Article 13 and How to bypass it with a VPN

(EU) has shifted its attention towards online copyrights after GDPR. The EU drafted a legislation which will update the dormant copyright laws for the online community.

article 13

The Legislation caused several controversies as it was voted 438 to 226 in the European Parliament and caused several controversies. The most debated aspect about the new regulation is its Article 13.  It talks about how content should be shared online without copyright infringement.

Does the new regulation put content creator’s jobs at risk? Is there a way to bypass it? I will explain how Article 13 affects you and what ways can be taken to overcome the legislation.

Importance of Article 13

Article 13 states that content that is being shared on the internet should have the approval of the content licenses. This includes films, sitcoms, music, pictures and even memes.

Article 13 forces online content service providers to take special measures with appropriate right holders. This will lead to non-availability of copyright or similar infringing content on those services. Where as non-infringing content and other subject matter will remain on the web for the public.

The special measures include putting up filters or removing copyrighted content from the platform. However, the problem arises when the Directive on Copyright would make online platforms and aggregator sites liable for copyright infringements, and supposedly direct more revenue from tech giants towards artists and journalists.

Youtube will be held responsible if the usesrs upload any kind of content the violates the copyright law. Youtube will have to take action and take down the content if they are asked by the content owners. And if fails to comply with the request, YouTube could be held liable.

Pros and Cons of the New Legislation

Pro: Protects Artists & Content Creators

For content owners and creators this is a favorable decision to safeguard copyright claims. Especially, in the case of the music industries who have hailed this decision. Right holders claim that this will put a stop to piracy of music and videos online. They will also ensure that their respective artist receive the actual fair share for their efforts.

Supporters of the directive include musicians Debbie Harry and Paul McCartney. The rules are also to shake the power of the giants of the world like Google and YouTube by forcing them to pay for content they aggregated.

Con: Loss of Profit for Content Aggregating Websites

Sadly, that’s not the case with smaller websites who are gravely affected by this in financial terms. Article 13 poses a threat to the social media platforms and websites which earn money through sharing such content. To counter this, certain steps must be taken to check and cross reference the content before it is uploaded.

This directive will force the big tech giants such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook will have to implement services to filter these content. This can be very time consuming and not to mention that it will decrease users on their servers.

The small internet companies will have to buy these costly new algorithms to their programs which is a serious burden on them. As all previous algorithms will have to be taken down and replaced for new expensive ones to support the legislation.

Pro: Content Creators Flourish

This is beneficial to companies such as music industries and graphic and media designing companies as their contents are safeguarded. Likewise, other big corporations will have to purchase licenses from them to share and use their content on their websites. This article allows content creators to flourish and profit for putting their work on the internet.

Con: Compels Websites to take down content or face penalties

Article 13 will compel any website to take down any contravening content and will force them to prove that they took prior care to prevent any future uploads related to the content.

If they fail to follow this obligation, then it may result in a heavy fine. A viable solution to this is to block all EU generated content from sites that uploads it.

Pro: It May Take 2 Years for the New Directive to be Implemented

Even though the new legislation vote has been launched by the European Union Parliament, it might not still be effective till 2 years. This is because each country within the EU will interpret the law and implement it in its own way.

Con: Problem in Applying Correct Filters  

The issue is with applying the correct filters to block copyright materials, because some data that is allowed to be copied on the internet, could also be blocked (for instance an educational lecture or speech).

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki wrote this in her blog post, “The parliament’s approach is unrealistic in many cases because copyright owners often disagree over who owns what rights,” she wrote. “If the owners cannot agree, it is impossible to expect the open platforms that host this content to make the correct rights decisions.”

Article 13 also requires website owners to install a user complaint reviewing system to handle all disputed issues and decisions for its users.

On contrary to this, according to Jim Killock, a representative from the UK digital rights campaign group, who argues that such system is pointless and time consuming as people generally don’t complain when it comes to their reputation and legal ramification, so instead of risking further sanctions they’ll simply stop making content online.

