European Parliament to Vote on Internet Copyright

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The European Parliament will come together today to vote on a new copyright directive. Article 13 of the directive is expected to have a major impact on internet creators if passed.

Article 13 of The Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market concerns 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”. It reads:

  1. Information society service providers that store and provide to the public access to large amounts of works or other subject-matter uploaded by their users shall, in cooperation with rightholders, take measures to ensure the functioning of agreements concluded with rightholders for the use of their works or other subject-matter or to prevent the availability on their services of works or other subject-matter identified by rightholders through the cooperation with the service providers. Those measures, such as the use of effective content recognition technologies, shall be appropriate and proportionate. The service providers shall provide rightholders with adequate information on the functioning and the deployment of the measures, as well as, when relevant, adequate reporting on the recognition and use of the works and other subject-matter.
  2. Member States shall ensure that the service providers referred to in paragraph 1 put in place complaints and redress mechanisms that are available to users in case of disputes over the application of the measures referred to in paragraph 1.
  3. Member States shall facilitate, where appropriate, the cooperation between the information society service providers and rightholders through stakeholder dialogues to define best practices, such as appropriate and proportionate content recognition technologies, taking into account, among others, the nature of the services, the availability of the technologies and their effectiveness in light of technological developments.

The legislation would make platforms like YouTube more responsible for copyright infringement on their sites, demanding that more censorious mechanisms are implemented to prevent content being reused without permission.

Discussion around the directive centres on tensions with Fair Use – parody videos, reaction videos, commentaries and rebuttals would likely become far more difficult to publish should it be passed.

Article 11 has also drawn criticism, an article known colloquially as the ‘link tax’. This branch would make companies like Facebook pay for links that were shared on their sites.

Supporters like Axel Voss MEP say it protects publications from having their revenues damaged, but critics say the legal definitions are too broad and that publications simply using hyperlinks / quotes could be impacted.

Read more here.