Article 13, What’s all the fuss?
Introduced by the European parliament’s committee on legal affairs (JURI) which has voted in article 13.
What is Article exactly?
Article 13 is a part of a larger directive which hopes put the rights of original copyright holders first and to spread the pay generated by all creative works uploaded to the internet more evenly amongst those who created. The likes of Youtube and Google services, among other internet titans, for years now, have been earning the bulk of the profits earned by users who upload content without properly compensating the creators of said content. At least this was the original claim made by those who pushed the directive. The change sounds good on paper and will only affect European digital markets, but naysayers will claim that Article 13 threatens freedoms of creativity, expression, and publishing as it stands on the internet.
Who’s against the change?
Several influencers and personalities online had written open letters to the president of the European Parliament or otherwise contacted the institution, requesting that Article 13 be dismissed or removed.
One of the main arguments introduced by a letter written collaboratively by numerous luminaries letter against the new article, explains that by forcing internet platforms to automatically filter the content that users upload, drastic steps will be taken in transforming the internet from an open platform for innovation into a means for the constant surveillance and control of users.
The letter also explains that currently established and larger companies will have little to no issues in implementing systems to filter the content that their users provide, but smaller companies and institutions may struggle to produce these new measures. Not least of which thanks to financial and other barriers that we’ll elaborate on in just a moment.
A global initiative has been launched to combat article 13, titled “saveyourinternet”, which provides steps in contacting local MEPs to prevent the article from ever coming into effect. We’ve already seen the effects of measures akin to these filters have on the users themselves, like with YouTube and the false copyright claims. They allow almost anyone to falsely claim content as their own work without fear of reprimand or punishment, using them to censor or wrongly disrupt the income of creators.
However, the article was recently passed (sort of).
But the issue of whether the hosts of the online platforms would have to invest in producing new filters is still up in the air, at least for now. Despite the previous issues that we’ve outlined, there’s still a strong push for these filters. France has been strongly in favour of the directive and allegedly convinced one of its biggest detractors, Germany to switch sides, somehow. Germany was opposed to the directive forcing smaller businesses to introduce filters as they could end up being the financial ends of these companies which bring in less than 20 million euros in revenue, annually. Germany supposedly made the switch after a speculated deal was made with France over Russia’s gas and who gets it.
The process is far from over though, which means the fight for or against Article 13 goes on. Ammendments are on the way and with 100 of them already in place Article 13 may turn out to be entirely different.