EU lawmakers have now approved Article 11 – also known as the Link Tax – and Article 13, which will require online platforms to use upload filters in an attempt to prevent copyright infringement before it happens.
From this moment onward, I expect a great deal of changes to come from platforms like YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, and so on.
Wherever you can share content, that platform will be affected.
Articles 11 and 13
My personal issue with Article 11 is that, in essence, it makes online platforms either (a) limit their product offerings, (b) create substantially limited web versions for European users, or (c) just block all European IP addresses.
Plus, it’s not like we haven’t seen this happen in the past. A similar move was attempted by Spain a few years back.
Want to know what happened? According to the Guardian:
“Google is closing Google News in Spain and removing Spanish media outlets from the service following a row with the country’s government over new legislation aimed at protecting local publishers that requires the search company to pay for using their content.”
This is not an ideal scenario and it benefits no one.
On the other hand, Article 13 essentially makes internet platforms hosting “large amounts” of user-uploaded content monitor user behavior and filter their contributions to identify and prevent copyright infringement.
How can the EU bestow that kind of responsibility on online platforms? It’s the same as saying if I committed a crime, my country would be responsible for my actions. Does it make sense? Absolutely not.
Essentially, any YouTube or Medium-like platform will be liable for copyright infringements.
A new set of conditions
The Franco-German compromise that has now been agreed means that Article 13 will apply to all for-profit platforms and that upload filters will have to be installed unless a service meets all three of the following criteria:
- Available to the public for less than 3 years
- Annual turnover below €10 million
- Fewer than 5 million unique monthly visitors
In my personal opinion, this makes little sense as most online platforms easily fall under one of these three categories, namely the first one. There’s also a ton of platforms I know, including my own start-up, that are three years old or even older and have little revenue or monthly visitors. Nevertheless, according to the EU, these online platforms now must incorporate user filters.
I’m just hoping we can all come together and do something to stop this atrocity.