As a general rule of thumb, we avoid politic debates and articles here at Stoffel Presents. Unfortunately, events in the European Parliment and the passing of Article 13 has meant that we strongly feel that we must speak out. We are well aware the topic of the EU is an incredibly incendiary one in the UK right now thanks to Brexit.
We are not here to discuss or attack anyone over Brexit. Whether you are a remain or leave voter, you have your reasons and convictions for voting the way you did. We respect democracy and your right to vote however you feel. Whatever your political leaning or what your stance on the EU is Article 13 is potentially catastrophic for the internet, SME’s and consumers.
What is Article 13?
Article 13 is also known as the European Union Copyright Directive. It is designed to protect and strengthen traditional media and the music industry in copyright protection. Unfortunately, it has no understanding or consideration for new media and internet culture.
Copyright protection already exists with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act 1998. Which whilst an American law has similar variations within European Law. This has lead to the widely used term of DMCA when discussing copyrighted content. On the other side of DMCA is fair use policy. Which states that if copyright content is used in a “transformative manner” then it is fair use and free from copyright infringement. Article 13 will, in essence, put an end to fair usage.
How will Article 13 affect games media?
Article 13 will mean that any sharing or use of copyrighted content will require a licence from the copyright owner. Here at Stoffel Presents, we will still be able to bring you reviews that include screenshots, trailers and gameplay as we have permission from the copyright holders to do so. We are provided with press assets to use in the content we create.
However, if anyone reading any of our content posts a meme or gif in the comments section that includes copyright content. We will, as the platform owners, be liable for that content. If for example, someone was to post a Star Wars meme in the comment section we would then owe Disney money for hosting their copyrighted content.
The onus of legal responsibility is placed upon the platform holder and not the individual. So whilst we have permission to live stream the latest game from Konami on Twitch. Twitch may not have a licence to host Konami content so will be liable for prosecution for allowing us to broadcast on their platform. Live streaming is currently protected under the fair use policy.
Yes, you are broadcasting copyrighted content but your interaction with your audience, your commentary on the game and the entertainment you provide means that you have changed the content is unique to you. Therefore you have used copyrighted content in a “transformative manner” and is fair use.
Article 13 will override fair usage which means unless Twitch pays out for licences. Which nobody knows how much will cost. You will not be able to live stream on Twitch.
The same also applies to YouTube. Lets Plays, reviews, critiques, gameplay videos, walkthroughs etc will all be gone under article 13 unless Google has a licence for to host content about that game, movie etc.
Stifling creativity and SME’s
Essentially, Article 13 will stop any and all creativity online. Large platforms such as YouTube and Twitch will have to purchase thousands if not millions of licences to continue in the form it is in. This will mean that the cost of those licences will affect the monetisation of videos and greatly impact if not wipe out completely the revenue of small, emerging content creators and channels.
It is extremley unlikely that Twitch and YouTube will purchase the immense amount of licences required to continue as is. The most likely course of action is for them to implement some kind of upload filter that will automatically seek out and prevent the upload of copyrighted content.
Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) will not be able to afford to buy licences. Neither will they be able to monitor their sites with upload filters or afford for 24/7 moderation of their site. Small companies such as ourselves will be unable to host a comment section and therefore Article 13 will kill any opportunity of building a community.
Even if we found a way around all of these issues. We will still be hamstrung when it comes to reaching and growing an online audience for our content. If you were to read our latest game review then share that URL with your friends on social media then Facebook etc would be liable because they do not have a licence from us to host our copyrighted content.
Whilst we personally wouldn’t prosecute over our content being shared, Facebook will protect itself from such claims by simply stopping the content from being uploaded in the first place. Therefore we can never grow our audience. We can never reach new people and build a community. This would mean the end for Stoffel Presents and thousands of other small sites, streamers and content creators like ourselves.
The effects of Article 13 are far-reaching and don’t just affect the games industry. News aggregator sites will be no more as they host links to copyrighted content. SME’s may find there online presence hampered even more as search engines such as Google may need to adapt to host copyrighted content etc.
Viral videos will be a thing of the past because that funny video you found will not be able to be shared because the social media platform it is on is not the copyright holder. You will effectively only be allowed to share content you have created provided it has no copyright content within in it.
Article 13 is designed to help protect the music industry from piracy and to get a fair share of royalties. It is constructed in order for traditional media outlets to protect their advertising revenues. I competley understand why these things need to be in place but I feel that DMCA and fair usage are adequate.
This is traditonal media trying to maintain control against the rising tide of new media. The internet has created so many new industries. It has provided us with fresh, exciting ways to consume media. The core basis of internet culture is to adapt and change.
Traditional media has neither the ability nor the intention to change alongside new media. The way you consume media has changed drastically over the years and companies must adapt or die. When Netflix introduced online streaming of movies it was the death of Blockbuster etc.
Rather than adapt to the changing times. The Eu is protecting traditional media outlets by essentially destroying new media in order to maintain control. There will no longer be competition from upcoming SME’s that have the ability to shape and transform how we consume media. Instead, the large corporations will be able to dictate what we can and can’t see.
Article 13 is the death of free speech. It is the end of creativity and it will kill SME’s that are already struggling to find their place in the world. A free market cannot operate if it isn’t free. So enjoy your live streams, lets play and reviews.
Appreciate the social connections we have through Twitch, YouTube and social media because become January they may no longer exist.
For more information check out Saveyourinternet.eu to see what if anything can be done to repeal this legislation in January