Article 13: what it means for content creators

Last month, the European Parliament voted in favour of Article 13. Its full names is the European Union Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. EU member states (including the UK) now have two years to implement the rules.

What are the changes?

These controversial changes require online platforms that host user-generated content to take ownership for copyrighted material being shared on their sites. Websites such as Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Twitch will need to ensure all content uploaded to their sites are completely protected. If not, they must pay the rightful copyright owner or take the content down immediately.

This means websites and online platforms will pay the price of copyright fraud, not the user who committed the copyright infringement.

To avoid breaking the law, YouTube and Twitch have said they will impose restrictions for European users. This includes blocking access to certain channels.

What does this mean for creators?

Article 13 is designed to protect creators from copyright infringement. Antonio Tajani, the president of the European Parliament, said the vote would “put an end to the existing digital Wild West by establishing modern rules.”

But critics argue that the legislation risks infringing on freedom of speech and having a negative impact on online creators.

YouTube said that it remained “concerned” that Article 13 could have “unintended consequences that may harm Europe’s creative and digital economy”. Google said it would “harm Europe’s creative and digital industries”.

The good news is that memes and GIFs are exempt from Article 13 if they are used “for purposes of quotation, criticism, review, caricature, parody and pastiche.”

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