What is in the law?
The proposed law requires anyone sharing copyrighted content to obtain permission from rights owners, even if the content is just an animated gif on Twitter. Even repurposing an image for a meme would require permission from the image’s creator, because while memes are protected as parodies under current copyright law, an automated filter is incapable of distinguishing between a parody and a ripoff.
Additionally, user-generated content platforms from Facebook to Wikipedia would be forced to implement “upload filters” to ensure material doesn’t run afoul of someone else’s copyright or risk being sued. The filter would analyze the content being uploaded, compare it to a database of copyrighted works, and either permit its passage or kick it back to the uploader. Prohibitively expensive, vulnerable to bugs, and prone to extensive collateral censorship, such filters have the potential to effectively hobble the free exchange of information the internet has come to represent.
It’s no exaggeration to say Article 13 has the potential to change the internet as Europeans know it – and the rest of the world would be foolish to think its effects will stop at the EU’s borders. It remains to be seen whether the European Parliament is willing to defy the will of the people for short-term profits.