Article 17 also impacts small social networks outside the EU 

Understanding your obligations 

With the passing of Article 17 of the EU Copyright Directive in 2019, companies hosting copyrighted audio and video like social networks need to understand how this directive impacts their business. Although enacted in the EU, online content sharing service providers (OCSSPs) located outside of the EU will feel the effects of this legislation.  Large and small companies need to understand the requirements. They differ slightly depending on your company.  For example, the technical measures are not as demanding for smaller companies. 

Are you considered an OCSSP? 

OCSSPs are defined as follows by the directive:   

“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.” 

Platforms that are hosting content whether audio or video that includes copyrighted material need to comply.  

Define small? 

The directive defines small companies as: 

  • Service available in EU < 3 years, and 
  • Revenue < €10 million in the last calendar year, and  
  • <5 million unique monthly users on average over the last calendar year 

Article 17’s international reach 

Article 17 covers not only OCSSPs located in the EU, but any platforms that can be accessed by users in the EU.  In this sense, Article 17 has a similar reach as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) recently implemented in Europe, prompting companies outside of Europe to comply.   

The intentions of Article 17 

Simply put, the legislation is designed to stimulate a fair and open marketplace for the protection and licensing of copyrighted material between OCSSPs and rightsholders. 

The goals of the legislation included: “contribute to the functioning of the internal market, provide for a high level of protection for rightsholders, facilitate the clearance of rights, and create a framework in which the exploitation of works and other protected subject-matter can take place.” 

Most platforms will need to put in place measures to prevent unauthorized uses, such as Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) services to manage the compliance, licensing and monetization of user-uploaded audio and video 

All platforms are still required to meet existing law requirements, such as a Notice and Takedown system, along with policies to manage repeat copyright infringement required under US law. 

So, what does this mean for small OCSSPs? 

Small companies are given time to develop before they are expected to implement more advanced automation features such as ACR, but they will still need to comply with Takedown/Stay Down provisions.  Once they grow past the definition of a small OCSSP, companies will need to use ACR services to meet the requirements of the directive. 


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.