Law & Media

Before this week, I had no idea just how much the law affects the media. I knew that things such as copyright, libel and defamation existed, but I didn’t realize the full scale of how these laws were enforced.

My biggest concern would be censorship as a result of copyright laws. 

“Internet” by Galo Picoita is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

This article from the Electronic Frontier Foundation really opened my eyes to how mass censorship on the internet may not be far away. I had always thought of copyrighting as a tool to help artists and content creators get the money and recognition they deserve, but it seems that moving forward, this will not be the case. 

Though the article was written in 2018, the idea of creating an internet wide Content ID filters that can prevent any copyrighted material from being posted in the first place. 

YouTube has already implemented a similar system used to track copyrighted music in videos before they are posted, but under the new Article 13 Content ID filter, even media such as video, still images, code and text could be eligible for censorship. 

“Copyright Directive Headed Your Way” by Bernie Goldbach is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

As of March 26, 2019, Article 13 did pass, and countries who are a part of the EU will have two years to implement the new copyright laws. Although the United States is no longer a part of the European Union, a large majority of the world’s internet will have to abide by these laws. So while we might not have to face these changes directly, I’m sure we will feel the backlash from them. 

For now, I don’t plan on changing how I use the media in any way. But if copyright laws do become more strict here in America to where it’s encouraging censorship, I might. 

When I do post content, I always try to make sure that it is original. The two places I typically create content on is Twitter or Instagram, and when I do, it’s always either photos I’ve taken myself or sharing thoughts I’ve had throughout the day. My media presence online revolves a lot around connecting and keeping up with friends and family, but in the future, this will likely change. 

Working towards my degree in digital audiences, my career goals center a lot around working in the field of social media and content creation. I think that if censorship continues going down the path it is right now, it could make media creation a lot more challenging. 

As mentioned in both of the articles I listed previously, Content ID filters are not always 100% accurate. In fact, a lot of the time, they are known to over block content that isn’t even infringing on copyrighted material, or to still let some of the material that should be filtered slip through its cracks. Overall, it’s very unlikely the system will be accurate, and this will present a lot of challenges from those who are in the field of using existing media to create things like ads or social media posts. 

Content creators are going to have to be much more careful about what they post if they don’t want it to be taken down. This goes for content creators of all kinds, not just those in social.