December 19, 2018
Well, not yet, but it could happen in European Union member states in the future.
The European Parliament has recently voted in favour of the new copyright directive, the ‘European Union Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market’, which also includes the controversial ‘Article 13’.
‘Article 13’ is part of a new European Union copyright directive created with the intent to better protect creativity and strengthen copyright holders to protect their content online, as well as limit how copyrighted content is spread and shared on online platforms.
Organisations such as YouTube have raised concerns and warn that the new directive could force them to block many types of video - including educational videos, official musical videos, fan music covers, mash-ups, parodies and not to forget ‘memes’ too.
What it means for EU content creators, viewers and artists
It is good news for the original content owners and creators but maybe not so good for content creators who use copyrighted materials such as images, soundtracks and video clips to create content for entertainment and educational purposes.
This is because the directions of ‘Article 13’ could force tech giants such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook to shut down millions of new and existing videos, which contain copyrighted material, from all over the world for EU viewers, which means EU viewers may not be able to watch many of their favourite videos.
Under this directive, the onus of protecting copyright will be on the platforms, instead of the content owners, therefore they will be asked to put continuous filters in place to identify and remove illegitimately uploaded or used copyrighted material.
The platforms will also have to restrict the creators and artists from uploading content containing copyrighted material from EU member states, until the content owner can prove ownership or right to use material, which will overcomplicate the uploading process for content creators and artists from the EU.
Together with YouTube, many industry content creators and artists have expressed their concerns about ‘Article 13’. While they support the goals and aims of this directive, they anticipate that it will have a significant impact on the online content creation sector internationally, and largely in the EU.
YouTube is running a campaign called #Saveyourinternet to spread awareness about their concerns regarding this directive and appealing to YouTube users to join them.
Meme lovers from the EU not wanting to lose their favourite videos may choose to join the campaign and aim to convince the EU Parliament to reconsider its copyright directive.
However, if you are a content creator, an artist or a company, make sure your content does not contain copyrighted material, or if so, you better have legitimate proof to ensure that a) you’re not in breach of the directive, and b) your EU fans can enjoy your content without disruption and disappointment.