- European Parliament has voted to uphold the copyright directive, which clarifies copyright laws for the internet
- Article 13, which was passed, requires content platforms to restrict copyright infringement
- The vote has been met with widespread criticism
This week has been full of controversial news in Europe. First, news broke of the House of Commons in the UK deciding to take over the Brexit negotiations going forward after rejecting Prime Minister Theresa May’s two previous proposals.
On March 26, 2019, it was reported that the European Parliament has voted on the Copyright Directive, a piece of legislation that would update European copyright laws to accommodate content usage on the internet.
This, in itself, was not the controversial part. What caused uproar was the decision of the parliament to uphold Article 13 or the ‘upload filter’ as it is popularly called. This decision sent shockwaves across the tech world and had many questioning what the ripple effect of this decision will be.
What is Article 13?
Article 13, which is arguably the most discussed part of the legislation due to its potential effect on content creators, has to do with copyright protection.
Essentially, it tasks content viewing platforms such as YouTube with the responsibility of monitoring and preventing the upload of copyrighted content by parties who do not own them.
On its surface, the law seems well-intentioned and even beneficial. However, in practice, there could be some issue. First, it will likely lead to the implementation of upload filters by these platforms to avoid violating the laws and getting fined. The problem is that, while larger platforms like YouTube can afford the millions of dollars needed to set up such filters, the smaller ones will not and this will increase the monopoly already held by firms like YouTube as they will not be able to operate within the new laws.
There is also the risk of the filters overperforming. There is already the sentiment among some content creators that they are being censored over small matters and should the filters begin restricting videos that do not technically violate copyright, the backlash will increase.
Another part of the legislature that has caused discussion is article 11 which requires platforms such as Google to pay news publishers when their snippets are used.
While this might be good news for the publishers of news, some feel as though it will lead to the closure of news aggregator platforms due to them not being able to afford to pay all the news sites.