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Confused about Article 13?

Article 13 was just passed by the European Parliament.


What is Article 13?

Article 13, (or the full title: DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on copyright in the Digital Single Market) is the European Union’s attempt to improve copyright law and hold content-hosting websites legally responsible for what they host. This means that websites like YouTube will have a legal responsibility to act on copyrighted content.

Issues arise from this when you realise that more than 300 hours of footage is uploaded to YouTube every second. YouTube already has its Content ID system, an automatic method of detecting copyrighted material, so it can adapt this and it should be okay. Unlike now, it will just be legally responsible for doing this.

Smaller websites may find this more difficult as they lack the methods to automatically scan new content. Livestream sites like Twitch will also have to come up with methods to automatically detect copyrighted content on-the-fly as it is streamed.


Will Brexit resolve this for UK citizens?

Probably not. After we eventually leave the EU, EU laws will all be rewritten into UK law, and then probably passed by Parliament. Article 13, or its UK version, will therefore still apply to UK citizens and websites hosted here too.


Is it really that bad?

Well, it depends. We’ll need to see how the EU enforces these rules. Content-hosting sites are understandably worried, but it’s unlikely to be as bad as some have said. Some videos and images may be blocked to EU viewers, or sites like YouTube could remove copyrighted portions of a video rather than the entire video itself.

In fact, for content creators it could be considered good news as their work will be better protected.

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