EU is well known for some controversial laws they have passed in the past, but the newest attempt to regulate the internet through enforcing heavy copyright laws that would apply for every online outlet – failed to get enough votes to pass.
The controversy over regulating the internet was always strong, but in this particular case, the entire concept on which the modern internet is operating would be in grave danger.
The main debate was made on two absolutely confronted points. At one side, regulating this area would heavily limit the creativity of website owners and force them to completely omit using any content that is not produced by them directly without paying the original owner a certain fee for using that very same concept.
The other side claimed that some of the most popular outlets, media, and artists are being virtually robbed as their content is widely used all over the internet without their explicit consent.
People who advocate freedom of speech and the public availability of information were heavily against this law proposal, and they were led by the Pirate Party in the EU parliament. The other side got heavy support from several public figures and some of the most prominent artists.
Both sides had their points, but the face of the entire internet would change drastically if the law passed. Literally, every piece of content that has been copyrighted would have to be paid to the original owner, and a huge portion of the websites would be simply forced to remove that content as they can’t afford to pay for it.
The part of the Copyright Directive related to back-linking would create an even higher degree of confusion and render many of the most common SEO strategies almost useless. Of course, this would impact even the giants on the market such as Google and Facebook, and the smaller outlets would be put in a situation they simply couldn’t resolve in a positive manner at all!
The most intriguing part is that even the artists who supported this law proposition would be affected, as they wouldn’t be able to do any covers of other artists if it was to pass.
All of the aforementioned already suggests that enforcing Copyright Directive would be rather hard to carry out. The main problem would be the control. If the law was to be applied, there would be a need for a software that checks the copyright privileges, and something like that would include huge investments that are measured in millions of Pounds Sterling. With the hefty fines on the other end of the stick, all smaller outlets would simply have to shut down their businesses.
Luckily, the law has not passed as it was rejected by a rather close margin (318 against and 278 for). Still, it has been returned to EU Commission for further discussion and there is a real danger of making it relevant again in September.
It is to be seen what will happen in the end, but if voted, this law would have an even a larger impact than the GDPR. In this way, marketers would be limited to the point where many would simply have to stop working in the field.