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2019 is the year of change and innovation. The internet continuously evolves, though with little control. Even though for several years the internet has become the number one opportunity for growth and business creation, internet users didn't have clearly defined rules to follow. The European Union recognised this issue. Hence, they decided to create legislation known as the Copyright Directive. This will introduce some level of control over the internet and its content. Though the effect on e-commerce from the EU copyright directive will be clear after the two year implementation period.

We will explain what the new law is about and how to avoid pitfalls when it takes effect. You will also find out about the possible impacts on e-commerce business.

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What is the EU copyright directive?

For several years now, the EU has been trying to create a Digital Single Market. A digital single market means that throughout the members of the European Union, the rules would follow the same laws and regulations.

It would create a more straightforward way for the business to offer a broader choice to its consumers. The EU copyright directive is a part of this program. The main goal is to modernise the whole EU copyright regulations network to reflect the current digital needs and trends.

However, since the introduction of the new legislation, the European Parliament has heard controversial opinions from those affected. The two articles that sparked the most discussion have been confirmed and blended into one section after the voting. Consequently, now the article states that any presented snippets of pieces of content should require permission or even licensing fees.

The other part, which brought more confusion to the world, requires online giants like Google, Youtube, Facebook, etc. to monitor copyright infringement more carefully or face liability if failed to do so.

In other words, it means that those giants will have to scan content and locate potential violations before the content goes public. However, in some of the interpretations it is visible that companies will only have to find the violations. The user is the one who will face liabilities.

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The effect of  the EU copyright directive on e-commerce

So what effect will this directive have on e-commerce businesses? Well, it all depends on each country separately. Simply because the European parliament's directives should be implemented and interpreted by each EU member individually.

However, in general, it means that consumers and businesses will be safer in the digital world. It will be easier to spot and take action after any copyright law violations appear. Business should benefit from legal certainty and fair competition.

On the other hand, it suggests that every company and e-commerce business should have a monitoring system to filter content uploaded by users. Which in turn requires quite a lot of capital and may become hardly bearable for small businesses. Or it means that small business will drift away from user-produced content and only the current giants will be able to stay afloat.

How will it work?

To make it clearer, let's take Youtube as an example. According to the new legislation, Youtube must ensure that there are no copyright violations before the user publishes their video.

Therefore, Youtube must ensure that agreements get established for every rightsholder. Now Youtube has more than 1.5 billion users worldwide. Every minute Youtube users upload nearly 300 hours of video. And all of this content must not breach copyright before it goes public.

Clearly, the big companies will afford these kinds of content scans. However, for small e-commerce businesses or startups, it may become a struggle.

Lastly, make sure you are aware of the effect on e-commerce of the new EU copyright directive and its purposes. Follow the implementation process in your country and prepare in advance for possible disruptions throughout the internet.

If you wish to find out more about the effect on e-commerce from the new EU copyright directive and what is written in the official document, you can see it here.




Goda Jurgaityte
Goda Jurgaityte |

Senior Copywriter at Multiorders. Goda is a writer, marketer and lead of the e-commerce blog for ambitious entrepreneurs. Being on top of e-commerce news allows her to teach you how to grow an audience, manage your store or start an online business. The best business advice has inspired hundreds of small business owners, and some of the biggest brands in commerce, to start and grow their business.