France won’t waste any time implementing the Copyright Directive and Article 13. In addition, the country will also implement a piracy website blacklist.
Last week, the European Parliament approved the Copyright Directive. This includes two controversial measures – Article 11 (the ‘link tax’) and Article 13 (‘upload filters’), since renamed Articles 15 and 17, respectively.
348 Members of European Parliament (MEPs) voted in favor. 274 voted against. 36 abstained.
Prior to the bill’s passing, the European Parliament first voted on rejecting the bill. 443 MEPs voted against and 181 voted in favor. Subsequently, Parliament held a vote to allow further amendments to the bill, which was rejected 317 to 312.
Article 13 – now 17 – requires for-profit internet companies to license content directly from copyright holders. Should they fail to do so, they must immediately take infringing works down, ensuring said works are not re-uploaded.
Following the vote, all 27 EU member states now have up to two years to implement the Copyright Directive in local legislation. Should a large member state, such as Germany, abruptly withdraw support of the bill, further negotiations would be required.
One country, however, has planned to implement ‘upload filters’ into law as early as this summer.
France goes all in on the Copyright Directive.
Earlier this year, the Copyright Directive had hit a brick wall, thanks in large part to Article 13.
Due to pressure from member states, the European Council had rejected the negotiating mandate during a crucial moment. Eleven of 28 Member States had voted against the text proposed by the Romanian Council. Then, Italy, Poland, Sweden, Croatia, Luxembourg, and Portugal outright opposed the bill.
Likely a ‘fatal’ blow, the move would’ve indefinitely stalled the Copyright Directive ahead of European elections in May.
Seemingly coming to the rescue, France and Germany then unveiled a new compromise to the bill.
Under the compromise, the Copyright Directive – specifically, Article 13 – would apply to all European for-profit platforms, including websites and apps.
All online platforms would have to install upload filters, continuously checking for copyright infringement, except under three of the following criteria:
- Platform/site available to the public for less than 3 years.
- Annual turnover falls below €10 million ($11.4 million).
- Fewer than 5 million unique monthly visitors.
This was ultimately the compromise the European Union agreed to support.
France will now implement the Copyright Directive as soon as this summer.
Speaking at Series Mania in Lille, Frank Reister, France’s Culture Minister, praised the bill’s approval. He said EU lawmakers had passed the Copyright Directive in spite of a massive campaign of “disinformation.” Europe, he added, had “resisted” the power of major tech organizations.
“The Directive will change nothing for internet users, but will change everything for content creators.”
This summer, French lawmakers will vote on a new audiovisual law to help “public service and fight piracy.” With this law, added Reister, the French government will also aim to implement the new Copyright Directive.
The proposed audiovisual legislation will also include the creation of a piracy website and proxies blacklist. Users won’t access these sites and services across any ISP in France.
The move to block piracy websites makes sense. According to a recent anti-piracy report, France ranks among the top 5 countries in the world with the most visits to these sites. Right behind the US, Russia, Brazil, and India, France had 10.3 billion registered piracy site visits in 2018.
Man France you and Europe surrendered at the same time this time lol
SHUT HSUET S YOOOU I WILL KILL YOU
How big payola he took from Google?
You are the reason for all my sadness!
-anons on google stealing wives apparently lol
Does this not look familiar? Obviously, the older generation has no sense of fun, memes and other things the younger ones enjoy. Yet they forget that when they were young, they also did the same thing.
The European Parliament has voted in favour of Article 13 and Article 11 in the final vote on the controversial EU directive today. The vote passed with a majority of 348 votes to 274.
This comes as awful news to content creators worldwide and proponents of a free and open internet – a large number of people were hoping for a last-minute miracle and for MEPs to ‘see sense’.
Julia Reda, a highly outspoken opponent to the directive and German MEP for the Pirate Party said it was a “dark day for internet freedom”.
One of the hopes of the opposition to the directive was that MEPs would vote on amendments individually and not as a general vote on Article 13 and Article 11 together – this was rejected by a majority of just five votes.
In a statement, YouTube said the final version of the EU Copyright Directive was “an improvement” but that it remained “concerned” that Article 13 could have “unintended consequences that may harm Europe’s creative and digital economy”.
