European Parliament passes controversial 'Article 13' Internet copyright bill

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The European Union has voted to pass its new copyright rules with "Article 13" intact, a section of the EU Copyright Directive, a controversial rule change that critics believe could hurt creativity and make user-generated content harder to produce and distribute.

The European Parliament in Strasburg
The European Parliament in Strasburg


Article 13 is framed as a way for copyright law to be strengthened online, forcing major tech companies to make a greater effort to monitor for copyrighted works uploaded by users. Under the rules, content hosts must properly license copyrighted material or be held liable for it being shared on its service.

Ministers of the European Parliament voted in favor of passing the new copyright laws including Article 13, known under that name but is in fact the 17th article in the EU Copyright Directive, with 348 votes in favor, 274 against, and 36 abstentions. Under EU rules, member states are set to approve the decision, then will have two years from its official publication to implement it into local law.

While the laws chiefly apply to countries within the European Union, they also impact practically every company worldwide that has an online presence, including those on other continents. The full rules will apply to larger, more established companies, while start-ups will have to deal with lighter obligations.

If the company can demonstrate it has made "best efforts" to gain permission from copyright holders, to prevent content copyrighted content from being available at the request of holders, and to quickly remove infringing material from view upon notification, it would no longer be liable for its presence.

Companies like Google and Facebook are already making an effort to protect against copyright abuse. But, the increase in liability under Article 13 means there will be a greater need to prevent the copyrighted works from being visible at all, which could mean applying deeper and stricter filtering to content before it becomes visible.

The directive has been changed from its original stricter form, following an outcry from critics. A number of exceptions to the rules have been implemented, such as uploading works for non-commercial purposes like Wikipedia or GitHub, as well as for private cloud storage services like Apple's iCloud and Dropbox.

One major complaint was claims the rules would effectively ban the creation and distribution of memes. The European Parliament believes that existing protections for sharing for "quotation, criticism, review, caricature, parody, or pastiche" continue as before, allowing memes and short GIFs to be shared between internet users, as well as allowing YouTube reaction and news videos to continue production.

"There's no problem with memes at all. This directive was never intended to stop memes and mashups," MEP for London Mary Honeyball told the BBC. "I think that's doom-mongering. People who carry out their business properly have nothing to worry about at all."

A second controversial area of the rules, "Article 11," would force news aggregators to license anything larger than "short extracts" of a story that they are sharing with an audience. This can include headlines and small snippets of stories, like Google News offers as well as in Google search, though it may also cover apps and services that perform a similar task without compensation for the content creator.

Prominent critic Google advises recent rule tweaks to blunt the directive had improved it, but there was still some "legal uncertainty" surrounding elements. "The details matter and we look forward to working with policy-makers, publishers, creators, and rights holders, as EU member states move to implement these new rules," said the search giant.

European Parliament Rapporteur Alex Voss called the directive "an important step towards correcting a situation which has allowed a few companies to earn huge sums of money without properly remunerating the thousands of creatives and journalists whose work they depend on."

The push for online copyright legislation is similar to attempts by the United States government to do the same in 2011, via the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) House and Senate bills. Each attempted to prevent the sale of pirated or copyrighted goods online, including movies and music.

While noble in its cause, the acts were criticized in a number of ways, including how it effectively applied to all websites in the world and not just those in the United States, by cutting off access to websites for those living in the US via DNS changes. By blocking sites deemed infringing, critics believed it could be seen as heavy-handed censorship by preventing users from performing lawful activities through the same sites.

There were also provisions to block financial transfers to the sites deemed infringing, even if only a small part of a larger online presence was found to be hosting pirated material.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    YAY, we now have a #Filternet, the USA has a #Shitternet (no net neutrality), China has a #Firenet (firewall) and Russia has #Putinet. Oh humanity…
    ItsDeCiachaickaelijahgwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 23
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,969member
    Instead of jumping through hoops to obtain copyright permissions the easiest solution will be to just delete any uploaded content that has the slightest hint of containing copyrighted material. Will original, copyrighted content uploaded by the copyright holder mean that Google and others will have to pay that creator? If so why would Google even allow that upload?
    jbdragonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 23
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,078member
    So the Internet will have to turn into only a Media Consumption service. You know like TV, One way!!! YouTube can't just have people creating content to put up. They might Infringe and then Google gets stuck paying a big fine. How does Social Media now work? Or Message forums like this? If you post something, that's auto copyrighted. Someone can't quote you without your permission.

