If your mobile app or website allows sharing of user-uploaded content, then the answer is probably yes.  Two keys things to understand regarding your business and Article 17:  

  • Although written in Europe for European Union member states, Article 17 can impact any mobile app or website that can be accessed by people living in the European Union.   
  • To understand the impact of the initiative on your business you need to understand how Article 17 categorizeyour business. 

OCSSP Definition 

The directive creates a new acronym, an OCSSP, which is an “online content-sharing service provider”.  Here’s what the text of the directive defines as an OCSSP: 

“A provider of an information society service of which the main or one of the main purposes is to store and give the public access to a large amount of copyright-protected works or other protected subject-matter uploaded by its users, which it organizes and promotes for profit-making purposes.” 

From this, there are at least five key criteria: 

  • If your service allows users to upload content 
  • Your service gives the public access to that content 
  • The content includes a “large” amount of copyright-protected works  
  • Your service is for profit-making purposes 
  • You organize and promote the content in some way (e.g.  make it searchable, serve content up to certain users) 


The directive does include some exclusions to the definition of the service provider definition above: 

  • Not-for-profit entities which include online encyclopedias (for example Wikipedia) 
  • Educational and scientific repositories 
  • Opensource software sharing platforms 
  • Electronic communication service providers 
  • Online marketplaces 
  • B2B cloud services 
  • Cloud services for users own use. 

 There are some specific exceptions for new and small companies, which limit how Article 17 applies to their service but does not alleviate legal obligations to address unauthorized copyright content.  Check back for our next installment covering how smaller OCSSPs need to meet the requirements of Article 17. 

Disclaimer:  The information we provide should not be considered legal advice. While we work to be sure our information is accurate and useful; we recommend you consult an attorney. 


Plan Now 

It is important to start planning now on how to meet the requirements and understand the impact of the Directive on your business. 

Below are some resources to help you understand the Directive and how it may impact your business.