3 min read

The Reddit team has decided to take a stand against the EU copyright directive, as it announced last week that EU Reddit users will now be greeted with a “warning box”, on accessing Reddit via desktop.

The warning box will provide users with information regarding the EU copyright directives (specifically article 11 and 13). It will also be referring to resources and support sites. This is Reddit’s attempt to make EU users more aware of the law’s potential impact on the free and open internet. This is not the first time Reddit has stood up against the controversial EU copyright law as it had published a post updating the users on EU copyright directives, 2 months back.

“Article 13” talks about the “use of protected content by information society service providers storing and giving access to large amounts of works and other subject-matter uploaded by their users”. In a nutshell, any user-generated content, if found to be copyrighted on online platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, etc, would need to get censored by these platforms. “Article 11” talks about “Protection of press publications concerning digital uses”, under which sites would have to pay the publishers if a part of their work is being shared by these sites.  

“Under the new Directive, activity that is core to Reddit, like sharing links to news articles, or the use of existing content for creative new purposes (r/photoshopbattles, anyone?) would suddenly become questionable under the law, and it is not clear right now that there are feasible mitigating actions that we could take while preserving core site functionality”, says the Reddit team. The Reddit team also argues that various similar kind of attempts made in the past in different countries within Europe had “actually harmed publishers and creators”.

Furthermore, Reddit has come out with a number of suggestions, in partnership with Engine and Copia institute, for ways to improve both the proposals. Here are some of the fixes:

Suggestions Article 11 Suggestions for Article 13
  • Clarification needed in detail about content requiring a license. There’s confusion regarding whether a single word would qualify for a license or a link.
  • More information needed on what sites this proposal applies to. The current term “digital uses” is quite broad. For eg; if the target is news aggregators, then make that explicit.
  • It should be made clear that this proposal is not applicable to individual users, but is meant only for large news collating sites.  
  • Clarification should be made on what a “press publisher” is under the law. It could be interpreted to include all kinds of sites. Also, the fact that a press publisher does not include scientific journals and similar kind non-news-based publications, should be made clear.
  • Clarification needed on what is meant by “appropriate and proportionate” as it currently doesn’t provide any guidance to sites online and can be incorrectly interpreted, leading to litigation and abuse.  
  • Must have clear and significant penalties in place for providing false reports of infringement.
  • It should be the responsibility of the Copyright holders to provide information on platforms with specific identifying content, ownership details along with content information when determining infringing works.
  • A “ fair use-like exception” should be implemented in the EU to legalize memes, remixes, and other everyday online culture. 

“We hope that today’s action will drive the point home that there are grave problems with Articles 11 and 13 and.. that EU lawmakers will listen to those who use and understand the internet the most and reconsider these problematic articles. Protecting rights holders need not come at the cost of silencing European internet users”, says the Reddit team.

Read Next

GitHub updates developers and policymakers on EU copyright Directive at Brussels

What the EU Copyright Directive means for developers – and what you can do

YouTube’s CBO speaks out against Article 13 of EU’s controversial copyright law


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