Article 13 of the new European Copyright Directive has been named “the upload filter” by sceptics. In short the Article will make online platforms that store and provide access to large amounts of work which is uploaded by users liable for the copyright infringement of those users. It means that those platforms, such as YouTube, will have to cooperate in good faith to prevent the infringement from taking place.
In essence, the Article will require online platforms to implement “upload filters”, filtering the uploaded works against copyright protected material. Of course, YouTube and co have been arguing that the Article will have too much of an impact on the content that is uploaded and will increase its liabilities. This is because rights holders of the copyright protected content will be able to sue the online platform.
YouTube’s Lyor Cohen has stepped in, explaining that covers and parodies will be lost. Many have dubbed the Article as a “meme killer”. Cohen stated he would “stress again that the success of the music industry and the creative environment that has benefited so many artists are threatened by article thirteen, as written. I encourage everyone making a living in this industry to learn more about it and join us to propose a better version together”.
YouTube CEO, Susan Wojcicki has also expressed concern, she stated in a blog post “if implemented as proposed, Article 13 threatens hundreds of thousands of jobs, European creators, businesses, artists and everyone they employ. The proposal could force platforms, like YouTube, to allow only content from a small number of large companies.”
In September the European Parliament voted through Article 13. The Article was voted through with record label favouring wording, it favours record labels as it stands because the Article should remove the “value gap”. The Value Gap is the result of individuals being able to stream music via YouTube which results in artists being paid the money YouTube generates through adverts, which is of a lesser amount had the individuals brought the music.
The European Parliament is now working with the European Commission and the EU Council to create the final draft of the European Copyright Directive. Hence YouTube’s reasoning for kicking up a fuss – again.
Will memes disappear, will the value gap disappear and will YouTube keep quiet about Article 13? I think I know the answer to only one of those.