Posology and side effects of the protection of the rights of creators in Europe
On the 4th of July 2018, Wikipedia shut down for a few hours. It was not due to lack of funds or due to a failure in their servers. Everything had to do with the dreaded Article 13 and its regulation on copyrights on the Internet (a subject very much dealt with in legal marketing). The protest of Wikipedia, which deprived access to thousands of pages across Europe, was a wake-up call to the vote that would take place the next day in the European Parliament. It was not the only organization that had raised its voice against the project: others such as the Mozilla Foundation had long been warning about the effects that, if approved, would have on the foundations of the Internet that we know. Finally, this opposition did not take effect and on July 5th the proposal went ahead. Despite the authority that these organizations enjoy in the area of the network and the alarming of their predictions, the news did not generate a significant reaction among ordinary users. In recent weeks, YouTube has joined this wave of protest by launching the #saveyourinternet campaign that seeks to awaken awareness among those who may be most affected by this new regulation, the youtubers.
What will be those consequences if the normative package ends its process and becomes operational? How will it affect us creators and Internet users? We will review the objectives of these legal changes and reflect on the consequences that may have on the way we consume and create information.
Article 13 has arrived: grab the memes
The well-known article 13 is a legal directive at European level arises with the aim of reforming the copyright issues on the Internet in our environment. As always when a change in the rules is proposed, a noble objective is pursued: to ensure that the creators´ rights on the Internet are respected. The ease with which a movie, a piece of music or a text is exploited without rights seems to have the days numbered. Hurry for it. But if things were that simple, there would be no dissenting voices. Let's see why.
The most substantial novelty and that most reactions are provoking of Article 13 refers to the allocation of responsibility over the contents that are broadcast on the Internet. At present, the creators are responsible for demonstrating their authorship or their rights acquired or transferred on all the content they disseminate. The new regulation implies for the first time the platforms in which these are shared. In simple words, YouTube, Facebook or Wikipedia will be forced to block all existing content that use third party content in any way without permission.
Suppose, for example, that a film critic wants to perform an analysis on the influence of Akira Kurosawa in Quentin Tarantino's films. You may do so, but you will not be able to illustrate your examples with images from your movies, unless you get an express consent to do so from those who hold the copyright of all of them. Or rather, may, but its contents will be blocked in Europe.
In practice, all this raises some paradoxes that question the very essence of the Internet:
- Internet is… agile? At the technical level, it is worth asking what systems will be put in place to detect if the content is 100% original or if it incorporates some borrowed content. Request permission, get it and provide it are steps that at least slow down if they do not totally destroy the fluidity in the creation to which for good and for bad we have Internet habit.
- Internet is… creativity? As I said at the beginning of this post, the purpose of the so-called Article 13 is to protect the rights of the original creators, but what is original content? Returning to the example of film analysis, if before publishing a piece, it is necessary first to get permission from Tarantino, it is very possible that this analysis will not be carried out, and if it does, it will be much poorer. The noble feat of protecting the original content will condemn the trunk of the impossible millions of terabytes of original contents that need a few second of other works to take shape. Meanwhile, if a brand with resources plagiarizes the work of an unknown author, it can be legal if it knows how to skillfully transform the appropriate elements. In practice David will remain defenseless against Goliath in most cases.
- Internet is… global? One of my favourite effects, the flight of creators. The new regulation affects only Europe, which means that European creators whose works are copied, plagiarized or disseminated without permission will continue to see their rights trampled, or at least in environments with often lax legislations. Meanwhile, the creative, educational, innovative and surprising contents of European creators that incorporate parts of other creations will continue to be seen outside of Europe, but they can not be enjoyed here.
- Internet is… meme? The internet has passed in a few decades of transmitting analogical information by digital means to become a medium with its own entity and language. 2.0, the rapid dissemination of contents, access to all kinds of files has triggered creativity and facilitated the creation of a way of expressing oneself that is only understood on the Internet, What will become of memes, parodies and reviews without being able to quote or borrow?
Internet is… democratic? Access to information and the ability to make our voices heard in any corner of the planet are the essence of the Internet we know today, with its lights and shadows. Limiting this feature has a double-edged effect, since it gives predominance to
those creators who have better access to the purchase of rights or to the recreation of ideas with their own means.
Protection in exchange for freedom
Intertextuality as a creative resource is as old as creativity itself. The controversy about Article 13 fuels the debate in which a varied mix of themes is mixed around this reality: the controversy over appropriationism - hello, Rosalia - the limits of plagiarism, the protection of one's image, the registration of third-party works… This is a very complex problem because it has at its base a transformation in the foundations of knowledge which is less novel than it seems.
The struggle for respect for individual rights is as necessary as it is difficult in these times. As in other matters related to technology, the tools of the law seem scarce and rusty when trying to fit a model of the past into a world of possibilities that were not even imagined a hundred years ago. In short, it implies the same as in many other areas: the need to give up part of the freedom in exchange for some of our rights being more protected. As an advertising and marketing agency, our point of view in this matter is that of the creators: we need both to protect our rights and not to restrict our creativity. The Internet is is inspiration, knowledge and creation.
Internet has made a tattoo
Those of us who have more than 30 years (ahem) have seen how the digital world mutates and finds its own answers to each challenge: The illegal music exchange of the 2000s with platforms like Napster evolved into what is now a different way of consuming audiovisual content - Spotify, Netflix, HBO… Ten years ago, Facebook seemed to have found the holy grail of interpersonal communication of the 21st century, today the boom of clickbait and the controversy surrounding junk content is causing a rethinking of the usefulness of the social media, giving rise to initiatives such as “Time well spent”. The evolution of YouTube led to a new generation of creators who are now beginning to question their own origins and to flee to other platforms such as Patreon.
"Submitting the digital world to the rules of the analog world often leads to a train crash."
Our Internet is an adolescent that advances towards maturity: it has stopped imitating its elders, it rebels against the norms and it gives headaches to its predecessors, who in turn try to contain that overflowing personality trying to force it to stay at home. However, the advance is difficult to contain, and before feeling the head it will be inevitable to consider a much deeper and more serious debate.
In short, article 13 is a remake of an old controversy: the train clash that involves trying to submit to rules originating in the analog world realities that do not fit into these structures, because they are part of a totally different dimension. wanting all this does not mean you should not set limits? on the contrary, It means that new situation require new methods. watch the screens.