The vote will be welcomed mainly by music artists, a core group of people who felt copyright laws worked to weakly to their detriment. It’s now believed that artists will be compensated fairer and the free reproduction and repurposing of their work will cease.
In a press conference following the announcement Guy Verhofstadt, a Belgian MEP and president of ALDE group said: “We have to make our own internet model in Europe as fast as possible so there is a choice for people and to reduce American monopolisation [of data controlling]”.
“To do that, GDPR was the first step, copyright is the second step and we need other steps in the coming years: creating one regulator and internet standards in Europe,” he said. “There is no freedom of internet today, the only freedom is to send data to US companies for their profit and that’s all”.
Just days before the vote, 200,000 people took to the streets of Germany to protest the proposed directive in favour of a free internet, these reports were eclipsed in the UK by our own pressing protests.
The vote didn’t win the approval of the technology industry either.
Simon Migliano, head of research at Top10VPN, noted that while Article 13 has “well-intended copyright laws” is could see the thriving online creation community severely stifled.
“Companies hosting user-generated content will have to implement content filters that are often too rigid and overzealous in their blocking,” said Migliano.
“The reality is that a generation that has been brought up on memes and video platforms like YouTube is hardly likely to take this unprecedentedly far-reaching legislation lying down. It will not come as a surprise to see millions of European web users turning to anti-censorship tools like VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) in a bid to retain their internet freedoms.”
Now the vote has passed, EU member states will have two years to draft the regulations as set out by the directive into domestic law, similarly to how the UK drafted the Data Protection Act 2018 following the European data directive.
What is Article 13 and Article 11?
Ever since the introduction of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act in 1988, the UK has had laws governing the protection of intellectual property. However, these laws predated the rise of the internet, and as such many have criticised the relevance of an act that was never designed to deal with modern types of creative works.
This is what the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, also known as the EU copyright directive, aimed to rectify. Copyright laws have become outdated, particularly in the eyes of those in the music and film industries who have supported the introduction of new, more comprehensive laws.
After a lengthy period of time during which the directive’s primary proponent Axel Voss has fended off wave after wave of criticism of the copyright directive’s most pernicious sections: Article 13 and Article 11, MEPs have finally voted in 26 March 2019 to pass the directive by a majority of 348 votes to 274. Many think the directive will kill internet freedom while some of the most senior MEPs argue that without GDPR and a copyright directive, we can never have a free internet anyway. Let us ease your confusion with our in-depth explainer; read on to find out what Article 13 and Article 11 are all about.
What is Article 13?
The full details of the Article can be found here, but if you’re not into reading legal text, it essentially means sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter and Soundcloud – sites that host user-generated content – become legally liable for the copyrighted material it hosts. For YouTube’s case, this is the large majority of it.
Article 13 has been labelled the ‘meme ban’ and it applies to repurposed copyrighted material such as a video from YouTube or music from Paul McCartney which can no longer be used in any works other than the copyright holder’s.
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This will effectively ban the process of creating ‘memes’, which are entirely driven by the ability to take an image and then edit it to provide some humour. Under the new directive, this will be prohibited, as will the remix of any song, unless the remixer had written consent from the original artist to use their work.
In terms of creative content, a shift is well underway towards more original content. Platforms are saturated with creatives trying to gain a following with the pressure for content creators to be new, original and different has never been greater. New laws could play into the hands of the new breed, but the old dogs of the trade, those who rely on remix culture, could be on their last legs.
Article 13 will compel any website to remove infringing content and show they took prior care to prohibit the upload of anything protected by copyright – failure to comply would likely lead to a fine.
So what’s the solution? The simplest and most likely one is to block all EU user-generated content from sites that host it at the point of upload. This is because as soon as copyrighted work has been published to the world, it immediately breaks the law and then the site would become legally liable for the punishment of breaking copyright law.
This is why the creative community is up in arms, claiming the directive is redundant as it won’t be protecting creativity, it will stifle it.
What is Article 11?
Article 11 is more easy to digest than Article 13. Also known as the ‘Link Tax’, it targets news aggregators such as Google and Apple who each have news services which curate the most important news stories of the day using AI-driven algorithms. It essentially attempts to help news outlets generate more money for the content they produce.
