New copyright rules have been voted in by the European Parliament that could be a major disruptor for Google, YouTube, and other digital platforms.
Musicians and content creators have pushed for the legislation. Others argue that it destroys user-generated content.
Here are the two clauses that are generating the attention:
Article 11 requires search engines and aggregation platforms to pay new websites for providing links to their content if publishers ask. Will this force Google et al to pay publishers? Or, will they just stop linking to news articles?
Critics of Article 11 question whether the law can actually work. When Spain tried to enact such a law, Google turned off the news links. Publishers saw a dramatic drop in traffic which hurt revenue from their own sites. When Germany tried to do it, Google only carried links for news sites that agree to provide them for free.
Article 13 makes tech companies responsible for material posted that does not have a copyright license. This means the platform itself would be the ones responsible for validating copyright for music and clips before allowing them to be posted. Currently, they do not bear that responsibility. That has meant in order for copyrighted material to be taken down, rights holders had to police and send takedown notices. This shifting of the burden would mean an enormous change to the tech and practices for tech companies.
Critics of Article 13 says there’s another factor at play. The cost of deploying such filters and policing could be enormous. The Financial Times reports that the current content filter on Alphabet (Content ID) cost more than $100 million to develop and staff. While the largest platforms can afford this, smaller businesses certainly can’t. This would stifle innovation and keep new entrants from starting up.
EU member states need to approve the decision. That will trigger a two-year deadline to comply.