What is Article 13?
EU copyright directive, Article 13. Probably everyone already knows what it is, but just in case – it’s a copyright directive that wants to protect creators and their content. It does seem like a great thing, as unique content will be protected against mass copying. However, Article 13 is just a twisted definition of content ban, as the various material is going to be protected against copyright infringement. This means that any content that will have music, movie, video game content or any content will have to be filtered, or the uploaders of say, video game reviews will have to provide a license of the said material.
Parodies, reviews, overview videos and similar content that uses content created by someone else will most probably not pass the possible filters, therefore will not be reached. The Internet quickly gave Article 13 another name – “meme ban”, as most, jokingly at first, said that all memes will be banned due to this EU Article.
What will Article 13 do?
A lot of websites that are based on creative user content (like YouTube, Reddit, Twitch and similar websites) have been extremely against this copyright directive for dozens of reasons:
- Platforms that host copyrighted content will be held responsible. These platforms will have to buy licenses for content as to not infringe the law.
- The platforms will most likely have to take action and just ban the copyrighted content entirely, as censorship or upload filters will be difficult to install, not to say difficult to maintain.
- Platforms like Twitch could make itself not available in the EU region just to avoid any possible infringement. We wrote about what streamers should about it here.
- YouTube will have to take down a lot of its content or restrict Europeans from reaching and watching certain videos.
- Dozens of Reddit’s meme subreddits will most probably be banned in the EU.
- Many creators will not be able to share their content or will have to stop making it entirely.
- A lot of European Internet users will turn to VPN services to change their virtual location and pretend that they’re in the US or any other country outside the EU.
How does Article 13 affect the US and the EU?
Most Americans just shrug at the Article 13, as it doesn’t really concern them, while the Europeans wait in terror for the Article 13 to pass. Though what it means to everyone is that certain content will not be available, a lot of content will be filtered or banned and most creators will probably stop creating content entirely. Have a favorite game reviewer who is European? Want to see dank memes on Reddit from Europe? Well, tough luck.
When will article 13 take effect?
Final Article 13 vote will take place in March/April, most likely March 25-28, April 4 or April 15-18. These are the dates when the Members of the European Parliament will have to vote. It’s already frightening how the Article 13 already reached the agreement and now just needs a final vote, however, there are still ways to stop it.
5 ways to protest Article 13
The best and the most direct way is to seek out your country’s representatives and contact them, encouraging them to vote against Article 13. A website dedicated to fight this strict copyright directive #SaveYourInternet has been extremely active and made a list of countries, their Members of the European Parliament and their voting behaviour based on similar directives. The SaveYourInternet not only gives you tips on how to write a respectful email as to why the said member should vote against Article 13, but also gives you an email draft and emails of the said representatives.
Stop the #CensorshipMachine
Sign a record breaking petition against the Copyright Directive – the petition has already gathered the most signatures in European history and it won’t stop anytime soon. It’s easy to sign and the petition already gathered about 5 million signatures. This is another way to show the Members of the European Parliament that you want to preserve Internet, information and creative freedom. You can sign the petition here.
CreateRefresh is a website created to fight and stand against various restrictive filters. It encourages to join the creators across Europe and create as well as upload content, to show how it will impact their ability to document, parody, reference, mix content if the EU passes the copyright law. This movement is to defend creator right to create and inspire. Read more about CreateRefresh on their website.
Join public protests
Mostly, the protests against Article 13 take place in Germany, as this country is one of the most vocal against this copyright directive. The protests seem to attract a pretty big crowd and continue to rise in numbers as well as people joining them, making thousands to march in the streets. Europe-wide protests are planned to take place on 23rd of March (according to European Digital Rights) with maps showcasing the place of protests and where to gather in certain cities that are joining the protest.
Support those who are fighting against Article 13
- Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders and over 140 organisations wrote an open letter to oppose the copyright directive.
- Wikipedia added banners that encourage Wikipedia users to contact their European Parliament representatives.
- YouTube has been the most vocal when criticizing Article 13 and promoted opposition to its users and creators. It’s been heavily promoting “#saveyourinternet” movement, as the directive threatens creativity and thousands of creators and artists. YouTube’s CEO Susan Wojcicki joined the fight and wrote several blog posts, pleading users to oppose Article 13.
- Twitch’s CEO wrote a letter about Article 13, and also Twitch joined various groups and movements as well as livestreamed a couple of legislators playing Mario Kart and discussing the possible ramifications of Article 13.
- NordVPN decided to fight the said “meme ban” by hosting a still ongoing meme contest on their subreddit, encouraging Reddit users to show support and fight against Article 13 in a fun way.
- Even companies such as Facebook and Google opposed the Directive, stating that this limits the free, open and creative Internet.
Don’t let Article 13 limit or kill your online expression as well as creative freedom. Join the groups and movements against this restrictive copyright directive, support and encourage companies protesting this directive. Spread the word and raise awareness, as some still don’t understand the possible ramifications of Article 13. If Article 13 passed, it’s only a matter of time until even more restrictive copyright laws take place. It’s a step backwards that might not only ban memes, YouTube, Reddit, Twitch and more but also kill creative freedom and creative expression on the Internet.