What’s happening? On Wednesday the 12th of September the European Parliament will vote on the ‘copyright directive’. A vote that can impact the compensation of producers of content that is being shared online. In other words: how producers and creators of music, movies, videos, news, and how copywriters and designers are compensated online.
Currently there are only a couple of players earning enormous amounts of money generated by advertising revenue on shared content. We’re talking about the digital giants of our time: Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter. While creating virtually no content themselves, their income model is based on the targeted advertising income generated by online content.
The whole ordeal resulted in a lobby war between filmmakers, the music industry, the free press and modern day content platforms. Two aspects of the reform which will be voted on Wednesday are creating most of the controversy. The last couple of weeks lobby groups have been trying to convince people to pressure and influence the vote of European Parliament members. According to the spokesperson of the European Parliament in Knack, this currently results in 6 million emails about the subject in one week.
Article 11: This article would force internet companies to pay magazines, news sites, newspapers and agencies for posting parts and bits of content. To give you an idea: they would pay for the title, image and text bundles you now see on newsfeeds on Facebook and similar sites.
Article 13: This article would make platforms like Facebook and YouTube liable for the copyrighted material that is being shared on their platforms, and it would require them to have an agreement with the rightful holders of film and music.
All kinds of concerns are raised regarding the topic. Some dramatically claim this could be the end of free internet. That it could stop the progress generated by open source technology. Other concerns mention that when content platforms like Facebook, Google and YouTube need to pay the copyright fees for content uploaded to their platforms, they will prefer to steer their users to ‘copyright free’ content. The type of content generated by ideologists, fanatics and fake news providers.
Others ask what sense of justice there is when people make efforts to create original content, sometimes even while risking their lives to report news in dangerous circumstances, only to see their efforts shamelessly copied and the ad revenues disappear into the pockets of people who did nothing for it.
Whatever the result, the duomedia team will eagerly be following the outcome.