What the F is Article 13?

When this new law passed if you were a bit “huh?” then you’re not alone. The impact of Article 13 is two-fold, and people are already campaigning to get it changed.

In this blog, we look at:

What article 13 is and means for businesses
Why it is a good thing
Why it isn’t a good thing

What is article 13?

The European Union Directive on Copyright  in the Digital Single Market, to use its full name, requires the likes of YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to take more responsibility for copyrighted material being shared illegally on their platforms. Source: Wired

The element that’s causing the most online debate is article 13 of the directive. At present social media platforms are not responsible for violations in copyright, unless the original owner submits a request for content to be removed. Article 13 means that they now are, and have a duty to monitor content and remove anything that violates copyright law.

The pros of article 13.

Quite simply it means that these tech giants will have the backs of anyone that produces and shares unique content. By content we mean, music, graphics, videos, recipes, articles, photos and anything else that has been created by someone. The aim is to give credit (and sometimes revenue) where it is due, and stop other users ripping off an originator’s hard work.

The bits of article 13 that might not work.

While in principle this sounds like a good proposition, the expectation of social media sites is now to have a form of auto-recognition or scanning upon upload. So what happens to user-generated content? Or those businesses that want ambassadors to share something from their accounts? What about those amusing memes that do the rounds?

GOOD NEWS. Apparently, those snippets of joy will be protected as they are “parodies” and aren’t pretending to be the originator or the brand. That said platforms such as YouTube are campaigning against this as they argue that it will be hard to distinguish what is an original, parody or copyrighted material so everything will get caught up, leading to a reduction in content being shared.

So while we want original creators to get the praise they deserve for their content, the directive hasn’t expanded upon how article 13 can be implemented fairly.

Other areas of the directive that can also impact content creation.

Article 12a hasn’t had as much press, but it is crucial for anyone in the sports industry. This element will stop anyone who isn’t the official organiser from posting videos or photos on public forums.

This “could” also include GIF’s and may impact photos taken by fans at sports events. The details are yet to be ironed out – but we hope that this won’t be the case. UGC for sporting events, especially for those that are not as popular, is crucial for spreading the word.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of the policing that seems to be coming towards social media – what happens next is anyone guess, and I am not sure where I yet stand with it all. It is safe to say that these directives will evolve as businesses and individuals work had to mould these policies into something that works for the majority.

But do we need directives like this at all? What do you think?


If you want to start creating your own original content to share as your heart desires. Get in touch!

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