The European Union has a directive requiring media companies such as Google, YouTube, and Facebook to avoid having materials with copyright protection on their sites without explicit permission from the copyright holder. Indeed, all websites are required to follow the same rule; it’s just that the major sites that allow the general public to post media are at much higher risk due to the volume of content and the wide variety of people uploading that content.

Historically, the rule had not held media companies liable for copyright infringement, provided that upon notification of a violation, the company quickly removed the offending material. Now, the company must avoid the original posting, a much harder task.

Your website must follow the same rule; no unlicensed use of material with copyright. Since you site is much smaller than Google, and since likely you have only a small staff posting content, you will have a comparatively easy job of keeping this material. Training should be enough to accomplish the goal.

There are exclusions for a few acceptable uses of copyright material, specifically mentioned are criticism, quotation and parody.

Even so, be careful. You could lose your website and pay a stiff fine if the EU or a member country sues you for copyright content on your site.

The issue goes beyond your site, too, and includes any content you post on social media. Your content needs to be free from copyright material. You are at risk, alongside the social media company that receives your post.

CNBC posted a detailed story on the new regulation that can give you more details that will help you stay on the good side of the regulations. Check it out here:

YouTube and its users face an existential threat from the EU’s new copyright directive

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