The European Parliament has voted to approve the controversial Article 13 digital copyright reforms, which promise to make internet platforms liable for the user-generated content published on their sites. This would produce wide-ranging changes, for example requiring YouTube to remove unlicensed content or obtain different kinds of licenses.
The measure has provoked some divisions between major industries, with representatives of the music industry predominantly in favor of the article while the tech lobby has expressed serious objections.
On the one hand, PPL CEO Peter Leathem has explained the measure as “a key opportunity to close legislative loopholes to ensure that creators’ rights are respected and properly remunerated. It’s vital that UK MEPs back these sensible proposals.”
On the other hand, YouTube chief business officer Robert Kyncl had spoken strongly against the measure:
“The open internet… has given anyone with an idea the ability to share their passion, find fans all over the world and build a business. … some parts of the proposal under consideration – and in particular the part known as Article 13 – potentially undermine this creative economy, discouraging or even prohibiting platforms from hosting user-generated content.”
The EU Copyright Directive will be far-reaching, and its final vote will take place in January 2019 (it is expected to pass). Its implementation will be the responsibility of individual EU member states who can vary on their interpretation of its dictates, creating an increasingly complex terrain for tech giants to navigate for years to come.