After years of negotiations and compromises, the European Parliament has today approved the controversial Article 13: the new Copyright Directive. This means that internet platforms such as Youtube or Facebook can now be held liable for copyrighted material such as photos, videos or music.

Upload filter

The controversial upload filter is intended to better protect and compensate creators (e.g. artists or film producers). Often today their work is uploaded to online platforms without any permission from their side. Creators can only object to this once the content is online. Often there is already a loss of profit. The new directive means that platforms must install filters that are protected by copyright. There has been a lot of resistance to this filter, opponents say it will be at the expense of freedom on the internet. Last weekend there were still protests in major European cities, including Amsterdam, to oppose this controversial law. Protest sounds can also be heard on major websites. This is also the case with European pages of Wikipedia, which in protest op black went.

The controversial Article 13

There is still a lot of uncertainty when it comes to the application of Article 13. The intention is that platforms will soon make agreements with the rightholders. If there are no such agreements, the content must be automatically blocked (hence the name 'upload filter'). It is expected that large parties in particular (both rights holders and platforms) will make agreements among themselves, but what this means for smaller parties is still very uncertain.

Another objection is the fact that memes may no longer be recognized and are therefore automatically blocked. Since the world still seems to be under the spell of memes, this is a major stumbling block for many. Stef van Gompel, researcher at the Institute for Information Law at the UvA, expects that something will happen, but thinks that the impact will be less than is currently claimed. Professor of information law Mireille van Eechoud is a bit more sceptical. “It is unclear how much effort you will have to put in to have done your 'best effort'. When is enough?" Thus Echo.

"It is unclear how much effort you will have to put in to have done your 'best effort'. When will it be enough?" - Says Mireille van Eechoud, professor of information law

What does the future look like now?

There is still a lot of uncertainty about the impact of this directive. It mainly comes down to how strict the filter will be. It is taken into account that tech platforms will set the filter extra strict, because otherwise they can get high claims. This is natural for us as app developer an on topic issue. Something is going to happen, that's for sure. Perhaps we should believe professor Stef van Gompel that the future is not too gloomy: “I do not think that the internet will be stripped bare and that it will no longer have a right to exist.” Time will tell what the consequences of this controversial law will be.

*The last word has not yet been said about Article 13. The Council of Ministers has yet to approve it. The general expectation is that this will happen. After this agreement, member states will have approximately two years to transpose the directive into national legislation.

Would you like to know more about what Article 13 exactly is and why the internet is concerned about this new law? Then take a look at this video from the NOS in which everything is clearly explained.


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Stephanie Stam