you’re doing what can reasonably done (which might also include banning users who post such content and making it clear that users will be penalized for posting it) it seems like you’d be in the clear; section 2a states that cooperation between content providers in rights holders should be “in good faith”.

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Is this site from the EU because if your in america you’ll probably be fine… Right?

The problem is we are going to be a content distribution service similar to but focused around expansion related content. This means the law would apply to us in this case. As for the forum you may be right which is why we are not sure on that yet, but we are not lawyers so we will err on the side of caution in our interpretation.

A note on this, the law defines us as being “proactive” as screening content before its posting. We have to prove that we have measures in place to do this and provide a “good faith” screening measure to prevent content with copyrighted material from being published. This means we would either have to screen each submitted game (and possibly post) manually before we post it or create an automated system to do so. This is well beyond our resources. The “small business” clause may be our saving grace but they have no hard definition for this which means we could be sued in multiple jurisdictions in the EU till they get a Judge that does not classify us as a small business.

No, just because we are a US server does not protect us from this law. This law effects lawsuits which means some one from the US can sue us over copyright infringement as long as they do so in an EU member nation. If you want an example Spain implemented a law similar to article 11 and, if I remember, google shut down their news aggregation service in Spain. The problem is this law applies to us if we do business in the EU so it does not matter where our server is.

Hey, I mostly lurk here, I’m posting this because I live in the EU.
Don’t worry about that law, it doesn’t apply to this site in this case. The law rill most probably NOT pass the final scrutiny, and if it will do, it will be so toned down that it won’t matter anyway.
Jimbobvii up here is right: this is more akin to a sharing platform in which FREE content is created; and free content is by definition not related to the copyright, since it can be used by everyone.
This law seems mostly aimed to big platforms like youtube and facebook; it was already been modified to allow wikipedia to continue to exist, and I’m sure it won’t affect anymore (since it has been already toned down a lot).
For further explanation, check this out:
But really, don’t worry.

So because you want to be more than a forum and host content as well you are going to cut off all the EU (and UK) members like myself? How about not hosting content and keeping things as they are instead?

First to @Trunks82 and @dingotush sorry for the late response to your post.

So first @Trunks82 to address some of your points:

We cant afford to not worry about the law unfortunately. We must assume and prepare for the worse case scenario especially since the EU does not have a good track record for giving reasonable time frames to implement changes and most reports I have seen show the law has relatively high support in the EU structure (not talking about the citizens).

The law defines those who it applies to as “online content sharing service providers” which as you already stated

we are.

The exceptions I know of (specifically the ones that allow wikipedia and github to exist) are based around education and open source which neither applies to us. If you know of one that does apply to us and our future plans for the site we will happily hear it.

There are a lot of misconceptions in that sentence. While I am not sure what the copy right law is in your country using the US for example if someone creates the work it is assumed they have full copy right rights unless stated otherwise through writing. That is why it is so important to include a license with open source projects because if you dont, in the US, it is assumed the author has full rights.

And that is another issue with the law. Much of it leaves the specifics of it up to each member state so that means, for example, maybe it wont apply to us in France but could in Greece.

Finally, even if all the projects where free and all the projects had proper licenses they can still include some copy righted material illegally in their game and we would be responsible for that. Its no different then if some one uses a copy righted music in a YouTube video or a copy righted photo on a Facebook post. Just because the content that contains it is “free” does not mean copy right does not apply to them. This means it is feasible we would be liable for a copyrighted image that a poster pasted into their post as an attachment (and possibly avatars now that I think about it though that is a really extreme case but possible since those are uploaded).

Also, as a quick side note we plan on giving developers the option to sell their games through us in the future so it would always be free as you describe it.

I can agree with you there, but the problem is copy right can be applied arbitrarily. It only takes one copy right troll or one person who does not like what we are doing to decide we are a valid target and file a lawsuit, and it not the EU who is enforcing this, it is the EU is giving individuals more power to sue sites like us.

We really hope so.

Ok now onto @dingotush

I understand that you are upset over this (and trust me we are as well), but it is not our choice. Our goal is to help encourage the creation of games with fat, weight gain, and other expansion related content, and we feel offering a platform where people will not only feel safe to sell but also buy games like this is the best way to encourage more and better quality content. And you are suggesting that we should not do this just because the EU is pulling some misinformed, not very well thought out bureaucratic nonsense? That would not be fair to our users in non EU nations. Also, with how vague the law is anyways it is possible it may apply to the forums anyway since we allow for attachments on the posts.

If it is any comfort to you it may only be temporary for the UK as we will reevaluate blacklisting the UK after it leaves the EU.

Sorry if it feels like I tore any of you apart. I was just trying to detail out my answers to the best of my ability to make sure our reasoning is as clear as possible.

Not feeling torn apart, don’t worry.
I’m just thinking that you’re over reacting to something it’s not even final yet; no other sites (DeviantArt, youtube, facebook, anything) have worried about this because the law isn’t being applied yet. Also, the law don’t affect all the states in the EU in the same way, since each state has the prerogative to apply, apply partially or deny this law. We don’t work like the USA, every state can decide what to do with this law (another reason to not be worried about much, since it’s going to be a messy failure of a law).
Everything is still so nebulous that getting worried about this, now, seems quite excessive.
This said, I don’t want to sound arrogant or anything :slight_smile: