Last week, the EU legislators met to finalize the EU Copyright Directive. Yesterday, in an informal meeting, members of the European Parliament and the Council drafted up a final text for the new EU copyright directive. As explained in the blog post by German politician Julia Reda, this law which has been in discussion since two years can stop copyright material being shared over the internet. As of now, the responsibility to control the illegal sharing of copyrighted material is on the copyright holders. The new law could make big internet companies like YouTube, Facebook etc,. Responsible for enforcing copyright protection.
The EU copyright directive includes Article 11 and Article 13 which are being dubbed as “link tax” and “meme ban” respectively. Article 13 would require platforms to use expensive and error-prone upload filters to filter the upload of any copyright material in the entire world. All except small and new sites will also be directly liable for any copyright infringement that may arise due to copyright filters not being good enough as decided by any court. Article 11 which has already failed in Germany would make licenses mandatory for using more than very short extracts for reproducing news stories.
Reda mentions in her blog post that “The history of this law is a shameful one”. She explains that the purpose of this law was to never solve copyright issues but to serve the special interests of, possibly a few powerful media organizations. In pursuit of implementing this law, concerns of academics, researchers and startups have been ignored, Reda tells in her post.
If both Parliament and Council vote for it, it’ll become the EU law. The best chance to stop this from happening is in the upcoming Parliament vote. Earlier, another parliament member, Axel Voss had defamed the protest of millions of netizens.
YouTube has also been protesting against this law which would cause millions of YouTube videos to be blocked in the EU. Many YouTubers have made videos protesting against Article 13. YouTube argues that while intentions of protecting creativity is good, the text drafted by the European Parliament will cause other undesirable effects.
A Hacker news user suggests cutting off Google services in Europe to show what passing this law would mean: “Google should just cut off YouTube and other impacted platforms for 24 hours in the EU with a message telling them that the service is against Article 13. It might sound absurd but it would be effective, and this is the real danger with article 13.”
Another user states his displeasure: “This is absolutely horrible and MEPs [member of European Parliament] voting for this do not have EU citizens best interests in mind.”
Another user thinks that media companies are behind this: “This is the destruction of the internet. I don’t think there’s anything other than lobbying from the European media industry behind this directive. At least we can assume decentralized systems will get more attention in the future.”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation also Tweeted about the effects of the copyright directive.
The EU #CopyrightDirective has — amazingly — been made even worse. Now, #Article13 requires mandatory copyright filters for any online community that has existed for 3 or more years, regardless of size. https://t.co/NpMMaJr6gJ
— EFF (@EFF) February 13, 2019