European Parliament passes copyright laws

The European Parliament has passed a new set of copyright laws, including the controversial Article 13. The vote has been praised by many in the music industry, while the tech sector has largely been critical.

Article 13 makes internet platforms liable for any copyright infringements created by user uploads. In other words, if someone posts a song illegally on YouTube then Youtube – not the user – is responsible for damages.

At the moment, platforms only have to remove content when they are notified by the copyright holder. Commentators say that the likely reaction to Article 13 is that platforms will have stricter limits on what can be uploaded.

However, smaller platforms – with a turnover of less than €10m per year and fewer than 5m unique visitors per month – will be exempt.

For the music industry, it means that illegal use of copyrighted material should be dramatically cut.

“This is about creating a fair and functioning market for creative works of all kinds on the internet,” said PRS CEO Robert Ashcroft. “It’s about making sure that ordinary people can upload videos and music to platforms like YouTube without being held liable for copyright – that responsibility will henceforth be transferred to the platforms. This is about modernising the internet and it’s a massive step forward for consumers and creators alike.”

Although the new laws have been passed they now have to be implemented by each individual state – and each state can take their own approach to policing them.