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What Does the EU Copyright Directive Mean?


copyright with magnifying glass

writer icon Kristine Hanson     ISB   |   Startups     🕐 29. Mar. 2019


Some directive articles have been heavily debated, raising a lot of concern regarding internet’s future integrity, freedom of expression, and development: Article 11, and more prominently Article 13 -now officially Article 17.

European Parliament statements
"We listened to the concerns raised and chose to doubly guarantee the freedom of expression,” said Parliament rapporteur Alex Voss, ensuring the safety of “the 'meme', the ‘gif’, [and] the ‘snippet’". Emphasising that the directive will make sure to not have any negative impact on these forms of expression.

Nor will it have a negative effect on startups. Less established and newer platforms “will be subject to much lighter obligations” whereas well-established platforms will take the brunt of the impact and will be subject to more larger-scale regulations.

A primary purpose of the new directive is to strengthen content creators’ positions and rights on how their work is used, and shared, on platforms online. According to a European Parliament press release, it is the smaller actors and content-creators who will benefit the most from the directive.

The directive specifically states that “relevant legislation needs to be future-proof so as not to restrict technological development,” indicating that in its legislative form it doesn’t not set out to in any way hinder development of internet and platforms as we know them.

However, as it does not contain the steps, nor blueprint, needed to implement its copyright laws, platforms will likely have to use some process of automatic filtering.

Concerned giants
Both Google and YouTube have been vocal in their opposition to the directive. Youtube, for instance, released a statement saying that they were worried it will have “unintended consequences that may harm Europe’s creative and digital economy”. They did however acknowledge that this version of the directive was better than previous ones.

The middle
Some argue it might end up being that the ‘middle-guy’ is affected most by the directive. While the least established platforms will be exempt, and big platforms such as Youtube might not be too bothered by having to implement upload-filters, possibly even benefitting from it, those who fall somewhere in-between could be dealt a hard blow.

It will come down to implementation, but the fact still remains that platforms that are older than 3 years, whose turnover exceeds €10 million, and who have more than five million new visits every month, will be hit hard -if not the hardest.



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