Access and Feeds

Patents: New EU Patent Laws Target Tech Platforms

By Dick Weisinger

The Copyright Directive. It is a new copyright law passed by the EU that introduces reform to European copyright laws to try to “protect creativity in the digital age.”

Article 11 of the directive requires businesses that display headlines and short excerpts from news stories to first officially license the right to reuse the summary or be liable for copyright infringement fines. Companies like Google and Facebook that regularly display news summaries are the main targets of this new law. The new law will likely drive tech businesses to create licensing agreements with large publishers and avoid linking to content from smaller publishers. The new policy may actually do more harm to small content publishers.

Article 13 of the directive has to do with tech companies that provide platforms for their users to upload content. The directive holds the platform business responsible for copyright infringements of any of the postings by its users. It will likely force platforms to be constantly filtering and checking for possible copyright infringement uploads. Creating filters that can comprehensively check for copyright infringement will be difficult. The law would likely stifle the creation of memes and mashups which have become popular entertainment on the internet.

Susan Wojcicki, YouTube CEO, wrote that “Article 13 as written threatens to shut down the ability of millions of people – from creators like you to everyday users – to upload content to platforms like YouTube. And, if implemented as proposed, Article 13 threatens hundreds of thousands of jobs, European creators, businesses, artists and everyone they employ… The parliament’s approach is unrealistic in many cases because copyright owners often disagree over who owns what rights. If the owners cannot agree, it is impossible to expect the open platforms that host this content to make the correct rights decisions.”

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