Articles 11 and 13: Why You Should Worry

Somehow, we’ve gotten to the point where, with just over three weeks to go, the internet as we know it is about to change indelibly for the worse. Yes, for those of you in the know I am talking about the EU’s proposed Copyright Directive. This new directive will be debated on the 20th and 21st of June 2018, and could honestly be bad news for our internet.
***UPDATE – Article 13 was not removed on June 20th; On July 4th – 5th MEPS will get to vote on this; please contact your MEPS AND SIGN THIS PETITION****
Now many educated and intelligent people have trodden over this ground already. As such I’m not going to dive too deep into the nitty-gritty. Instead I’m going to break down
the ways this could go tits up for fandoms, content creators, small websites, blogs, and small news outlets.
ARTICLE 11, IF PASSED, WILL

 

Make It Harder To Utilise News In Your Content; 

  • It creates broad rights of ownership in terms of news and other information. The rights will be territorial and they will stack which means you could face a spaghetti junction of copyright and ownership red tape before you ever get to discuss, dissemble, or report news on a small scale.

 

Make News And Blogging Pay To Play;

  • The huge onslaught of rights for established players would send transaction costs through the roof. Permissions would need to be sought for pretty much any usage.
  • Using the smallest part of press coverage, unless its for private use, would see you running into a paywall.
  • Small news outlets will be priced out of business, as will informal news blogs.

 

Help Big News Will Again

  • The pay-to-win dynamics mentioned above will likely make existing power imbalances worse. 
  • Photographers, citizen journalists, freelancers, and non-institutional creators will be priced out of business.

 

Furthermore, a collective of 169 European Academics (two thirds of which are full professors) found that Article 11 actually provides no protection from fake news and there is “no sound economic case” for its introduction.

 

ARTICLE 13, IF PASSED, WILL

Make Coding Utter Hell; 

  • One of the most contested parts of Article 13 involves the idea of mandatory content filtering via “censorship machines”. These have caused concerns for reasons of privacy, free speech, and doubts about their actual effectiveness… However, it’s the effect on small software developers that could be really catastrophic.
  • Abby Vollmera discussed how this will be a nightmare for code-sharing platforms which operate on the basis that creators want to share their code.
  • Now, false positives are likely for these filters anyway, but with code it becomes much more likely. Requiring code share platforms to automatically scan and remove “offending” code will drastically impact software developers.

 

No Parodies, No remixes, No Memes

  • With the definition of rights becoming so broad, so vague, and so changeable from country to country there’s a very high chance that remixes, parodies, and memes will be put at risk.
  • Such user generated content could be seen as a breach of copyright and make those who create and share it at risk of losing it suddenly, or even in the path of legal action.

 

So, What’s The Tea?

If you create, share, enjoy, or otherwise follow non-mainstream news, fanart, memes, creator content, or you want to include links in your personal blog you should be paying attention.

 

You could find yourself on the wrong side of the paywall very, very soon.

 

What You Can Do:

Resources; 

Official Documentation

Academic Break Down of Article 11

GitHubs Take On Article 13 For Coders

A Break Down Of Article 13

Simple Overview Of The Issue

Open Letters Discussing The Issue Sensibly

FAQs

 

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