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What Is Article 13? What Did Today's Vote Mean For Music?

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The vote by the EU Parliament Thursday to open debate on Article 13, sweeping legislation that revamps copyright law, is seen as a setback for the music industry. But what is exactly is Article 13 and what does today's vote mean for musicians and the music industry?

What Is Article 13?

Article 13, also known as the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market and the EU Copyright Directive, is a proposed directive designed to modernize and standardize copyright law across the  European Union. It would also provide additional protections for rights holders.

The bill includes giving publishers direct control over the use of their content by internet platforms including much stricter guidelines requiring sites like YouTube and Facebook to police user-generated content to prevent the unauthorised postings of copyrighted content. As with all EU laws, both licences and exceptions will have to be implemented on a national basis.

New media publishers would also be required to pay news organizations for the right to share articles and other copyright-protected content.

What Does Article 13 Mean For Music?

In general, Article 13 standardizes the jumble of copyright laws that currently exists in each EU country and offers more protection for copyright holders

The new copyright directive would also require platforms like Google and Facebook to use filtering systems to block copyrighted content.  Since user-generated content often contains music- some of which is either unauthorized or unmonetized—musicians and the music industry see forcing the internet giants to pre-screen or better police content as a big win.

Tech companies, unsurprisingly, claim that it adds unnecessary burdens.

What Happens Next?

Thursday's vote opens debate on a bill that a united music industry thought might be passed 'as is' today. Opening debate means that success is far from assured and increases the likelihood that amendments that weaken the bill will be introduced.

Debate is in the EU Parliament is set for September. 

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