Startup News Digest 6/15/2018

Our weekly take on some of the biggest stories in startup and tech policy. To receive this weekly digest in your inbox, sign up at

The Big Story: EU copyright proposal threatens online platforms. European policymakers are considering a massive shift in copyright law that could be devastating to platforms around the world that host user content.

The update to the EU Copyright Directive is wide-ranging, but the most controversial change is Article 13, which would require all platforms to actively monitor for copyright infringement using upload filtering tools. Typically, these tools are ineffective and expensive. They will often identify material such as parodies or memes as infringements, giving way to preemptive and censorship-like practices. The proposal will particularly impact startups that do not have the resources to build these filtering technologies or the finances to pay for them. In fact, larger companies, which are likely the real targets of this reform, already have their own content identification tools and will not suffer as much as smaller platforms.

The first vote will take place on June 20th in the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs. The decision made by this committee will set the tone for the final vote by Parliament. Join us in taking action against Article 13! With just under a week to voting day, there is plenty of time to reach out to key MEPs who are still undecided on their votes.

Policy Roundup:

Big week in telecom.
In addition to the net neutrality repeal going into effect this past Monday, a federal judge approved—and the companies completed—AT&T’s $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, and Comcast announced its $65 billion bid to buy 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets.

Tariffs hit high-tech. President Donald Trump announced this week that, beginning in July, there will be 25% tariffs on Chinese imports, especially high-tech goods.

Greener pastures. Rachel teamed up with Unified Patents to analyze the decrease in patent cases filed in the Eastern District of Texas one year since the Supreme Court’s decision in TC Heartland.  

Iancu on patent eligibility. During a speech this week, United States Patent and Trademark Office Director Andrei Iancu made clear that he thinks the laws for determining patent eligibility (also known as Section 101) need to be rewritten.

UK gig economy decision. The British Supreme Court has set an important precedent by granting employee rights to a claimant who worked as a plumber in the gig economy, rather than classifying him as “self-employed”.

Cybersecurity experts agree. The Washington Post surveyed 100 cybersecurity experts, the majority of whom disagree that the FBI’s inability to access encrypted devices during investigations leaves the country less safe.

“Startup visa” updates. In an effort to make the visa process smoother and faster for entrepreneurs, the British government has created a new visa which will draw a wider pool of talent than the current visa options targeted mostly at university graduates. At the same time, the Department of Homeland Security has proposed rescinding the U.S.’s own “startup visa,” the International Entrepreneur Rule.

Startup Roundup:

#StartupsEverywhere: Omaha, NE.
We headed to the Cornhusker State to meet with Grant Stanley, CEO of Bric.  As a native Nebraskan, Grant is familiar with starting and growing companies in the state; Nebraska offers many resources to foster innovation. However, as Bric continues to grow, Grant is looking to new ecosystems to provide opportunities and networks not currently available in Omaha. The Omaha ecosystem needs the government to set examples for accessing capital and developing talent.

Jobs in 105 cities. Revolution launched its careers page this week, aggregating open positions from portfolio companies across their three funds: Revolution Growth, Revolution Ventures and the Rise of the Rest Seed Fund. The Revolution careers page lists jobs available in 105 cities across the country. Over 80% of the more than 1,000 jobs posted are outside of Silicon Valley, New York, and Boston.