    Can you post a link without paying a Tax? We won't know for sure what is really allowed until all the member countries write their own laws to fall in line. Some will be worse than others. Businesses will have to go with the lowest common denominator. Who has the worse laws in the EU, does it make sense to just block the EU at that point?
    edited March 27 watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 23
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,452member
    lkrupp said:
    Instead of jumping through hoops to obtain copyright permissions the easiest solution will be to just delete any uploaded content that has the slightest hint of containing copyrighted material. Will original, copyrighted content uploaded by the copyright holder mean that Google and others will have to pay that creator? If so why would Google even allow that upload?
    They wouldn't thus upload filters in all likelihood. That's despite the Germans saying otherwise in their side-agreement with France. 
  • Reply 6 of 23
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 882member
    That was included amongst a bunch of other freedom-restricting things, such as mandatory wiring for breathalysers that'll disable the car if the driver/passenger/whoever else uses it doesn't pass (the actual breathalyser isn't mandatory, yet) and mandatory speed limit reading cameras that limit a car's maximum speed. There were more anti-freedom measures too that I can't remember off the top of my head. The continual march toward a restrictive, controlling, federal superstate continues. Another reason the UK was right to leave the EU.
    randominternetpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 23
    croprcropr Posts: 927member
    If I read this correctly, the existing Apple News service could also be impacted. But I could be wrong of course
  • Reply 8 of 23
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,452member
    cropr said:
    If I read this correctly, the existing Apple News service could also be impacted. But I could be wrong of course
    Apple could be held responsible for any copyrighted content they serve up in Apple News+. it's the delivery medium that's ultimately held responsible and not just the potential infringer themselves. No idea how trivial the EU will be in enforcing it, assuming of course the member states approve the Commission's regulation. It's generally a rubber stamp but not in this instance from what I'm reading. 
  • Reply 9 of 23
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,015member
    unknwntrr said:
    YAY, we now have a #Filternet, the USA has a #Shitternet (no net neutrality), China has a #Firenet (firewall) and Russia has #Putinet. Oh humanity…
    “Net Neutrality” was a deceptively named bit of political propaganda all along, like the falsely named “Patriot Act” or “Affordable Care Act”.
    randominternetperson
  • Reply 10 of 23
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 676member
    I may be the only one, but I see absolutely nothing wrong with this. Someone authors a piece of work, they should be compensated. Period. 

    Next time you you think about criticizing Samsung for copying, think about this. It’s exactly the same thing. 
    edited March 27 tokyojimurandominternetperson
  • Reply 11 of 23
    mac_dog said:
    I may be the only one, but I see absolutely nothing wrong with this. Someone authors a piece of work, they should be compensated. Period. 
    I have a lot of content on the internet. I don't want any compensation for it apart from attribution if my work is used in something else. That's why it is published under a Creative Commons license.
    Can you understand that not everyone is consumed by money? I don't want payment in $$$$ for my work.

    {This post is intentionally made free for everyone to use provided you maintain attribution back to me}
    gatorguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 23
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 722member
    mac_dog said:
    I may be the only one, but I see absolutely nothing wrong with this. Someone authors a piece of work, they should be compensated. Period. 

    Next time you you think about criticizing Samsung for copying, think about this. It’s exactly the same thing. 
    Seriously... Take that Samsung apologist BS someplace else.

    Article 13 is framed as a way for copyright law to be strengthened online, forcing major tech companies to make a greater effort to monitor for copyrighted works uploaded by users. Under the rules, content hosts must properly license copyrighted material or be held liable for it being shared on its service.

    You are really reaching....




    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 23
    The devil is in the details, but the protestations sound overbroad to me.  Why shouldn't Google (YouTube) be responsible for the platform being used to share vast quantities of unlicensed, copyrighted material?

    First, the law doesn't say Google's processes have to be foolproof.  From the article: "If the company can demonstrate it has made "best efforts" to gain permission from copyright holders, to prevent content copyrighted content from being available at the request of holders, and to quickly remove infringing material from view upon notification, it would no longer be liable for its presence."  Don't they do that already?

