The European Parliament voted on Tuesday in favor of the new law to reform how copyrighted content posted online is governed. The legislation passed yesterday with 348 votes against 274 votes.
The EU Copyright Directive has been heavily debated since its conception years ago, as well as a cause of concern for the tech industry. Article 13 is one such contentious clause, which states that anyone sharing copyrighted content must get permission from rights owners. Under the new law, internet platforms are liable for content that users upload. A second section of the directive, Article 11, state search engines and news aggregators will be charged for displaying snippets of news they’re linking to (known as a link tax).
This directive means that Internet platforms will likely have to use upload filters to evaluate anything they put online. The European Parliament say the directive is meant to ensure that obligations of copyright law also apply to the internet. The directive must now be approved by the Council of the European Union and a vote is expected to take place April 9. After EU member states themselves accept the directive, it will take effect after publication in the official journal and member states will have two years to implement it.
Susan Hall, Partner and Head of Technology at national law firm Clarke Willmott LLP, said: “Article 13 of the directive, which states services such as YouTube could be held responsible if their users upload copyright-protected material, such as film clips and music, is a huge deal. While organizations the size of YouTube may be able to cope with these requirements, smaller platform providers will be at a loss. Furthermore, the sheer volume of material uploaded daily make the provisions very difficult to apply, even for large organizations. Even though existing “legitimate uses” and exemptions, such as those which allow for parodies, or memes, are intended to apply, it is still going to lead to a lot of filtering being applied in a way that I don’t think is workable and will lead to a “safety first” culture of not allowing uploads on a blanket basis. It is a real danger to owners of any sort of publishing platform and is out of touch with how in practice copyright applies online.”