Last week, the European Parliament rejected the controversial copyright law.
Against the law = 318
For the law = 278
Abstentions = 31
The European Union copyright law is a set of directives that the member nations must include in their national law. However, the article 13 of this set of law proved to be controversial. It was believed article 13 threatened the idea for a continuation of the free, healthy and open internet. With this article, critics see the freedom of speech and creativity at risk. The article states that all the major online platforms have to filter the content that any user posts on their website for copyright infringement. According to Article 13, upload filters must be used by major platforms such as YouTube, Wikipedia etc. to check if the content uploaded to them by the users are infringing on any copyrights.
In simple words, the content uploaded on the websites are checked against a database of copyrighted materials and if they match then the website would have to block the content or either remove the copyrighted portion.
This will cause a major issue to parodies and memes. Memes and parodies have some original content in them, but the new filter will not be able to recognise the type of the content and will block the content directly.
One of the major criticism the law is facing is, how will the filter differentiate between fair use and unfair use? If someone wants to publish a biography, would that lead to copyright infringement? Also, what if there’s copyrighted content in the background of a video. Not just this, major problems arise in the live stream. How will a moderator successfully monitor a video, which is life?
The article was pitted by the Beatles legend, Paul McCartney. He received support from various celebrities such as David Quetta and Annie Lennox. There are various reasons why the content creators have come up with this law, one of them is giving back the control to the mainstream media. If we see the viewership of various channels we can understand it more clearly. Fox News has a viewership of 1.3 million viewers followed by MSNBC with 1 million views followed by CNN with 700 thousand views. Now, “The Young Turds” (an online news channel), Steven Crowder (a news hybrid program), Mark Dice (Mocks CNN and MSNBC) all of them have a subscriber base of at least a million each. But all these channels rely on the snapshots of top news channels, quotes from different articles, videos of the news station. All these channels have a high number of subscribers and are earning revenue without putting in the effort that top news channels do.
Another reason for people to support this law is to control free speech, over the years, the nature of politics in Europe has taken a sharp turn. There’s an increase in the number of right-leaning thinkers. This sudden rise is due to the impact of alternative media. These right-leaning activists tend to be believers in values that oppose the founding principles of the European Union. Values that believe in a small community and a small government. This is a direct attack on the power of the European Union. If the European Union can tame this alternative media, the rise of these right-leaning thinkers can be stopped. By the European Union copyright law, the European Union can stop this growth.
While many celebrities support the law, there are many who don’t. Around 70 leading figures from the Tech Industry, signed a petition against the law. The famous signatories include the founder of the World Wide Web, Tim-Berners-Lee. The founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales has also been actively commentating on the negative effects of the law. He believes that this law will forever change the internet that we see today. As a sign of protest, Wikipedia was shut down in around 6 member countries of the European Union.
Julia Reda described this phenomenon as “start-up killer”. The filters will be so complicated that it could be designed by only tech giants, as this filters will be complicated the cost of the filters will also increase. Small start-ups will have to acquire this program from the tech giants and with the increased cost, chances are they will not be to afford it.
Due to this law, the flow of information could face a hit. It will massively impact how the world sees the internet today. With this battle between the internet giants, internet freedom groups and the content creators, it will be the common folk, who will be affected. With no memes, parodies, this law would have made the internet a less fun place to be.
Written by- Shriniket Vichare