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Platform Governance and Copyright

29 January 2020

Berlin, 23 January 2020 – How does the EU copyright reform affect social media content? And thinking further: How does copyright law influence cultural diversity in Europe? And does Article 17 (previously known as Article 13) really mean the end of the free Internet, as critics* fear? Since January 2020, the Europe-wide research project “Recreating Europe” has been investigating the interaction between the regulatory framework and a lively, diverse and inclusive cultural landscape.

A total of 10 research institutions in 8 different countries are each working on specific questions related to this set of issues. The Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) is the only institute located in Germany to study the social and political implications of platform regulation and copyright law in Europe.

Within this major project, the HIIG focuses in particular on studying the role of (social media) platforms in the implementation of copyright and its impact on cultural diversity. Which rules and technologies have platforms developed to enforce copyright and how do they adapt to the new EU Copyright Directive? Will all providers use upload filters?

HIIG approaches the research of these questions from two perspectives:

  • Platform structures and rules will be examined and compared. This includes internal rules like community guidelines and terms and conditions as well as content moderation procedures and automated content filters.
  • The effects of these structures and rules on users, artists and the social discourse will be investigated. The focus here is on the accessibility of content: Who has access to which content, when and why? At the same time, the strategies of artists and creative professionals will be investigated: How does the legal situation affect creative processes and the resulting works?

Dr. Christian Katzenbach, project manager and research program director at HIIG, sees the project as the first opportunity to systematically explore what is being discussed so intensively in public: “How can we hold platforms accountable without at the same time increasing their power by using upload filters? So far, there is little scientific evidence in this area. Since the project falls precisely within the implementation period of the directive, we can provide urgently needed scientific evidence here”.

Tanja Zagel

Head of Science Communication | Project Management: Digital Continuing Education

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The HIIG researches the development of the internet from a societal perspective with the aim to better understand the digitalisation of all spheres of life.

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