How The New European Copyright Laws Will Negatively Affect The Internet

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Europe has taken its first step to take their offline tyranny and apply it to the Internet as the Council of the European Union approved the controversial copyright directive containing the infamous Draft Article 11 (now Article 15) and Draft Article 13 (now Article 17 of the directive). This means that platform providers now must censor their users or face fines from the EU.

Copyright Directive

The directive requires platform providers like Google and Facebook to monitor the uploads of their users. If one user uploads even just a quote, for example, that can be ground for a violation because even quotes can now be considered as “unauthorized content.” If you’re a blogger living in the EU you know just how bad this is, because most of your content is likely based on other content. A political blogger, for example, may not be able to upload content with quotes or small videos excerpts without the permission of the people holding the copyright for that content. This law is the most devastating one the world is currently facing especially when copyright trolls exist already in real life and in YouTube.

To give you an example of how bad this is, try writing a blog post about this topic without quoting this or any article released about this topic. And any similarities in writing will be considered as a quote. You’ll find out that you have only so many ways to shape your words in such a way that it won’t look like you’re quoting someone. And the more people write about it the more it is impossible not to quote an article.

More Harm

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The directive, however, is doubly harmful when copyright trolls are included in the mix. Copyright trolls are people who would obtain the legal rights to something, like a patent, and would charge people with a ridiculous amount if they’re using that patent. In YouTube, some people would claim copyright to popular materials on the Internet that were produced by content creators, thereby demonetizing the rightful content creators. EU’s copyright law will just embolden the copyright trolls’ efforts into unlawfully claiming copyright they have no rights over.

Right now, the EU forced the Internet to cross a line that might mean the end for innovation and free speech on the Internet. It doesn’t matter where you live. As there are no national boundaries on the Internet, a person from China quoting anyone from Europe is already violating the new copyright law. Google and other Internet platforms could just follow the EU and strengthen their censorship, even against people that align with their ideologies. Or they can just make their services unavailable to Europe because as platform providers will soon learn, it will be hard for content creators and users to do anything with the laws in place.


Image Source: Pixabay

There seems to be no going back from this. Every other news outlet is treating this as a lost cause, to the point where only Engadget and TechNewsWorld seem to be the only ones who reported it after it was approved by the Council of the European Union last April. Not even bloggers are making any stink, likely because they’re now afraid that anything they might say can be used later against them. The next step is that the nations under the EU will be creating laws that will is based on the directive. Each country will likely have their own interpretation and flavor of it. But no matter where you are in the EU, if you’re into blogging, you’ll be hit hard by this law. Freedom of speech is threatening to die in the EU.