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The Official Blog from | 2018

Key Points about the EU Copyright Directive

posted on 14/09/2018

Earlier this week, the European Parliament approved amendments to a controversial Copyright Directive that intended to address and update copyright for the Internet age.

While the law is far from being changed just yet, it is paving the way for new legislation to come into law and penalties for those who break it.

One of the main areas the new Copyright Directive addresses, is content being shared online without permission of the owner that will hold platform holders responsible. We're all no doubt familiar with YouTube's Content-ID system that has a database of music to check and match against when content is being uploaded online. If a song is matched, the copyright owner of the song has the right to monetize or block that content.

This isn't such a bad thing, as it does prevent copyrighted work from being used to profit without the artists permission or compensation. However, the system is far from perfect and matches can often either be erroneous, incorrect or wrongly claimed forcing the content creators to trudge through disputes and counter-claims just to get their content online.

One method to avoid such copyright issues on YouTube is licensing royalty free music from a production music library. This is music designed specifically for online use and monetisation and is usually a one-time fee for lifetime usage.

The new EU Copyright Directive will go several steps further, blanketing ALL online content including photo and video, even if being used for parody, humour or general sharing. What this could potentially mean is, you won't be able to share anything on a platform without it first being cleared by the content creator. This means that platforms like Facebook and Twitter will need to incorporate super powerful filters to scan uploaded content and check it against a database of content before allowing you to share it. The task to achieve that itself would be seemingly massive. But should this new Copyright Directive go through, these platforms would be liable for breach of copyright if they did not enforce such filters.

Previously, user-submitted content was not the responsibility of the platform to vet for copyright ownership.

This also reaches wider to content like Blogs. For example, a Blog about music studios that shares photos of music studios, equipment and instruments for uses to view and compare could have their source of content removed because they do not have the express permission from the photographer or owner of each image. At the moment, it's common practice that if you use an image, you credit the source and if asked to remove it by the owner, you do. The new EU Copyright Directive could essentially prevent you from using it in the first place.

This doesn't just apply to content creators running YouTube channels or Blogs. Average Internet users that create humorous photos and images, such as MEMEs and GIFs would also be affected.

MEMEs are humorous image-based content that can be become popular and viral. They are often entirely amateur made, using existing elements of pop-culture, or a crude still from a video or photo. If any of the content used in that image matches the copyright database, it seemingly won't be allowed to be shared.

GIFs are animated images, often taken from a scene in a movie or TV show that illustrate a mood or emotion. If the EU Copyright Directive comes into law, a movie studio can blanket ban ANY use of their movie, whether as video, image or GIF.

In short, it will be apply massive pressure to platforms to regulate their user's content or be held responsible for any breaches made on their platform. For users, it may make the Internet a much less entertaining space...

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