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European Union Controversial Copyright Law Approved

After being approved by the European Union Parliament in September 2018, the controversial Copyright laws have been approved by the member countries themselves. The vote was 19 for, 6 against, and 3 abstaining from the vote. It means that Article 11 and Article 13 of the law will have to go into effect across all 28 EU countries within two years.

The approved Copyright Directive, which can be found here, is broad in its scope but there are two articles, 11 and 13, that are the crux of the concern about the law.  Article 11 deals with what many are referring to as the “link tax”.   The article is aimed to protect the copyright of content on websites.  Under this article, websites would have the right to demand license fees from any other site quoting its material.  While fair sounding, the approach was similarly tried in Spain and it had a massive impact on newspaper sites before it was abandoned.

Google News is likely to be the most impacted by the passing of Article 11.

Article 13 is aimed at social media platforms that would require them to prevent users fro sharing copyrighted material.  What this would mean is that sites would have to proactively detect copyright video content before it is made available to the public.  This, clearly, impacts YouTube directly but if enforced to the highest, most draconian level, could impact the likes of Facebook and Twitter too.  That level would be the blocking of GIFs or memes of images but that isn’t strictly called out in the directive.

Open source sites such as Wikipedia and Github would be exempt from this new law should it pass.

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