News By/Courtesy: Ambuja Jain | 29 Mar 2019 11:24am IST

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The European Union voted in favour of a controversial new Copyright Directive which impacts the linking to news as well as the publication of copyrighted content by intermediaries.
  • The Copyright Directive includes Article 11 which has been called as the ‘link tax’, requires web platforms to obtain a license to link to or use snippets of new articles.
  • Article 13 which has been called the ‘upload filter’ or ‘meme killer’, requires a web platform to make ‘best efforts’ to obtain licenses to copyrighted material before it's uploaded to their platform.

The European Union voted in favour of a controversial new Copyright Directive, the new law impacts the linking to news as well as the publication of copyrighted content by intermediaries. European Union passed the Copyright Directive in a vote with 348 votes in favour, 274 against, and 36 voters remained absent. The new guidelines are the European Union’s first major update to its copyright laws since 2001. The directive aims to empower new publishers and artists against big techs like Facebook and Google and to make it more difficult for tech giants to make money and gather traffic from copyright violations sounds good in theory, but critics say it could hand more power to tech giants, restrain the free flow of information, and kill the beloved memes.

The Copyright Directive includes Article 11 which has been called as the ‘link tax’, requires web platforms to obtain a license to link to or use snippets of new articles. It intends to help news organisations gain some revenue from services like Google News that display a headline or a portion of an article that it suggests to readers. Article 13 which has been called the ‘upload filter’ or ‘meme killer’, requires a web platform to make their ‘best efforts’ to obtain licenses to copyrighted material before it is uploaded to their platforms and changes the current standard of requiring platforms to simply comply with copyright takedown requests. In both cases, the critics say that the directive is way too vague and efforts to fix the issues is shortsighted. It will become difficult to share articles or discover news, and companies like Google will stop displaying news results as they have done when similar was implemented in Spain. And the smaller platforms or startups won’t have a chance of competing with the already established companies who can afford massive moderation operations. The idea of fair use will become null and void as companies decide it’s not worth the headache to allow a re-purposed meme and risk legal liability.

As this is a European Union Law, its impact is territorially limited to the EU, and its main impact will be for the provision of access to such content, by service providers, within the EU only. Though, India and other countries will not be completely immune from its effect, since the global nature of the internet means that many in these countries will have a European base, which they cannot afford to lose. The Indian hosting provider, app, website, or other service providers that provide access to online content, will have to ensure compliance with the new law in relation to the content that can be accessed in the EU. These tech companies or persons will have to differentiate their content that can be accessed by the EU, and if the tech companies decide to implement the technologies like content filters at a global level, as opposed to an EU level, then any content uploaded anywhere will meet with the same issue. 

Section Editor: Shreyashi Tiwari | 29 Mar 2019 11:29am IST


Tags : #European #Union #Copyright #Directive #Article13 #DSM #Internet #Memes

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