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Copyright Law Amendment Intended To Limit Industry Giants Is Actually Counter-Intuitive

When we speak about the internet, what comes to mind is that it is arguably the greatest invention of our time. Not only does it allow for the unprecedented sharing of information, it has become a beacon of sorts for the freedom of expression and a medium through which groups can organize and spread awareness on various social issues.

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The internet has long been a catalyst for many a movement and it has also been a refuge for many people in the sense that the internet is pretty much like a dream where we are able to express the things that we might otherwise actively suppress in our daily lives.

But, like most tools, the internet can be used with malicious intent. Because the internet allows for nigh unrestricted access to information, the intellectual property of creators across various media are also accessible, and thus are also vulnerable to piracy. Not only that, but much like with any industry, there are dominant companies that hold a considerable portion of the market. Article 13 of the EU copyright law seeks to solve two problems in one fell swoop.

But What Exactly is Article 13 of the EU Copyright Law?

Article 13 is an attempt to alter the copyright law to match the scenario brought about by the internet age. Primarily, it puts a heavy emphasis on the relationship between copyright holders and internet platforms. This article suggests that online platforms be more aggressive in enforcing regulations when protected content is involved.

Prior to Article 13, there were provisions in the copyright law that meant that online platforms could noy be held liable when their users commit copyright infringement provided that the content was removed thereafter. With the introduction of Article 13, there are no more safe harbour provisions.

The reason why copyright is an incredibly sensitive topic is because there is a hefty penalty as well as a significant period of jail time. These McQuarrie litigation lawyers know all too well the rigors of having to deal with a commercial lawsuit. If online platforms can now be held liable for the copyright violations of their users, then that would be a major headache if a copyright holder decides to sue the online platform.

So, How Exactly Is It Counter-Intuitive?

The strict enforcement of Article 13 of the copyright law is going to cause online platforms to be equally strict with their users. And if the purpose of the amendment was to shift the balance of power away from the major companies like Facebook and Google, then this article fails in that purpose because the tendency is going to be that companies are going to err on the side of caution and thus content that falls within fair use is going to be removed, even when it shouldn't be removed.

This is going to greatly hinder startups from gaining traction and growth, especially when they can no longer enjoy the freedom that companies like Google and Facebook once enjoyed. As such, the law does not serve to shift the balance of dominance away from the major companies but rather, it further cements their dominance.

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