Back in September we reported on the new European Copyright Directive which was backed by EU lawmakers. The articles can be read here and here. The new legislation aims to protect creators by allowing them to charge those who are copying their work online.
Prior to the legislation being backed by EU lawmakers, the draft legislation had caused much controversy and saw artists and creators alike pitted against companies such as YouTube and Facebook. Where the legislation aims to protect creators of copyright protected material it puts a burden on internet streaming companies that will now have to install technological filters which will identify copyright protected work being uploaded illegally on their sites at the point of upload. Currently, websites such as YouTube, which may host copyright infringing material but do not produce it, are not liable for that infringement in damages. The new legislation removes this protection and places a responsibility on websites such as YouTube to implement measures to prevent the availability of protectable works.
This coming year, YouTube, the giant internet streaming company that hosts memes, film reviews and video game playthroughs will feel the effects of the new legislation most. Prior to the legislation being backed, YouTube argued that it would have to create "upload filters" which would block potentially infringing content as it is being uploaded. This potential measure has angered the YouTube community and the many thousands of people who rely on the platform as a source of income. YouTube, and YouTubers, are concerned that such "upload filter" technology will lead to the algorithmic filtering of content with broad results.
There is also confusion as to how the EU Directive will work alongside the American Fair Use Act. The Act protects works which use copyright protected material for purposes such as parody, criticism and research. While EU lawmakers have argued that the Directive will make exceptions for fair use, YouTube are concerned that its "upload filter" technology will not be able to identify fair use copyright from copyright infringement.
Many YouTubers have created content explaining what the changes will mean for the site, whether this will have any impact on the final vote on the Directive in Spring of this year, we will have to wait and see.
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