The EU and The End of YouTube? What is EU Article 13?

The EU recently passed a law that if it comes in with its current wording then it could mean the end to YouTube and Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more for everyone living in the EU.

EU Article 13 = Digital Dark Age?
Article 11, Article 12a and Article 13 have been written by the EU Parliament to protect digital content from copyright theft. The laws are vague, maybe so as to be adapted to suit a wider range of issue OR to be easily altered as time and technology advances.

What are these articles?

Article 11 – The Link tax. Say the BBC writes a story for their website, you click “share to facebook” and then Facebook pretty much uses 50% of the story and an image on your timeline, Article 11 wants Facebook to pay the BBC for use of their story and images. However, if Facebook took 2 lines of text and no image and primarily guided you to click a link and read the story on the BBCs website then all is good and no harm done.

Article 12a – This covers sports and sporting events, aiming to stop pirate broadcasts to protect companies like Sky, ITV and BT Sports but it could also affect you if you are at an event recording it and choose to upload that video to YouTube or other social media. So social media sites are likely to stop you from doing this.

Article 13 – Like Friday 13 but every day. The EU wants to put the responsibility, in terms of law and financial, on the the site or service, and not the creator, when a copyright is violated. So if I make parody music videos then YouTube would be the ones sued in the event of a copyright claim. If I make videos about video games and include in-game footage the same issue about copyright is apparent. If I make travel videos and use a music track over my video that I do not have the legal permission to use then if I upload that video to YouTube then they’re going to be the ones getting sued, not me. This could also be something silly like I make an instructional video how to repair a product, upload it to youtube and then the manufacturer of the item says I don’t have their permission to use their logo – YouTube are getting sued again. The main issue here is the ambiguity of the new laws might mean you can’t even quote lyrics from a song or it could be you just can’t video a film and pop it on Youtube, article 13 doesn’t tell us what we can or can’t do. The only absolute to be taken away form article 13 is that if the EU says there’s a problem then it’ll sue the service hosting the copyright protected material and not the creator. The host of the content must have 100% rights to everything included in the content, all images, all music and all permissions are assumed to be 100% owned and if not then a copyright claim is made against the service showing the content.

So what does this mean?

It means that the social media giants like Facebook and YouTube are going to do what’s in their best interest to prevent them being sued. They can either block all EU uploads, block the rest of the world from seeing content generated within the EU or get the EU to define the laws to be clearer and fairer.

It therefore might be the end of some YouTubers in the EU who earn a living from creating videos as they might not be able to upload and no one in the EU can view their videos even if they used a VPN to upload.

YouTube will likely be unable to scan all videos uploaded in real-time to check for copyright violations so they’d just block the uploads to protect their business. It could write software to do this, get more hardware to cope with demand, buy more bandwidth to get the job done faster, but who pays for that? If they took more ad revenue away from creators to pay for these changes then creators wouldn’t be getting paid at all, ad revenues are already miniscule.

Will Brexit help this? Maybe, but we don’t know until Brexit is completed and even then YouTube might just see the UK as within the Eurozone and block us anyway.

What can you do? Nothing, you can write to your MEP, sign online petitions or make videos about it, like this one, but honestly we are at the whim of a collective that over 50% of the UK chose to move away form due to their laws and ways. Right now we can just “trust” that the wording will be defined and that the law, when passed, will be fair and easy to work with for the social media giants we all use. As seems to be the case these days, the few cause mayhem and ruin things for the many. It’s about time the few were punished by the many and we spent less time trying to plicate everyone.

What do I feel about this? Well oddly enough I like it, mainly because I can control 100% of my content, either by creating it to comply with these laws or I can edit my content to be compliant before I upload it. I have had several videos copied by others and used on their channels to earn revenue I should rightfully be paid. Even the big tech companies have copied my videos to promote their products that I made videos about, despite them never paying for me to make the video, giving me products to review or even asking my permission. I pay an annual license on both my channels to use music in my videos, and where I have had a copyright strike, by showing the Tesla easter egg, I then re-edited my video to remove the copyright infringement.  However, despite all this I could be stopped from uploading to YouTube as they can’t check my videos for any copyright infringement.

Oddly enough I started making videos and sharing them online before YouTube was about. I went green-laning / off-roading and recorded the events and made videos for others to watch. I hosted the videos on my own servers, as I run a tech company it’s easy for me to do this again. Would I setup a rival to YouTube if they shut down? NO WAY, I am happily responsible for my own content but I can see where YouTube is coming from when I say I wouldn’t host anyone else’s content just in case they were not as diligent as me but I ended up being sued.  The more interesting question there is if I sold a service for people to self-host their videos then where does the law stop? If my tech company sold a service where people could then host videos, who would be liable for any copyright claims? If I rented my services that I then sold on then does the owner of the physical hardware, that I would rent, be responsible for the copyright claim?

To conclude. I fully support laws to stop people from having their creations ripped off, someone getting a financial reward from another person’s hard work is criminal, but laws need to be clearly defined. Like a 30MPH zone, get caught doing 33mph and you get fined and penalty points. The fine and penalty points are defined, very clearly in all EU countries.

Google Article 11, 12a and 13 to find out more.

For more info about Gadget John and on how I edit my videos and a really in-depth gear list go over to my website

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Has the EU Killed YouTube?

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