On August 01, 2021, the controversial law for upload filters – the Copyright Service Provider Act (UrhDaG) – will come into force. From now on, major platforms will be liable for the uploads of their users.
Copyright Service Provider Act is here
With the new law, platforms such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook are obliged to conclude licensing agreements for content that is publicly reproduced in more than minor quantities with the help of the service.
Germany is thus implementing the controversial EU copyright reform of June 2019 on August 01. Unlike other EU countries, however, certain content may not generally be blocked in this country before the conclusion of a complaint procedure. This applies to protected content of a small scope if it “contains less than half of a work by a third party or several works by third parties.”
Low volume is also clearly defined: 15 seconds of a sound recording, 15 seconds of a film, 160 characters of a text and up to 125 kilobytes of a photo or graphic are still possible. This 50 percent limit may not be exceeded even for permitted uses such as parodies or caricatures – although the size restrictions do not apply here.
In Europe, the filtering systems for providers for providers such as Youtube, Facebook or Twitter must therefore function differently and be adapted to the respective, country-specific laws – which does not necessarily make matters easier.
Accordingly, the IT industry association Eco criticizes the regulation and sees it as a “patchwork of 27 different regulations.”
This is how YouTube and Facebook are reacting
According to a Google spokesperson, YouTube is adapting its Content ID technology to comply with the new law change. Rights holders will have access to additional tools for handling their content. Meanwhile, in Germany, a new pre-flagging tool is being introduced for users and rights holders, while all creators can now access the so-called Copyright Match tool. Deactivation requests for copyright infringement can also be submitted by rights holders via the Deactivation Request web form, according to Google.
Facebook, on the other hand, points to the so-called Rights Manager, which enables creators to fully protect their protected content on Facebook and Instagram. In doing so, the tool detects audio and video content that matches the creators’ content.
In addition, Rights Manager identifies possible matches based on uploaded reference files based on rules and conditions set by creators. With the help of the tool, it is also possible to challenge these specifications – the author then has seven days to respond to the challenge. An appeal against the rejected challenge is also possible from the user side.
How many platforms are affected?
It is currently unclear how many platforms will actually be required to conclude license agreements as a result of the new law. The German government assumes that 13 service providers will fall within the scope in the medium term. However, only YouTube is mentioned by name.
Two of these 13 providers fall within the scope of startups – here, the upload filters only come into effect when they can show more than five million individual users per month. Four other platforms are considered small providers (with less than one million euros in annual revenue in the EU) and are thus also exempt. This leaves seven platforms that must install the upload filter.