The final Article 13 will hurt, not help European creators. Important update why #SaveYourInternet isn’t over.

Many of you have been following along with or involved in the EU Copyright Directive (Article 13). Recently, European lawmakers agreed on a final text.

Let’s start with the positive. The latest text is an improvement over the version adopted by the European Parliament in September 2018. Platforms making a good effort to help rights holders identify and protect works should not face liability for every piece of content a user uploads, especially when neither the rightsholder nor the platform specifically knows who actually owns that content. The final text includes language that recognizes that principle.

At the same time, the directive fails to clearly outline requirements for how rights holders should cooperate to identify their content. Instead, it introduces vague, untested requirements that could be imposed on well-meaning platforms, content creators and rights holders. This will likely result in online services over-blocking content to limit legal risk.

Additionally, the text is unclear on:

  1. what kind of content platforms like YouTube need to have licenses for - e.g. images, paintings, photos, etc. Given that is unclear, there's no way to be 100 percent certain whether all the rights are covered at the moment of upload.
  2. potential new legal liabilities and responsibilities for creators.

The text will go back to the European Parliament for a final vote as early as March 12th. It will then be interpreted and implemented by each country in the EU over the next 1-2 years.

What you can do: Reach out to Members of Parliament in advance of the March vote to express your concerns.

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  • More questions? Read the FAQs.

    1. What is Article 13?

      • Article 13 is one part of a proposed European Union (EU) copyright legislation created with the intent to better protect creativity and find effective ways for copyright holders to protect their content online. (Official text here).
      • To be clear, we support the goals of Article 13 and its push to help creators and artists succeed; we want more effective ways for copyright holders to protect their content. But Article 13, as written by the European Parliament, will create large unintended consequences for everyone, so we’re asking to find a better way forward.
    2. What’s the status of Article 13?

      • On September 12th the European Parliament voted to move forward with Article 13.
      • However, Article 13 is not yet a law. The language is being drafted and revised in EU’s trilogue negotiations between representatives from the European Commission, Parliament and Council.
      • This language could be finalized by the end of the year, and EU member states may have up to two years to make the directive into national law.
    3. What changes with Article 13?

      • The proposed version of Article 13 would eliminate the existing notice-and-takedown system currently in place to protect rightsholders and platforms. This would make platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Soundcloud, Dailymotion, Reddit and Snapchat liable - at the moment of upload - for any copyright infringement in uploads from users, creators and artists.
      • This in turn would mean that platforms including YouTube would be forced to block the vast majority of uploads from Europe and views in Europe for content uploaded elsewhere given the uncertainty and complexity of copyright ownership (more on this below).
    4. What would be the impact if the European Parliament version of Article 13 passes?

      • The risks associated with accepting content uploads with partial or disputed copyright information would be far too large for platforms such as YouTube.
      • As a result, YouTube would be forced to block millions of videos (existing and new ones) in the European Union. It could drastically limit the content that one can upload to the platform in Europe.
      • Creators would be especially hard hit. Videos that could be blocked include: educational videos (from channels such as Kurzgesagt in Germany and C.G.P. Grey in the UK), a large number of official music videos (like Despacito from Luis Fonsi or Mafioso from Lartiste), fan music covers, mashups, parodies and more.
      • As such, Article 13 threatens hundreds of thousands of jobs, European creators, businesses, artists and everyone they employ.
    5. What does this mean for me as a YouTube creator or artist in the European Union?

      • YouTube and other platforms may have no choice but to block your existing videos and prevent you from uploading new ones in the European Union unless you can prove you own everything in your videos (including visuals and sounds).
    6. What does this mean for me as a YouTube creator or an artist NOT in the European Union?

      • YouTube and other platforms will likely block your videos (including existing ones) to users in the European Union if there is partial or disputed copyright information.
    7. What types of copyrighted content would I not be able to use in my videos?

      • Examples of copyrighted material possibly impacted in your videos include images, artwork, software, excerpts from books, music, parodies and much more. (Read more here).
    8. Why aren’t copyright matching tools like Content ID enough?

      • With Article 13 as currently written, copyright matching tools like Content ID wouldn't help platforms such as YouTube to keep content on the platform.
      • Content ID works if rightsholders use it and provide clarity as to what belongs to them. However, in many cases information on copyright ownership is missing, or there is partial knowledge, meaning that no system could accurately identify full copyright information at the point of upload.
      • Put simply, a piece of content with partial or unknown ownership is - to YouTube - treated the same as a piece of content that is unlicensed and so would have to be blocked.
    9. Is there a better way forward with Article 13?

      • Yes! We’re asking lawmakers to find a better balance we all need to protect against copyright violations and still enable European users, creators and artists to share their voices online. In order to do that, we need a system where both platforms and rightsholders collaborate.
      • What this means in reality is three things:
        • Rightsholders should work with platforms to identify the content they own, so the platforms know what is protected under copyright and can give rightsholders control to block if they choose.
        • Platforms should only be held liable for content identified to them using tools like Content ID or through notice and takedown.
        • Platforms and rightsholders should negotiate in good faith where licenses and rights can be easily identified
    10. What can I do to help find a better way forward with Article 13?

      • European representatives are still working on the final version of Article 13 and there is time to work together towards a better path forward.
      • The European policymakers involved in negotiating Article 13 need to hear and see that real people could be negatively impacted if Article 13 goes into effect as written by the Parliament! That’s why we need you and your fans to make your voice heard now by:
        • Making a video about Article 13
        • Tweeting about Article 13 with the hashtag #SaveYourInternet
        • Joining the movement at change.org
    11. What’s up with other players? Is YouTube alone in this fight?

    12. Which countries would be directly impacted by Article 13?

      • All member states of the EU: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland,Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK (at least for now, here’s more about Brexit).
    13. One last thing. What are common misunderstandings about Article 13?

      • Read about 6 myths on Article 13 here.