This is more of a theoretical question, but have been having discussions with coworkers regarding this and cannot come to a conclusion.

With the passing of article 13 in the EU, if a site chooses to simply block users from within the EU from accessing their site (I'm aware this can be bypassed with vpns and whatnot), can anything be enforced regarding possibly 'copyrighted' content? If a site had few enough European visitors, the cost of having to filter out everything may far outweigh the drop in traffic.

It may be to early in the game to know yet, I'm unaware of the finer details of said article but have a generalized understanding of it.

Note: I've tagged with both EU and US because I'm currently located and host my sites in the US. Unsure if the EU even has legal authority over what I serve here.

To summarise my question: Does the EU have any legal power over my site if I take reasonable steps to block web clients from within the EU?

  • Welcome to Law.SE! Could you expand on your question? it seems like it could be a good question, but its unclear what you are asking. – A. K. Mar 28 '19 at 17:04
  • I interpret this question to "Does the EU have jurisdiction if I disallow EU-based connections to my website with regards to Article 13?" – GOATNine Mar 28 '19 at 17:09
  • @GOATNine This is pretty much what I'm asking. If I took reasonable measures to block users from the EU from accessing my site, would that protect me from said laws regarding user uploads – Mr Guy Mar 28 '19 at 17:14
  • I would suggest editing your question to reflect that then :). – GOATNine Mar 28 '19 at 17:15
  • Added summary, let me know if any more clarification is required! – Mr Guy Mar 28 '19 at 17:23

I try to reply here very briefly from my personal experience. Article 13 (now Article 17) is harmonization of copyright law, which is part of the civil law. (No EU will not go after you.) It is very difficult to go through a civil dispute even in a different member state of the EU. Only in very huge cases are considered international disputes effective. The content of Article 17 is very vague "effective and proportionate measures", "best efforts" etc. so there is a small chance to be successful. Harmonization of copyright laws has to be implemented in the member states of the EU. In other words, if you have no property in the EU, they can not enforce the law on you. I would not consider " Blocking EU users" as effective because copyright can be infringed even if a person outside of the EU has unauthorized access to the author's work. From my perspective there are two sides:

  1. You have to be in line objectively with Article 17 to not to be held responsible for violation of copyright otherwise it can be enforced in a civil proceeding, but
  2. even if the other party win the case, enforceability is very low if you are resident outside of the EU.
  • 1
    This was basically the consensus we reached too. I'm going to mark this as answer for time being. As for what constitutes a 'best effort' would probably be on a per-case basis as well, I'm assuming – Mr Guy Apr 19 '19 at 17:05

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