What is Article 13 that YouTube is talking about

These days YouTube has started an advertising campaign against Article 13. Let's see what the article is about and what it provides

European copyright legislation is back in the news. After the summer protests of Wikipedia, which first blacked out the site and then deleted the images from its encyclopedic platform, it's YouTube's turn. In these days, YouTube is promoting a massive advertising campaign to raise awareness of the issue among Internet users who visit its site.

The streaming video platform owned by Google also wants to make its voice heard on this issue, hoping to convince EU legislators to change the law. To do so, YouTube is airing commercials before videos and has popped up a pop-up message on the portal's home page, hoping to get users' attentions. Exactly what is Article 13 that YouTube is talking about, though, and why is it so important to the video streaming platform?

What does Article 13 of the European Copyright Act provide

What YouTube is referring to is Article 13 of the new European copyright law, which was approved last September by the European Parliament in Strasbourg but will have to be reviewed as part of EU trialogues between representatives of the European Commission, Parliament and Council before coming into force.

As approved, Article 13 stipulates that platforms based on user-generated content (so-called UGC platforms, an acronym for user generated content) are directly responsible for the content uploaded by their members. Thus, in case a video uploaded by any user infringes someone else's copyright, YouTube will be directly held accountable.

YouTube's notification and takedown system

Until now, in case of copyright infringement, YouTube adopted the notification and takedown system: both at the upload stage and at the following stage, YouTube's artificial intelligence algorithms analyzed the multimedia content uploaded by users to check whether it infringed copyrights or not. A system, according to YouTube, that allowed to protect the artist who had created a song or a movie and his intellectual work.

What's changing with Article 13 of the new European copyright legislation

To avoid being constantly sued for videos that infringe copyright, YouTube says it has only one way to go: remove millions of videos already on its platform in Europe and apply stricter rules for uploading new videos. In short, a sort of "preventive censorship" that, according to YouTube, would end up impoverishing the streaming platform, would prevent many youtubers from continuing to work and would have a very heavy impact both economically and in terms of jobs.