    Someone mentioned Apple News.  Who here thinks Apple is going to be hosting news content that isn't licensed from a source that is, in turn, authorized to license it?

    As for original content (such as posts to a forum), that will be covered by some hand-waving EULA that we won't read anyway.

    Sure this is a bit of a pain for lawyers at the mega-corporations to comply with, but this is hardly something that we regular people should be concerned about.
    gc_ukwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 23
    mac_dog said:
    I may be the only one, but I see absolutely nothing wrong with this. Someone authors a piece of work, they should be compensated. Period. 
    I have a lot of content on the internet. I don't want any compensation for it apart from attribution if my work is used in something else. That's why it is published under a Creative Commons license.
    Can you understand that not everyone is consumed by money? I don't want payment in $$$$ for my work.

    {This post is intentionally made free for everyone to use provided you maintain attribution back to me}
    Then you're covered.  You've given people the right to redistribute your content, so no one will get in trouble for doing so.  That's the whole point of the Creative Commons License--to let people like you grant broad access within a framework that let's other people be more restrictive (if they so choose).
    gc_ukwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 23
    IreneWIreneW Posts: 149member
    elijahg said:
    That was included amongst a bunch of other freedom-restricting things, such as mandatory wiring for breathalysers that'll disable the car if the driver/passenger/whoever else uses it doesn't pass (the actual breathalyser isn't mandatory, yet) and mandatory speed limit reading cameras that limit a car's maximum speed. There were more anti-freedom measures too that I can't remember off the top of my head. The continual march toward a restrictive, controlling, federal superstate continues. Another reason the UK was right to leave the EU.
    The freedom to drive drunk?
    gc_uk
  • Reply 16 of 23
    gatorguy said:
    lkrupp said:
    Instead of jumping through hoops to obtain copyright permissions the easiest solution will be to just delete any uploaded content that has the slightest hint of containing copyrighted material. Will original, copyrighted content uploaded by the copyright holder mean that Google and others will have to pay that creator? If so why would Google even allow that upload?
    They wouldn't thus upload filters in all likelihood. That's despite the Germans saying otherwise in their side-agreement with France. 
    What's wrong with upload filters?  Is the concern that they will be overly restrictive?  That they will start a slippery slope for more "interesting" intrusion by governments into what can be uploaded to the Web?
  • Reply 17 of 23
    They're just dragging the internet and tech industry into the same level of responsibility for copyright as physical products or network/cable TV. Personally, I think it's fine. Tech and the internet have been around long enough to be expected to meet the same standards. 
    randominternetpersongc_uk
  • Reply 18 of 23
    gc_ukgc_uk Posts: 21member
    elijahg said:
    That was included amongst a bunch of other freedom-restricting things, such as mandatory wiring for breathalysers that'll disable the car if the driver/passenger/whoever else uses it doesn't pass (the actual breathalyser isn't mandatory, yet) and mandatory speed limit reading cameras that limit a car's maximum speed. There were more anti-freedom measures too that I can't remember off the top of my head. The continual march toward a restrictive, controlling, federal superstate continues. Another reason the UK was right to leave the EU.
    Are you saying driving over the legal limit shouldn’t be enforced?

    The speed limiting doesn’t mention a method for determining the speed limit, just that they should. 
  • Reply 19 of 23
    gc_ukgc_uk Posts: 21member
    cropr said:
    If I read this correctly, the existing Apple News service could also be impacted. But I could be wrong of course
    Only if they aren’t entitled to publish the content they’re delivering. 
  • Reply 20 of 23
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,452member
    gatorguy said:
    lkrupp said:
    Instead of jumping through hoops to obtain copyright permissions the easiest solution will be to just delete any uploaded content that has the slightest hint of containing copyrighted material. Will original, copyrighted content uploaded by the copyright holder mean that Google and others will have to pay that creator? If so why would Google even allow that upload?
    They wouldn't thus upload filters in all likelihood. That's despite the Germans saying otherwise in their side-agreement with France. 
    What's wrong with upload filters?  Is the concern that they will be overly restrictive?  That they will start a slippery slope for more "interesting" intrusion by governments into what can be uploaded to the Web?
    https://thenextweb.com/eu/2019/02/14/eus-final-copyright-reform-upholds-disastrous-upload-filters/
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