Articles 11 and 13, and Why They Matter


Joshua Parker

Steven Cochrane using the computer.

Steven Cochrane, Staff Writer

On September 12, 2018, the European Parliament of the European Union voted in favor of an amended version of a law they voted on, and rejected, in July of this year. This law would amend Articles 11 and 13 of the European Parliament, which puts internet freedoms at risk yet again.

The purpose of the Article 11 amendment is to tax a third party for linking to a first party homepage. This effectively means that if you Google search a news story, Google is taxed for linking to the specific news site that it just sent you to. Companies like Google would, of course, be opposed to this amendment as they would suddenly be losing money for simply linking to another site. Article 13 is even more controversial, however, as it would attempt to protect copyrighted material in all forms of internet media. This means that any form of internet media, from memes to YouTube videos, that contains any copyrighted material owned by a third party, is subject to removal from the platform. This also means that content once covered under the umbrella of fair use (which protects the use of copyrighted material, as long as it is transformative in nature) is no longer protected, or will no longer be a reliable safe haven for content creators.

The pass of this vote has caused immense backlash from internet giants like Google, Reddit and Microsoft. All of which were openly against the repeal of Net Neutrality laws in the United States last year, which allows internet service providers (ISP’s) to throttle, or slow down, internet speeds based on whether or not a specific company has paid the ISP for better access to their website or service.

To get an idea of what high schoolers, the next generation of voters, around the nation know about the risks internet freedom is facing, Colt Roundup interviewed Caine Hahn, a junior at University High School in Waco, Texas. When asked if he was aware of the vote to pass the amended versions of Articles 11 and 13, he said, “Yes, it was a big thing on the internet recently, I mostly heard about it from memes at the time.” When asked for his opinion on the vote, he said, “I don’t agree with the decision. It impedes on societal freedom and could lead to more restrictions in the EU for other freedoms that we already have.” When asked how he thinks the Net Neutrality vote in the US affected this vote, he said, “I don’t think the Net Neutrality vote had much of an impact. It would make sense that the EU would see the United States’ decision and adjust their vote accordingly, but this vote was a different topic from Net Neutrality and affects different parts of the internet other than just things like internet speeds.” Hahn also made a remark saying, “I don’t think that the repercussions from this vote will reach very far, maybe not even out of the EU, and I think that if the laws do pass, there will only be negative effects for the EU and those who use the internet a lot, like daily, will be the ones affected, but it may cause issues in the future.”