If you’re like me, you’ve probably gone onto YouTube and at some point, you’ve seen mention of Article 13. Indeed, it’s something that’s been cropping up left right and centre recently, because it’s right at the forefront of what’s important to the internet. You and I are used to going onto a website and reading valuable critique of your favourite games, films, tv, anime and more. You can then leave your own comment in return; sharing your favourite memes in the process. This could be threatened by Article 13 with the way it’s currently drafted, which may affect the way you read websites or indeed watch your favourite YouTube content creators. If you don’t know what’s going on with Article 13, then read on for a quick article on what it is and how it affects you.
What is Article 13?
The above video is up on YouTube, along with many other videos from a lot of well known YouTubers. Article 13, in a nutshell, is in essence an attempt to fix some of how the copyright system works on the internet. It’s a way for a content creator to put the onus right back onto the website that hosts any content that any user could put up; this includes comments on websites, through to whole videos and images. In other words, if the website is a social media platform, like Facebook, they will be required to monitor every single comment, reply, “Story” and more to ensure that the users are not infringing copyright.
Anyone who has ever seen how easy it is to get a copyright strike will likely be worried; many big and small YouTubers are particularly concerned, as this is such an enormous delay. Arguably, it’d increase the amount of jobs in those companies, reviewing content left right and centre – But it does mean that the instantaneous nature of the internet as a whole would be at risk. Indeed, everything would slow down to a companies speed.
Naturally, YouTube does a better job explaining Article 13 more than me, so I’d recommend you go and check out this page for more information. As someone who is trying to build a website that encourages community, Article 13 is a terrifying prospect. It means that I’d have to monitor every little thing people put up on the site. This would, potentially, even include direct messages – Because that shared copyrighted content is something that has happened thanks to the website. That level of monitoring is what we’re quite against and in all honesty, that’s partly why we wrote this today.
One thing I saw today, was a lot of users who thought Article 13 was a good idea, basically said that this’ll stop the people who are stealing copyrighted content. That’s a fallacy; a pretty severe indictment of the lack of knowledge about what Article 13 affects. In theory, it’d stop people who are stealing copyrighted content, but it’d also hamper those who are genuine users. For every illegitimate use of copyrighted content, there is probably a legitimate use for one elsewhere. It’s fair to assume that there is a lot of stolen content out there, that much is true, but by hampering everyone and the platform, as opposed to dealing with the offenders, you’re causing delays for everyone else. We usually operate in an innocent until proven guilty country, but even with the serious connotations of Brexit, we’d still be signing on to Article 13, saying that everybody is guilty until proven innocent.
Make your voice heard. Go tell your local MPs about how bad this is. Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter. If you’re going to share this with anyone, do so with the hashtag: #saveyourinternet. Let them know that, as it is, this isn’t acceptable. Hey, if people like Tim Berners-Lee are against it, you know it’s got to be a pretty bad deal for the internet as a whole. Don’t be silenced.