European Union passes controversial Article 13

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While we were caught up in Huawei’s live streamed press conference for the new P30 and P30 Pro, something a bit more sinister happened, as the European Union voted to pass its controversial Article 13 legislature.

For those unfamiliar with Article 13, which has been in development for two years, it’s a set of legislative changes designed to specifically address online copyright issues, or rather the issues that the EU deems of interest.

More specifically it tackles the use of content online and what is deemed as fair use, with memes in particular becoming a talking point surrounding Article 13. The EU made some changes to the legislature in this regard, making the uploading and sharing of memes legal provided it holds some sort of value.

More serious implications regarding Article 13 pertain to the music industry, with creators now able to better control how their content is accessed and used online. While that is indeed good news for artists, it does bring into question the nature of user-generated content, which digital rights activists cite as a potential area for concern.

Big tech companies have also weighed in on Article 13, as they view this new legislation as having the same sort of impact as GDPR has on the way they conduct business in Europe. As such companies with online platforms will have to monitor with greater accuracy precisely how its users share content online.

Shifting back to yesterday’s vote, members of EU’s parliament voted 348 in favour and 274 against. This new Copyright Directive as it’s being termed will now force member states to translate Article 13 into national law within the next 24 months, which in turn means that there could be several different interpretations of the legislation in 2021.

As such this could cause an even larger headache for tech companies, as they will need to ensure that their online platforms adhere to the national law of different countries within the EU.

How exactly Article 13 will effect the way in which tech companies operate within the EU moving forward remains to be seen. Google for one has a strained relationship with the EU, having paid a relatively hefty fine for Android antitrust last year.

Either way, it looks like Article 13 will not only change the how people use content online in Europe, but in other parts of the world as well.

Whether this is indeed a dark day for the internet, as some have called it, remains to be seen.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.