The first stage or the first consents of Article 13 have been approved by the European Union. This will stir up the content industry. However, the Content Mafia can cheer and welcome this decision. After years of debate and negotiations, politicians have passed sweeping changes following a final vote in the European Parliament. The changes have proved controversial, with critics being opposed to two specific parts of the law: Article 11 and Article 13. They form part of the wider regulations which were passed. The European Union Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, to use its full name, requires the likes of YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to take more responsibility for copyrighted material being shared illegally on their platforms. It’s become known by the most controversial segment, Article 13, which critics claim will have a detrimental impact on creators online. YouTube, and YouTubers, have become the most vocal opponents of the proposal. But despite Article 13 and the Directive on Copyright being passed by EU regulators, it will now have to be implemented by the individual countries within the Union. To help clear things up, here’s WIRED’s guide to the EU Directive on Copyright.
What does this mean for filehosters or site operators with sensitive content?
There will actually only be two options, maybe a third one which would be very unlikely.
The first option would be to completely remove the server locations from the European Union, where Article 13 laws do not apply. The best server location with good connectivity would be Switzerland. Because Switzerland will not accept Article 13 at the moment.
As a non-EU country, the new EU copyright law, once in force, will not apply to Switzerland – theoretically. After all, it can hardly be assumed that large international companies will develop the upload filters required by the EU but not apply them to Switzerland. Rather, it can be assumed that Switzerland will be treated like the other EU countries.
The second option would be that website operators would simply add geoblocking to their site and countries where Article 13 came into force would be filtered. This would also be one of the ways to protect yourself. The development is dangerous for “European innovation” and start-ups. And an incentive will be created for non-European sites to simply block all EU users by geoblocking.
The third option that I think is very unlikely is that website operators would develop an upload filter. Especially for small sites this would be impossible because the effort and programming is too expensive. It is not technically possible, and it would mean the demise of social media and communities.
Then people will just circumvent that by using a VPN. Using a VPN for that purpose does not break any laws in either the EU or the United States, no matter what some commenters over on Techdirt have told me. For it to be a DMCA violation, you have to be making money, that is what the “commercial or private financial gain” part of it means. And the CFAA does not apply, because you are not breaking a password. In order for it to be “unauthorized access”, you have to be using a cracked, stolen, or otherwise illegally obtained password. So you could not be criminally charged in the United States for bypassing geoblocking.
If Article 13 is fully implemented in Europe, VPN trade will boom and there would be a very big change in the Internet. We should not give it a chance and take action before it is too late. Europe does not listen to its people, the EU creates its own laws and implements them against the will of the people. This is no longer a democracy.