Is it all systems go for the new EU Copyright Directive?
Written by Mark Reed on 16 September 2018« Return to Reading Room
A long battle, a long debate, a long time coming for the new EU copyright directive. As previously said, the main issues that have been debated since July (when it was rejected for further debate) are points within Article 11 and 13 of the Directive.
Our previous article about this directive was aimed at the movie industry and other creative areas, however this report is considering contentions within the technology sector, specifically the internet, social media and Article 11 and 13.
Let’s consider some issues that have been discussed about Article 11 which has essentially stated that internet companies would have to pay all news outlets that they are using the information on their hosted sites. The issue arose when this was comparable with social media sites as well as the other traditional hosts of such content. Mainly, the very slight inclusion of news content or even a hyperlink could ensue a cost for social media sites which would cause quite a storm. There is one main issue on this Article which is the words substantial and insubstantial and what this means, especially in regard to what falls within these categories as the definitions are not clear.
Article 13 however is being named as the ‘Meme Killer’ on some reports because it would require sites to have licenses to be able to use the content which caused a lot of lobbying against this Directive. Understandably, YouTube were at the forefront of these objections which frequently warned against the dangers. Other objections were certain filters expected to be implemented that block non-copyrighted material by accident or even small businesses that cannot afford filter software so would be pushed out of service by the bigger companies. There are arguments which claim that no matter what models are used to work the filters, they will not be able to differentiate Memes to the other registered works. To put it simply, if Meme’s and parody purpose pieces of work were to be accepted as acceptable works that would not require licenses, then the algorithms used for filters to stop non-copyrighted works to be allowed to be visible on sites.
The UK Society of Authors stated that the impact of Article 13 was not a true representation of what was to come and what the Article was trying to implement. They said that "The proposals ask internet giants to follow the offline norm and pay a fair share for creative content used on their platforms."
Alas, just because the current position on the new EU Copyright Directive is started to get signed off, it does not mean it is all systems go. In fact there are still all of the negotiations at another level that is far more secret to those which have passed this stage of approval.
Eyes peeled for us but the final decision is more than whether a meme will be allowed in the future…..
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