... the controversial rule change will either censor vast swaths of artists or provide new avenues for remuneration and legal support.

Two weeks ago, thousands of protesters marched across Germany in staunch opposition to the Copyright Directive and its controversial section called Article 13, which makes online platforms like Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter liable for user-generated content that may violate existing copyrights. Another portion of the law, called Article 11, could make sites like Google News responsible for paying publishers for using snippets of their content.

Critics have characterized the bill as far overreaching in its attempts to reform the internet’s libertine characteristics. Tech companies have warned that Article 13 will force the implementation of expensive “upload filters” on user-generated content, which already have a reputation for poor parsing skills between actual violations and fair use privileges (e.g. for commentary, criticism, parody, news reporting, research, and scholarship). Contrary to protecting the rights of users, internet activists say these measures would turn large social media companies into censors and damage freedom of expression.

Advocates for digital reform have repelled such criticisms. Germany’s Axel Voss, portrayed these complaints as “fake news” to the Guardian. The member of European Parliament told the publication that the legislation “will not end the internet.” Record labels, artists, and some media companies have also come to the law’s defense, saying that the updated copyright protections will ensure that they are fairly paid for their content.

“Article 13 says that if you have a website that allows users to post content, then you are responsible for making sure that content is not infringing on copyright,” explained Columbia Law School’s Philippa Loengard to Hyperallergic over the phone. “And if it is, then you need to make sure it’s taken down.”