Copyright Proof Cakes

Speculative design about Article 13 and its dangerous effects

2019

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The EU “Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market”, known to be containing the infamous Article 13, is a legislation carried out in 2019 which supposedly helps creators to have better control over their work across the internet. When it will be implemented in 2021, every website will be accountable for their user-generated content to not contain copyrighted work. The problem lies in the fact that algorithms will have to take this job, even though they have time to time proven to fail in the task of choosing what is appropriate and what not regarding the use of copyrighted content. A problem which can easily fall into censorship.

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Copyright Proof Cakes is an imaginary company selling cakes with cartoon themed icing prints which don’t get recognized by upload filters (copyright algorithms). This is achieved by altering the image so that algorithms won’t detect its copyright ownership. When Article 13 will be implemented on the web, not only our virtual life, but also our real life will get altered by it. We will not be able to have a kid’s birthday cake with Elsa on it, because the moment we want to share it on social media it will get blocked by upload filters. This is where Copyright Proof Cakes come in. The distorted figures placed in a familiar context (kid’s birthday party) imply the inability of freely showing them and the correlation to a new sort of censorship. While there is a humorous factor in seeing beloved characters distorted, a sense of dystopian nightmare gets us feeling uncomfortable.

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This will not be a solution to the injustice, but an acceptance and adaptation to the new normal. All around the internet people will adapt with various techniques, we will try to understand where the limit lies on which copyright gets detected, but we will not be able to escape this radical change.

Articles about the project:

DesignBoom - Fabian mosele bakes 'copyright proof cakes' to trick article 13 algorithms

FastCompany - These birthday cakes are designed to evade YouTube’s controversial copyright algorithm