The same directive was rejected by the European Parliament in July this year, but September’s amended version was voted through.
The vote took place in Strasbourg on September 12, with 438 people voting in favour of the bill, 226 against and 39 abstaining.
The legislation, European Union Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, has faced criticism from those who claim it will mean the end of meme culture and user-generated content.
Notable advocates for the reform were musicians and artists such as Wyclef Jean, who spoke in Strasburg before the vote took place.
YouTube has declared their stance against the legislation, with the social media giant’s CEO Susan Wojcicki taking to Twitter to voice her opposition.
She said: «Article 13 could put the creative economy of creators and artists around the world at risk.”
What is Article 13?
There are two articles which make up the legislation, Article 11 and Article 13 which have gained the nicknames “link tax” and “meme ban” respectively.
Together they make up the European Union Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market.
This has been primarily created to limit how copyrighted content is shared online.
As an EU directive, it will be an objective which all EU member states need to achieve and if passed, all EU states would have to create their own form of legislation in line with the directive.
Despite the vote approving the bill, there are still steps it must go through before being finalised and then passed on to member states.
The Directive on Copyright aims to place more responsibility on websites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to enable copyrighted material isn’t being illegally shared on their platforms.
Before now any claims on copyright lay with the copyright holders — i.e. companies who produced audio, video or written content — to themselves enforce copyright protection.
In simple terms, the Directive on Copyright shifts the responsibility of copyright protection onto the sites themselves.
Article 13 would mean that online platforms have to filter or take down copyrighted material from their websites.
The article states that “online content sharing service providers and right holders shall cooperate in good faith in order to ensure that unauthorised protected works or other subject matter are not available on their services.”
Some are worried that this means saying goodbye to much loved and shared creations like memes, however, this might not be the case.
Memes, for the most part, will be protected as parodies, and therefore won’t be removed.
However, opposers argue that filters may not classify some memes as parodies, meaning they will be removed regardless.
Should the directive pass, the EU member states will have two years to introduce their laws in line with EU regulations.