Understand what the European copyright project is and what it would mean for digital strategies – WAU

Have you ever posted a post on your blog and used the image of a public figure? Or have you posted a video on your YouTube channel that shows an image of a product or brand that does not belong to you? The European copyright project could end this, posing a concern for content producers.

The European copyright project was designed to limit the way in which copyrighted content is shared on online channels. That way, he would require the platforms to filter or remove materials belonging to other companies or people.

This worries Web content producers, as it may represent a ban on blogs that show memes based on artists or characters that are protected by copyright, for example.

Therefore, the biggest criticism of the project is, precisely, the existence of digital channels that violate copyright and, supposedly, drive brand and artist revenue by using them to monetize their blogs – especially on YouTube channels.

Currently, YouTube is not responsible for copyright violations, despite removing videos and even channels when requested by the owners of such content.

Proponents of the project argue that this means that people are consuming copyrighted content without creators being properly paid for it.

Learn more about the subject below!

What is Article 11?

Article 11 intends that news aggregator sites, such as Google News, pay publishers for using excerpts from their articles. That is, the idea is that the media can obtain a fair and proportional remuneration through digital channels that publish excerpts of their original news.

It is not yet clear how this would work in practice. After all, if news content is published on a blog, for example, how to check if it was based on a news story broadcast by the press channels via the internet, newspaper, radio or television?

The article says that content channels will not have to pay if they share the links inserted in individual words, but as most links are accompanied by more words (for example: “click here to check this news”), many producers of contents could be punished.

However, the article contains an excerpt that states “legitimate, private and non-commercial use of press publications by individual users”, which creates a contradiction.

Influencers, for example, have a large following and run ads for that audience. So, would they be free from any kind of punishment while a small company whose blog still generates few visitors could be punished?

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What is Article 13?

Article 13 is the part of the European project that concerns most people. This article states that “online content sharing service providers and rights holders will cooperate in good faith to ensure that unauthorized protected works are not available on their services”.

And what does that mean? In short, any website or digital channel that produces content can be taken down if publications infringe copyright.

But things are not that simple, as it is not known how these platforms (such as website and blog servers, YouTube and other social networks, for example) should identify and remove this content.

An earlier version of the article asked platform owners to use filters that check every content they submit, to prevent any published content from infringing copyright.

Current YouTube Content ID gives copyright owners the ability to claim ownership of content that is already on YouTube. The system allows them to block the video, especially if they generate revenue via AdSense, with advertising served by it.

It is a controversial system due to its propensity for undue blocking (for example: the video of a birthday party playing children’s background music could be banned according to the article).

What are upload filters?

The final wording of Article 13 defines exactly which platforms will need upload filters and which will not. The only solution that servers hosting websites and blogs with content generated by the users themselves can adopt is to put an upload filter if they meet the following criteria:

  • the website or blog has been available for less than 3 years;
  • the website or blog has an annual turnover of less than 10 million euros;
  • the website or blog has less than 5 million unique monthly visitors.

This means that a large number of websites and blogs – and even forums or social networks – would need to install upload filters.

“Meme ban”

The reason this article has been dubbed the “meme ban” is because no one is sure whether memes used in content – which are often based on copyrighted images – will conflict with these laws.

Proponents of the legislation argue that memes are protected as parodies and therefore do not need to be removed under this guideline.

Meantime, others argue that filters will not be able to distinguish between memes and other copyrighted material, so they would end up being caught in the crossfire anyway.

What are the impacts of the European copyright project on Digital Marketing?

Although the European Parliament has approved the proposal so that it is applied in all countries of the European bloc, it has not yet been specified how its implementation will be made.

This means that each country will have to consider its own laws to make this adaptation, in addition to discussing the matter with the other components of the bloc.

This can take months. In the meantime, opponents of the article will continue to try to overthrow articles 11 and 13. According to Julia Reda, representative of the Pirate Party in the European Parliament, on July 4 this year, all European deputies should debate the matter. Depending on the decision, the articles will be sent to a final vote.

Even though it concerns Europe, the matter is of global interest. Many platforms are unique or integrated and, of course, will have to change to users around the world if they have to adapt to the new law.

Although the application of the articles occurs in Europe, the impacts on digital strategies will be global. After all, brands that serve customers from all over the world will need to adapt their Digital Marketing actions within the European continent.

In addition, if the articles are adopted by other countries outside Europe, many people and companies may suffer the consequences, and this includes everything from the posts you follow on social networks to your own website or blog.

But, while the European copyright project does not arrive here, it is important to be aware of the laws that have already been approved by the London Senate. Stay on top of the General Personal Data Protection Law by reading this post!