The European Union Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, to use its full name, is designed to limit how copyrighted content is shared on platforms such as: YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. The EU directives are a form of legislation that of which set a precedent for member states to follow, and are most known by the most controversial segment, Article 13.
The Directive on Copyright and Article 13 has been subjected to global criticism, and warned that it will have a detrimental impact for creators online. However, others argue that the Directive on Copyright and Article 13 will make it easier for artists and journalists to obtain revenue.
YouTube’s current system, Content ID, gives copyright owners the right to claim ownership of content on YouTube, but is widely unpopular due to its propensity for abuse.
Despite push back, the Directive on Copyright and Article 13 has been passed by EU regulators, and now, it will have to be implemented by the individual countries within the Union.
So, What is Article 13?
This article states that “online content sharing service providers and right holders shall cooperate in good faith in order to ensure that unauthorized protected works or other subject matter are not available on their services.” Essentially, any website or social platform that hosts large amounts of user-generated content are responsible for taking down that copyright.
The final version of the proposal document has renumbered Article 13 as Article 17.
Article 17 is infamously dubbed the “meme ban”, but why exactly is it a threat to memes?
Supporters of the legislation argue that memes, images that are based on copyrighted images, are protected as parodies, and won’t be targeted… but many counter-argue that automated filters implemented by these now-required platforms, won’t be able to distinguish between memes and other copyrighted material.
Regardless, memes and gifs will most likely remain in the line of fire.
Just recently, Article 13 has been passed by the European Parliament, so now it will be up to EU’s member states to enact Article 13 and the Copyright Directive. Each country can decide whether “upload filters” should be implemented, or if there should be another way to achieve their objective.