Startup News Digest 9/14/2018

Want to nominate an entrepreneur to be featured in StartupsEverywhere for Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15)? Email Jen Fox.

The Big Story: Europe passes online filtering rules.

This week, the European Parliament approved sweeping changes to its copyright regime, including Article 13, which would effectively require all websites hosting user generated content to adopt expensive and ineffective content filters. The proposal also creates a new IP right for publishers that requires websites to pay publishers if the website creates a link to the publisher’s content. Proposals like Article 13 undermine the open Internet and give a major competitive advantage to large platforms that can afford multi-million dollar content filters, all without any meaningful impact on copyright infringement.

Earlier this week, a group of small online platforms that help creators distribute their content echoed these concerns, explaining why the proposal will ultimately hurt EU creators. The proposal will now head to the trilogue process whereby the Parliament, European Council, and European Commission will finalize the details of the proposal before heading to the member states for implementation.

Policy Roundup:

Nuts and Bolts of Encryption. Following a three-panel series this summer, Engine and the Charles Koch Institute are releasing a policy primer on “The Nuts and Bolts of Encryption.” The booklet has all of the highlights from the panel series, including explaining the math behind encryption using primary colors and a simulation that walks through the factors companies have to consider when being asked to build an intentional vulnerability into their products.

A Senate privacy hearing. The Senate Commerce Committee announced a hearing later this month on consumer privacy protections, which will include representatives from AT&T, Google, Twitter, and Apple.

Another EU platform regulation. The European Commission is considering a proposal that would let the government levy significant fines against Internet platforms that don’t quickly remove terrorist content that has been uploaded by users.

Collection of Online Sales Taxes Begins. South Dakota will officially become the first state to start collecting sales tax on online transactions on November 1, 2018. Other states are likely to follow creating a mess for small online retailers who sell products nationwide.

EU court mulls global right to be forgotten. The EU’s highest court heard arguments this week—including from the European Commission—that Europe’s “right to be forgotten” shouldn’t apply to the Internet globally and would create conflicts between other countries’ fundamental rights, including to free speech. Daphne Keller of Stanford Law explains why that would be problematic for small companies this week in the New York Times.

Patent Troll Shakes Down Farmers. In the latest example of why patent quality is so important, a small farmer in Oregon was sued by a notorious patent troll for selling his products online. Landmark Technology has gone after 170 small businesses, including Fabletics, simply for creating websites.

Startup Roundup:

#StartupsEverywhere: Boston, M.A.
 Fady Saad is the co-founder and Director of Partnerships at MassRobotics, innovation hub and startup cluster focused on the needs of the robotics community. As leader in New England and the U.S., MassRobotics has attracted attention from policymakers, locally, nationally and even internationally - including receiving over two million dollars from the state government. Fady hopes policymakers continue to invest in robotics innovation to maintain an international lead in robotics. Government involvement can signal to other players that this is an area of importance.

#StartupsEverywhere: Long Island, N.Y. This week, we toured LaunchPad Huntington with Phil Rugile, Director of LaunchPad Huntington. Phil recognized the need for a space to attract talent, host events and build community; he then founded LaunchPad which serves to lower barriers to entry for entrepreneurs. Although LaunchPad has helped to foster many startups, Phil hopes government will continue to lower barriers for entrepreneurship including affordable housing and accessible transportation for all.