Services like YouTube, Facebook and Google News will feel the effects the most, but memes, gifs and snippets are "protected more than ever before. The European Parliament on Tuesday voted in favor of a controversial new law that will bring sweeping reforms to how copyrighted content posted online is governed.
The legislation was adopted with votes in favor and against. For proponents of digital rights, the decision comes as a huge blow after over a year of campaigning to uphold what they see as the integrity of the internet. Member of the European Parliament Julia Reda, one of the most vocal critics of the directive, said on Twitter that the vote signals a "dark day for internet freedom. Years in the making, the EU Copyright Directive has been heavily debated and divisive among politicians, as well as a cause of concern for the tech industry.
One part of the proposal in particular -- Article 13 , which will govern the way copyrighted content is uploaded to the internet -- has many in the tech community throwing their hands up in despair. Under the law, internet platforms will be liable for content that users upload, a burden that will fall heavily on some of the most popular online services.
The effects of the law may be felt well beyond Europe's borders, given the global nature of the internet and the need for tech companies to come up with policies that can be broadly applied. Critics said legislators had turned a deaf ear to a wide range of experts and to the general population. Before the text can be adopted in European law, it must next be approved by the Council of the European Union.
It's still possible that the directive may not be passed by the Council, but that would involve at least one key country changing its mind. A vote is expected to take place April 9. The Amazon subsidiary even put together a livestream featuring European legislators playing Mario Kart as they talked about the harm the legislation could do.
The campaigning reached such a level that many younger social media users ended up believing the internet would be deleted in Europe the day the legislation passed, posting heartfelt messages on Instagram wishing goodbye to their online friends. The details matter, and we look forward to working with policymakers, publishers, creators and rights holders as EU member states move to implement these new rules.
MEPs have rejected pleas from millions of EU citizens to save the internet, and chose instead to restrict freedom of speech and expression online. We now risk the creation of a more closed society at the very time we should be using digital advances to build a more open world where knowledge creates power for the many, not the few. Well, if the latest version of the EU Copyright Directive is passed by the European Parliament, you may not do any of the above.
The directive will kill the internet as we know it.
Copyright's Basic Rights
The Directive on Copyright contains two poisonous articles: Article 11 and Article The first requires news aggregator sites to pay publishers if the site uses more than "single words or very short extracts" from a story. So, for example, Rotten Tomatoes would have to pay a fee for every review for every movie it links.
Or, if you had a site linking to Marvel Cinematic Universe movie rumors, you'd be on the hook as well. Or, if you just shared a link to the latest Avengers Endgame story on Reddit , you might be in trouble. Indeed, I would argue that it was by making it easy to link to other content that the web quickly outdistanced its early internet predecessors such as Archie, Gopher, and WAIS.
What the law says - The Copyright Hub
In a desperate attempt to seize revenue from news aggregation sites, the EU will dig up the web's very foundations. Of course, Google can pay for news links. But how many smaller sites can do this? Besides, do you really want Google to decide what news you can see? Even Google's not crazy about that idea. Richard Gingras, Google's VP of news, recently blogged:.
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This will not benefit all equally. Or, Google might do what it did in Spain after that country passed a tax on news links: It closed down Google News Spain. If Google doesn't think it's worth the money, will anyone else? I doubt it. As a journalist, I want to be paid.
Copyright Protection of Writers and Publishers under Bangladeshi Law
Article 11 will hurt, more than help, news publications. But, as bad as Article 11 is, Article 13 is worse. This is impossible, and the closest any service can come to it is spending hundreds of millions of euros to develop automated copyright filters. Now, in the US, Section of the Communications Decency Act, part of the Telecommunications Act of , helps guarantee free speech on the internet with its "safe harbor" provision. It reads:. Article 13 flips this on its head.
Is it possible to use a copyright-protected work without infringing?
Anytime you post anything that might be copyrighted on commercial site of real size, that site can be sued for your post. So, for example, if you posted a cute cat photo to Instagram or Pinterest , and someone claimed it was copyrighted, the site gets hit by a bill with a threat of lawsuit. Can photo-sharing sites, just as one example, even survive this existential threat?