About a week ago, I did my usual check-in with Rick Beato’s channel on YouTube to see what new videos he had in store for me. I’m a former working musician, and one who supplemented my income by teaching music, so I was easily sold on Beato’s combination of fun music-related videos like “Top 20 Greatest Rock Guitar Sounds” and in-the-weeds educational videos on music theory. His channel is one of many on YouTube that offer music education, cultural preservation, and creative ways to bring great music to wider audiences. So, needless to say, I was less-than-thrilled to see that he had just live streamed a rant against a huge uptick of efforts to block his videos and those by other creators who also rely on using musical elements to create new content. These copyright strikes had been targeting many of these creators’ most successful videos, which often had been around for years and had attracted big audiences -- some with over a million views. One of the impacted videos was Beato’s 20-minute piece on the history of rock guitar, which was taken down for using just 10 seconds of a live, improvised guitar solo by Ozzy Osbourne’s former guitar player, Randy Rhoads. One of Paul Davids’s videos was blocked for playing one chord (Dsus2 for those music geeks following along) in a guitar lesson video. Even in the squishy world of fair use, these seem as close to slam dunk examples of fair use as you can get.
Last week, the European Parliament voted 348 to 274 to pass the Copyright Directive. Unless something truly extraordinary happens during the upcoming meeting of the European Council -- think of it as the Senate of the EU, where the governments of Member States are represented -- draconian and highly disruptive new rules on content licensing and monitoring will become EU law.
Today, the European Parliament voted 348 to 274 to approve the proposed Copyright Directive. This EU-wide legislation will impose draconian copyright obligations on nearly all internet services and companies, requiring content upload filters, convoluted and uncertain licensing agreements with the entertainment industries, and the payment of a link tax or new licensing fee to news incumbents. EU member states will likely move to ratify the proposal next.
Today, the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union, and the European Commission reached a political agreement on the proposed Copyright Directive. If enacted as currently reported, this EU-wide legislation will impose draconian copyright obligations on nearly all internet services and companies, requiring content-upload filters, convoluted and uncertain licensing agreements with the entertainment industries, and the payment of a link tax to news incumbents. Public Knowledge strongly opposes the mandates found in Article 13 and Article 11.
If you follow global tech policy, you probably know that the European Union is in the process of adopting a Copyright Directive to update its copyright framework. The Copyright Directive is infamous on this side of the Atlantic because of the mandate for automated web filters contained in Article 13 of the same. Elsewhere, we’ve written about the harmful effects for free expression that Article 13 would have.