If you’re a YouTube or Twitch creator and you’re not paying attention to the European Union’s Article 13 that’s up for a vote, now’s the time to start. If you’re not familiar with the article in question, the BBC did a fine job explaining it in detail here. You can also see Colin and Samir break it down in the video below. The short version: It opens the doors for media companies to hold platforms accountable for unauthorized use of media, ranging from being fined all the way to litigation for breaking the law. So let’s say you have a livestream and some music plays in the background, or you’re playing a specific video game, or there’s a poster in the background of your favorite movie. Article 13 opens the door for platforms like Twitch to be sued by companies in Europe for use of copyrighted material, bypassing fair use directives.
While this wouldn’t affect any media beyond the European Union, if this passes and you happened to have anything that was tied to a company in the union in a stream or video, YouTube or Twitch would take the heat for it and become liable. In an effort to explain the situation better, Twitch took to their Town Hall show today to address questions by the community and what it would mean for the platform if it passed. Right now, it sounds like somewhere down the road the streamer would have to fill out info on their channel letting the platform know what they intend to do, and if any of it violates Article 13 (if it passes), their stream simply wouldn’t be allowed to be viewed in those countries. That sounds like an easy solution, but that’s a lot of work to change the way a platform works without censorship and a loss to many streamers who may have European audiences. Fingers crossed it doesn’t pass, but its definitely something all creators need to pay attention to now.