Article 11 Adds Fuel to the Fire

To make matters even worse, there is another directive called Article 11 which is also the part of the legislation. This section stipulates tech giants like Facebook, Microsoft and Google to pay the publishers for previewing small snippets of random news articles on their websites making it harder to share content links.

According to Gizmodo, this legislation will do more harm than good. Publishers will suffer because it would be become more difficult to publish and share news articles because they would be more worried about paying for their licenses. Similarly, companies like Google will simply stop displaying their snippets just as they have done previously.

Effects on Other Aspects of The Digital World

Such as the case when it comes to the gaming community. When a game developer  creates a video game, that game itself becomes a copyright piece of work for both, the developer and the studios. But the new directive would enforce both the gamer and the studio to be present at the time of upload to confirm their consent.

The other issue related to gaming is of live streaming. Professional gaming streamers generate their revenue by uploading the in game footage on websites such as Twitch or YouTube to get maximum likes, donations and sponsors.

what is article 13

Effect on Gamers and Streamers

When such content restrictions are put in actions, these professional gamers and streamers would be unable to post such videos, thus putting their livelihood at risk. Also,  it would mean their sponsors too who profit from these organized tournaments would suffer.

Gamers would now have to buy licenses from these games in order publish their videos. They would not be able to earn as much as they do after the content ban due to sharp decrease in their subscribers.

Desperate Measures

Some websites have already developed algorithms to help prevent copyright issues such as YouTube’s Content ID but it’s not as effective as it proved. A lecture of a Harvard professor on YouTube was blocked due to content infringement as his lecture contained sentences from a lyric of an old song. Even though the video was for educational purposes and it posed no red flags anywhere. But due to content being used without prior permission the video was taken down.

Lastly, as the digital age progresses so does its need for upgrade. There have been thousands of websites available with just a click of a button to find, track down and download easy to use every day software for your computer.

Such is the case with extraction tools like WinRAR or torrent applications to download just about anything. Such copyright laws prohibiting these applications will not only hinder these activities but force users to buy software from authorized websites who hold their licenses.

As a result, after this law they will sell software at high price rather putting it for free. European Union users would also have to buy the one time use programs at costly prices. Putting a financial burden on the internet generation and probably slowing progress as we know it.

How to Bypass Article 13 using a VPN

what is article 13

One solution to bypass Article 13 is with a Virtual Private Network (VPN). VPN is a software which grants you permission to access restricted site on the internet. It encrypts your data and hides all of the information that is being shared online. More on this in our “What is a VPN and How it works” guide.

Recently, PewDiePie, the biggest youtuber in the world also endorsed VPNs. VPNs will hide your traffic by changing your IP. All you have to do is pick an IP of a country that does not have the Article 13 law yet.  By doing so the third parties will struggle finding you.

Why does it work? because once you connect to an IP address of server whose physical location is not in the EU. You will be to access and upload any kind of content you wan’t. Because the laws won’t apply to you. If you use your regular IP you will be forced to remove any kind of content that triggers copyright infringement.

In an email interview published on Comparitech, ExpressVPN’s President Harold Li quoted, .

These onerous copyright regulations would represent huge barriers to both uploading and viewing content for Europeans. These are not just videos on YouTube, but also GIFs, memes, livestreams, blogs, remixes, and much more. Many in the EU will undoubtedly turn to VPNs to overcome blocks and access content from around the world. But the restrictions would still significantly harm free expression and creativity. This is a serious threat to the free and open internet as we know it. This is why we have worked with OpenMedia and others over the past year to campaign against Article 13 and we encourage all European citizens to contact their representatives to voice their opposition.

What Does the Future Hold?

According to the 2016 data from Statista, United Kingdom has the most YouTube users in the EU region followed by Germany and France. Most of the content uploaded on YouTube may be safe, but billions of being blocked videos will spread chaos across the platform leaving EU streamers begging for a viable solution.

Now that this legistlation has passed in the European Union, the usage of VPNs will sky rocket. This usaually happens in events like the World Cup. But because of Article 13 this will be the same for quite some time now.

This means all EU region users would want to relaim their rights to freedom by any mean necessary.