The mess that is the new Article 13 world


Copyright is meant to protect us, but is now being used against us. Made using Piktochart Photo credit: Gage Northcutt

Article 13 (reformed into Article 17) is a section of the European Union Council’s new initiative to slow down the creation of new content in the digital age.

According to the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (try saying that three times fast), Article 13 is a section that has its focus on the protection of copyright. In the article, it would guarantee that those with the rights to content shall be granted patronage to whatever they own.

Now, this sounds great on the surface. The people who create works should have the rights to the accolades given to their legally-owned creation. No material that violates copyright law should exist on the internet as it is unfair to the owners. However, the problem with Articles 13 and 17 is not in the motives, but in the enforcement of these laws.

Imagine a world where you couldn’t post a simple meme to Twitter. It’s not just you, no one could. This is the world that the articles would lead to because of flawed content filters. The technology to find a way to filter this content fairly, especially to small creators who earn a living on the web, simply is not yet here.

Even a platform juggernaut like YouTube has trouble with managing copyright. The Content ID algorithm is not always reliable. Demonetization of fairly made content happens every day for different content creators because this technology is in its infancy. Youtube has only been around since 2005 and Content ID since 2007.

Being without revenue for a while is no big deal for giant companies, but for smaller independent creators, the time to gain revenue is crucial. Their ability to get food and housing is dependent on the ability to upload.

These upload filters will severely limit the stream of content for consumers, and the creators cannot make any money. This initiative is a gross and disturbing violation of our rights to a free and open Internet.

Even the creator of the Internet, Tim Berners-Lee, disagrees:

[Tweet from Tim Berners-Lee]

This issue is not just about Europe, it is about the entire world. The more countries sign away their rights of expression and submit themselves to large countries and corporations the more we lose as creators ourselves.

The Internet does not belong to tech companies, it does not belong to bumbling politicians, it belongs to us, the people. No matter what country you are from, you as a person are a creator for the Web, these people will not and should not filter and control what you want to create when they don’t even have a clue how to do it in the first place.

To Article 13 or 17 and the incoherent politicians who made it, you have tried to stop the unstoppable, people will always find a way to upload their content.

To the big corporations who are greedy enough to take advantage of a system that robs small creators just to grab a few more dollars for your bottom line, you are what’s wrong with the world.

To EU citizens, get those VPNs and join the American servers. Keep fighting for your rights. Stay strong.

Gage Northcutt can be reached at [email protected] or @GageNorthcutt on Twitter