What Exactly is Article 13?

Article 13 (renamed as Article 17) is within the Copyright Directive approved by the European Union. But, what exactly is it?

Also known as the “Meme Killer,” Article 13 covers how online content sharing services have to handle copyright-protected content. It is very controversial as it holds sharing services (such as YouTube and Google) accountable for all copyrighted content.

Content-sharing services must license copyright-protected content from those who hold the rights to the content itself. This means that they must do their best to keep the material from being published online or ensure that a license is properly obtained beforehand.

Article 13 can sort of be seen as a kind of online censorship, due to its restrictive nature. It leaves a large gray area where there is simply no telling of what is legal and what is not.

There are some exceptions to the Article, however, just to name a few:

  • cloud storage services
  • online marketplaces
  • communication services
  • open-source software development platforms
  • non-profit online encyclopedias

Contrary to popular belief, Article 13 is not the “meme killer” that is made out to be. Memes are still allowed thanks to other exceptions, but that doesn’t mean that Article 13 isn’t flawed.

YouTube has recently spoken out against Article 13, with #SaveYourInternet. You can learn more about that here. Ultimately, Article 13 will end up doing more harm than good, as it isn’t all that solid. There are a lot of gray areas that need to be worked out.

You can express your concerns by reaching out to the Members of the European Parliament. Article 13 is not something that should simply be ignored, it’s a very important issue that could affect our daily lives in a very negative way. Speak out and spread the word to help put an end to Article 13.