UK won't implement controversial EU online copyright law after Brexit

  • The UK Government has confirmed that it won't be implementing the controversial EU Copyright Directive that was feared to spell the end of internet memes and cause problems for tech giants such as Google and Facebook.

    Online piracy of digital content such as TV shows and music is as old as the internet itself, and copyright law has been playing catch-up to the reality of of the modern web and technologies such as video streaming and social media. Back in 2018, the EU passed the new Copyright Directive that was intended to update the law to cover online misuse, but not everyone was happy with it.

    Articles 11 and 13 of the law came under heavy fire from a wide range of people, as the letter of the law seemed to ban things as innocuous as internet memes and could be used to stop journalists from including quotes or snippets from other publications. It also seemed to be incompatible with social media, on which people regularly share images that could include copyrighted portions.

    The UK Government's Universities and Science Minister Chris Skidmore has now said that the UK won't be implementing the EU Copyright Directive after Brexit despite initially supporting the law. EU member states are expected to implement it by June 7th 2021, but the UK won't be an EU member state at that time.

    Tweaks were made to the law last year to specifically permit the use of copyrighted material "for purposes of quotation, criticism, review, caricature, parody and pastiche" in order to protect things such as internet memes, but the law has remained controversial as it could require companies such as Google to perform extensive copyright checks that are computationally infeasible on the scale that their services operate.

    Source: BBC News

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    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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