Article 13: What It Means For The European Union

Ione Dellos, Staff Writer

Article 13, a new E.U. rule which is supposed to challenge the power of tech giants, has recently received lots of media attention. The new law makes websites responsible for ensuring that content uploaded to their platforms doesn’t breach copyright, and the E.U. says the newly passed legislation is about making “copyright rules fit for the modern era.”


What is it?

Article 13 makes websites, like YouTube and Twitter, responsible for ensuring that content uploaded to their platforms doesn’t breach copyright. The updates will become law once the E.U. member states enshrine the rules in legislation in their own countries. Some websites and companies are exempt from the law, such as Wikipedia, cloud storage services, and software development companies like Github.


While Article 13 is a step in the right direction for issues such as copyright violations and pirating, which can run rampant in today’s modern age, it is a bit excessive in some areas. For example, the lawmakers behind it say that it will help regulate tech giants like Youtube and Google by forcing them to pay for content, but critics say it will do the opposite and hurt smaller businesses and websites instead.


Not to mention, European users are being banned from r/dankmemes on the popular social media sharing website, Reddit. There has been a public outcry on social media from European citizens in E.U., claiming that they can’t post or share memes without them being removed. This is very odd because Article 13 takes effect in 2021, so bots shouldn’t be filtering out memes quite yet.


European tech companies will have to learn to work around additional layers of regulations, which may drive some to the US or other countries with less restrictive laws. Social media websites will have a management nightmare on their hands, for companies are now fully responsible for making sure no copyrighted or unlicensed material is posted. Websites and forums where people can freely post text, images, videos, and memes, will need to be especially careful moving forward; though some companies might just pull the plug, which can be easier than trying to adapt to new laws.


It may seem disheartening now, but legal action is sure to dog the E.U. over the controversial ruling. A social media firestorm, including now-banned memes about the ruling, has been ablaze since citizens in E.U. nations caught wind of it, but the recent passing of Article 13 has fanned the flames. Legal challenges in national and E.U. courts will most likely appear in the near future, so all we can do right now is wait and see what happens.