Article 13: The end of the internet as we know it?

Katie Dodshon

Katie Dodshon

April 10 • 3 minute read

Article 13 part of the new EU Copyright Directive which aims to make copyright rules fit specifically into the digital era. The article was passed earlier this week and has proved to be rather controversial to say the least…

This part of the Copyright Directive focuses on how online content sharing services should deal with copyright protected content.

Article 13 states that content sharing services must license copyright protected material from the holders. If this is not achieved, the content sharing site could be held liable.

In theory, the bill makes sense as it can hold companies , however this could prove difficult for content sharing platforms such as YouTube. Abiding by Article 13 could mean that companies like this would need to license every piece of material incase users of their site decide to use it. The article doesn’t specifically state that content sharing services should filter what users are uploading however it seems as though they won’t be left with much choice but to do so.

Now that the boring legal technicalities are out the way, we can now discuss the question on everyones lips… What does this mean for MEMES?

Theoretically, if meme content is copyrighted, Article 13 could possibly kill the Meme Era. Content sharing services will be forced to take down such content from their sites, meaning there will be nowhere to access those, dare we say, harmless, pieces of content.

But just how far will the laws go with this? A lot of sites who provide a sharing service have a wide range of users who post a wide range of content. How far will the laws go to police the use of copyrighted content?

Concerns lie for gaming YouTubers who re-post themselves playing games onto their channels. Will this mean channels like this can no longer exist? We are curious to find out just how far these laws will go and how content sharing services will enforce these laws on their platforms.

The new copyright laws and Article 13 of these in particular could potentially change the internet as we know it. Who can imagine an online world without memes, vines and everything in between? Not us… Let us know your thoughts!

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