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The copyright directive – AI censorship for the internet.

Posted by , Partner

Yesterday, Tuesday 26 March, the EU Parliament voted to adopt the new copyright directive.

The most contentious element being Article 13 (renamed Article 17) is intended to enable online platforms to introduce algorithms to assist with copyright infringement on the internet. The idea is that the online platforms will be able to incorporate technological filters that will prevent copyright infringements being uploaded. However, the reforms are not universally welcomed.

AI has no sense of humour

The internet is seen as a bastion of freedom of expression. Any attempts at censorship are resisted. A particular concern is that the use of such technology will impact most strongly in the field of satire and parody. In order for a work to qualify as a parody (a legal exemption to the law on copyright) it must be a reproduction of the original copyright work, and so would not be recognised as such by an algorithm. The filter would be more likely to consider it an authorised copy and block it.

It is often said that the problem with AI is that it has no sense of humour!

But we are leaving the EU – will the directive apply to the UK?

The next step in the legislative path is that the copyright directive has to be adopted by the European Council, likely in May or June this year. If it is adopted, it then has to be implemented by each of the EU member states in an estimated two-year process. With the anticipated delay to full implementation of Brexit, UK operators may expect that the copyright directive will become UK law in due course.

If you have any enquiries, please contact Stephen Welfare on:

020 7842 1426     Email usstephen.welfare@roydswithyking.com

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