Article 13: Copyright re-invented
The European Union has not updated the copyright laws since 2001. Now they are aiming to change that and bring the copyright laws in line with the “digital era”. Most of these changes are uncontroversial, however, Article 13 will have a huge impact on the way that content is shared on the internet. What it basically means is that, hosting platforms will be responsible to make sure that the content that is uploaded is going to be in line with the copyright laws.
How Article 13 shifts the balance of power for creators and publishers
The goal of article 13 is to fix the problem of value distribution amongst a certain set of industries, especially the music industry. The problems with the Article 13 is with the services towards which it is addressed, while also suffering from having a broad yet vague goal. Problem is that it will apply to all types of copyrighted works. On top of that, there is no reason for an article that is intended to strengthen the bargaining power of the music industry to impose costly responsibilities on platforms that have nothing to do with sharing music. Additionally, since the article seems so vague, there are bound to be misunderstandings and misinterpretations which will lead to the need of taking legal action for the matter to be settled.
Buckle up for the consequences of Article 13
So how are hosting platforms going to tackle this new challenge? Basically, human reviewing is going to be out of the question. The reason for this is that consistently monitoring huge amounts of data that is being uploaded in a timely manner is virtually impossible, unless you have a small army at your disposal. What this means, is that platform will have to put automated filters in place in the forms of BOTs or AI. Ok, so where is the problem?
Big corporations win, small companies lose
One of the problems is that a system like this will be extremely expensive to adopt. What this means is that smaller platforms will not be able to adopt such a system and might be forced to opt out of the game altogether. Basically, this will stifle the emergence of innovation in the EU, brought by new small competitors on the market. On top of that, already established giants in the tech industry will be able to afford such a system, meaning that they will be able to hold even more power.
Another problem with this approach, is that an AI or BOT is not going to be able to tell the difference between truly copyrighted content and content that is meant for humour.
Is this goodbye to the meme culture?
What this means is that if a funny picture is based on a scene from a movie, the filtering system will regard this as copyrighted content and remove it from the internet.
Although the EU has made it clear that the exceptions to the rule will be content that is meant to be a “quotation, criticism, review, caricature, parody or pastiche”, the problem with how these contents will be told apart from real copyright infringements by filtering systems still remains the same.