Rather than isolated to traditional outlets, news is now plastered all over Facebook walls, Twitter feeds and even Instagram accounts. However, it’s often the case that users glance at headlines and brief story descriptions to get the jist of a news bulletin, and then move on. With Article 11, companies would be able to charge a tax on Facebook for those missed clicks.
Supposedly protecting the rights of news sites and journalists, Article 11 will force aggregators to pay the news site for every time it lists an article outside of its domain. So, Google will have to pay IT Pro for every link of ours that it lists in its search engine – Google has weighed in on how this will affect the internet and businesses.
What could happen as a result of Article 11?
It’s possible that users will see less news on social media as it will cost money for it to appear there. Google, Twitter, Facebook and the rest could even start to form their own newsrooms – from curators to creators.
A pitfall of this would be small, independent newsrooms would have a much more difficult time in growing an audience in a world saturated by major news outlets. Without aggregation, smaller outlets would have to rely on SEO practices which are massively ambiguous, difficult to exploit and, according to recent reports, completely unreliable.
Google recently ran an experiment which essentially simulated the internet under Article 11 to see how it different it was. The results were worrying, especially for sites which rely on advertising revenue as a revenue stream.
Google altered the results to not include pictures and very limited amounts of preview text to avoid paying fines under the law. The experiment showed that even in a moderately strict version of the scenario, there was a 45% reduction in traffic to news sites. Instead, users went to non-news sites and social media to get the news they searched for – a direct contradiction of the aims for the directive.
What is the EU Copyright Directive?
It’s important to note that this is a directive, rather than an EU regulation. Unlike a regulation, which must be enforced across all member states in its entirety, directives are transposed into a member state’s national laws as appropriate. Once a directive is passed, all 28 member states of the EU must either introduce new domestic laws or update current ones to fulfil the specifications of the directive within a specific time period. The exact application of the directive can, therefore, differ across the EU.
As the UK’s current domestic copyright laws are 20 years old, many aspects of modern technology aren’t mentioned and an update is sorely needed. For example, the copyright act the UK doesn’t explicitly cover the creative works built by open source coders or app developers.
The Digital Single Market policy dates back to 2015. It was introduced to the EU with the goal of achieving more efficient and free movement of people, services and capital. In 2016, Europe spent just under €500 billion in total online spending. It’s predicted spending could reach €1 trillion by 2020.
Trilogue negotiations between the European Commission, the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament were set to begin on 21 January, but a lack of support forced the closed-door meeting to be cancelled. Since then, revised talks took place and put the final wording to an ultimate vote at the European Parliament – the vote which would have final say on whether the directive passed.
On 26 March 2019, MEPs voted in favour of passing both the contentious amendments to the copyright directive, meaning EU member states have two years to draft the regulations as set out by the directive into domestic law, similarly to how the UK drafted the Data Protection Act 2018 following the GDPR.
How will it affect you?
Website owners will have to have a think about what kinds of content they’re hosting. Of course, as previously mentioned, the passing of the directive doesn’t automatically mean it’s law. You’ll still have time to get things in order before your country adopts its own interpretation of the directive into domestic law, but it’s a good time to start taking inventory and decide what content might need to be removed in order to comply with the laws that could come into effect.
The EU has weighed in on to whom the directive will apply, only the biggest of websites need to be worried as a result of the talks that preceded the final Parliament vote. The directive will apply to every website unless it meets all of the following three conditions:
A startup that has been active for less than three years
A Website with an annual turnover below €10 million
A website with less than 5 million monthly unique visitors
Upload filters will have to be applied for every website that fails to meet the narrow exclusions above which are many of the mainstream sites and apps used today. If the notoriously erroneous upload filters were to became mandatory, sites such as YouTube have said that they will cease to allow uploads completely from the EU.
Punishment for breaching the rules as set out in the copyright directive is unknown as of yet. Copyright breaches in the UK typically result in the handing of a 3-6 month prison sentence and/or a £5,000 fine, so staying original has never been more important.
Remember, Politicians always don’t keep their word