A European Commission has adopted a bill that could seriously disrupt the internet as we now know it. Normally, backward laws are the domain of the USA, but this time we are just there ourselves. Two articles are particularly important in the entire adaptation of copyright within Europe: Article 11 and, in particular, Article 13.
Article 11 states that online platforms linking to a news source must pay the publisher behind that news. It is already called the ‘link tax’ and that is what it comes down to. The idea is that news organizations can sell a license to large platforms such as Google and Facebook, otherwise it is not allowed to link to news that comes from them. For example, news organizations would continue to receive money to do their job.
The problem is that Article 11 does not even define what a link is. These details are left to the Member States and that means that if somewhere in the EU * cough * Poland * cough * a government is in power that is not so critical and holds the state broadcasting or newspaper, they simply can not issue licenses. As a news organization, you are not obliged to do so, just as you are not obliged to ask for a reasonable price. Enough opportunities for abuse and, to make matters worse, the EU is regarded worldwide as one area, so the most difficult interpretation of this law is de facto what foreign companies will maintain.
The irony is that exactly the reverse happens what the EU wants with this measure: Google and Facebook pay for those licenses, but all other small parties have to wait and see if they can go to the table for a license. m can pay, and then you have to think that you should do this for every news source you want to link to. Nobody knows how the EU intends to maintain this, but it is well underway.
This article is, if possible, even worse, because here you even get bothered by ordinary people. It is the meme killer. Article 13 says that every website is completely responsible for protecting the copyright of people who have made something. Until now, online platforms could not be sued if something was shared that was copyrighted by the users of that platform, but that will change. Everyone will soon need a battery of people, bots and algorithms just like YouTube to check every piece of code, text, photo or video on copyrighted material. It goes even further: if you take a picture of someone with a shirt with a copyrighted image, these vague rules could be enough to be captured by an algorithm as copyright infringement.
The article says something too vague that websites must take ‘adequate’ measures to prevent copyright infringement, but what that means exactly is not clear in the text. It provides a similar inversion of the intention as in Article 11. The large content platforms such as YouTube and Facebook have now become the best in content screening, and even those systems are still successful. They will soon no longer have to fear competition, because smaller parties simply do not have the opportunity to conform to the new privacy rules.
The most important thing is what I also pointed out when this happened the first time: the article leaves no room for ‘fair use’ parodies and other use that would also legally apply to copyrighted material. must be. That is very, very bad. And that all goes without saying that no unlawful copyright claims will be submitted by people who think they can earn money just as quickly. If there is a whole huddle of sites that all (semi) autonomists have to keep track of who is entitled to what can you wait for someone to claim copyright for what is not theirs at all. Long story short: these rules are not good, and if you have any love for the internet, it might be wise to address our European representatives and let them know that you can not find a plan.