Articles 11 & 13 of the EU Copyright Directive: What are they? (1/2)

Copyright protection is a central point of intellectual property, one that has been around for decades. However, as a result of the rapid growth in the digital market, some current laws can be deemed incompatible and overtaken by the digital era. The EU Copyright Directive, (Directive of the European Parliament and the Council on Copyright in the Digital Single Market) intends to fill in those gaps of imbalance.  Articles 11 and 13, in particular, are controversial, as they force online platforms to check all materials uploaded on their site, rather than depending on users to be responsible for addressing any potential violations.

Article 13 has now been renamed Article 17 of the EU Copyright Directive. The latter ensures that platforms which consist of user-generated content, such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, will solely become liable for the content posted by its creators. Further, Article 13 has been labelled the ‘meme ban’ as the editing of an image for the providence of humour has been prohibited, alongside the remix of a song, unless consent has been obtained from the original artist. The creation of this Article now means that platforms failing to remove any infringing content will likely face a fine.

Article 11 has been renamed Article 15 in the EU Copyright Directive. This Article is responsible for targetting tech giants such as Google. This may also be considered a positive outcome for news sites, as the legislation would assist them in generating more royalties for their work. This is as we face many different news and stories on social media daily. Users could therefore retweet or share something that they have barely read, or have formed a common opinion on solely based on the title and brief description of the headline. The legislation will therefore enable news sites to be paid every time their content is listed outside of their domain. This will mean less news will appear in member states bound by Article and could witness giant tech companies forming their own newsroom to avoid paying ‘link tax’.

Please note, this will not apply to the UK due to the withdrawal from the EU. Head over to our reading room for part 2 of this article to find out further information.

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