Article 13 approaching Google

Article 13 Passes European Union Parliament

The European Union did an oopsie…

Article 13, as you guys know from September 12th, got approved. That is right everyone, press “F” for European Union! However, what did Article 13 actually say?

People were saying that they will restrict content in the EU for everyone, who uploads and whatever you can access and there will be a crazy LINK TAX for sharing links (what a great idea). So, what really Article 13 means hasn’t really been clear, until now, when YouTube’s CEO, Susan Wojcicki, spoke out in a blog post published a few days ago. It doesn’t look good (it looks like I’ll be moving to India… and you as well).

For those who don’t know, Article 13 is a legislation crated by the EU parliament with the intent to protect copyright for everyone and protect your content online. It has a good intention, but the way it’s written threatens anyone uploading on major platforms and people accessing content on these platforms. Basically, you won’t be able to upload any content that you don’t own 100%. I’m going to be out of work soon…

Now, this passed in September and it is very confusing. We get these crazy articles saying that the man behind EU’s copyright law is surprised by what’s in the proposal, unaware of what exactly he voted for. To be clear, he knows what he’s voting for. The problem is that people are interpreting what the law means differently. However, Susan Wojcicki said in the blog post that they support the goals of Article 13, but they say:

The parliament’s approach to it is unrealistic (…) copyright holders often disagree on who owns the content and YouTube cannot really take responsibility for that.

So they’re just not going to host the content. As an example, they bring up Despacito, because apparently this song contains multiple copyright infringements. They’re basically saying that no company would take this financial risk. It just wouldn’t be worth for YouTube to do host this type of content, so they would just block it. YouTube said that they’ve had taken steps already to address copyright infringement:

Content ID provides the best solution.

…and I can’t believe I supported Content ID, because it’s awful. They’re also saying that YouTube would be forced to block millions of videos existing and new ones in the European Union. It would drastically limit the content that can be upload to the platform in Europe.

Basically they’re saying that, when this rule passes, we’re just going to block the content. So, these are some pretty scary and dire consequences. It’s not just for people uploading, is also people watching. I was looking around and I saw a lot of artists supporting Article 13:

James Blunt: My name is James Blunt. I’ve been so lucky to be able to make music, but the next generation of artists coming through need to get a better deal when their music is used online. I believe we need a world where the effort and creativity that goes into making music is rewarded fairly and that’s why the proposals in Europe are so important to performers and songwriters who are trying to make a living and build a career in music.

Can someone explain to me what is the problem that so desperately needs to be fixed for creators? Even have people like Paul McCartney signing an open letter to the European Parliament endorsing Article 13, saying:

Music and culture matter. They are our heart and soul. But they just don’t happen: they demand the hard work of so many people.

What’s the issue that is Article 13 solving? If it’s so important, at least that message should be clear. You can look at Frequently Asked Questions on the EU website and they don’t answer this question. It is just very vaguely describing nothing: more cross-border access for citizens to copyright protected content online, fair rules of the game for a better functioning copyright marketplace which stimulates creation of high quality content. What game are you talking about? What high quality content? What does this mean?

The Commission is not banning MEMEs:

Characters or any reuse of content allowed under exceptions or limitation to copyright (…) characters of parody and pastiche are protected.

While I am not supposed to give my own personal opinion, I don’t trust you, EU Parliament, to define what a meme is. I just don’t I don’t trust anyone over 50 to tell me what’s the best for the internet ecosystem. The thing that worries me is what, as an example, happened in Spain a few years ago: an article similar to Article 11, which was also very bad, was introduced into Spain and it said that Google had to pay for new segregation, but Google just decided to shut down Google News in Spain. So, if you live in Spain, you can’t use Google News, because of this law that was added. It worries me, because I think they’re just going to do the same thing. YouTube now, instead of figuring out whatever it is, they’re saying we’re just going to shut down the whole thing.

Google is saying we’re just going to have to nuke everything. This is deeply concerning. I guess I’m going to move to India.


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