Yesterday (26th March 2019), Article 13 was passed by the European Parliament. A while back, we wrote an article that I think many of you would have agreed with (or at least seemed to agree with at the time). Unfortunately, it appears that our battle for Article 13 to be denied has been, temporarily in vein. Whilst we can only speculate what this means for the future, here are some of the facts that we know of so far.
What Is Article 13
Article 13 is a highly controversial bill that was set out by the European Parliament, in a bid to try and control copyright laws in a more meaningful way. This was, presumably, in a bid to prevent websites from being able to host copyrighted content illegally. However, Article 13 has had staunch opposition from a lot of reputable figures on the internet, including Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales and indeed from YouTube.
People were opposed to the bill the moment it was announced, as it was a sharp removal from the internet we’re currently used to. I too am quite against the idea, as it means that I too would be affected as I built our new website. One of the core features would have been a forum which would have allowed our readers to be able to engage with us and one another, along with images. Couple this with our profile system (which took a production hit due to GDPR changes), this just isn’t looking possible under our current knowledge of Article 13.
The questions at the vote were (effectively):
- Keeping the Copyright Directive
- 348 MEPs voted to keep the Directive as is, to 274 MEPs (Rejecting the Directive)
- Considering changes to the Copyright Directive
- This was ruled out, 217 (Not considering changes) to 212 (Considering changes), a mere 5 vote difference.
There have been a lot of articles about this in a short timeframe and I don’t want to add hope, nor remove hope prematurely. The BBC wrote that memes wouldn’t be affected, which is probably because they would count Memes as parody, which is exempt from the bill. However, that doesn’t mean people aren’t rightfully concerned. Content filters would likely need to be put in place, from big websites to much smaller ones (like our own). A content filter would, unlikely, be able to detect parody laws like that.
It’s still early days, I didn’t want to write a lot about the subject, as there is a lot of information to come out in the coming days. All I can suggest is you check out Julia Reda’s insightful article on the subject of what will be voted on in yesterday’s vote, as she has written out what should happen if the bill is passed through the European Parliament. If you’d like a place to vent about the situation, feel free to vent in the comments, or over on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
Keep your eyes peeled, folk. I’m sure there’s a lot of information to follow.