Wednesday, 26 June, 2019

European Union approves tougher European Union copyright rules in blow to Google, Facebook

EU Approves Controversial Copyright Directive Overhaul of EU copyright laws clears final hurdle
Patty Aguilar | 17 April, 2019, 17:39

Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Finland and Sweden were among the countries which voted against, and Belgium, Estonia and Slovenia opted to abstain from voting.

This latest development marks the final hurdle in the legislative process after Members of European Parliament (MEPs) voted to adopt the Directive last month, with 348 votes in favour, 274 against and 36 abstentions.

"We believe that the Directive in its current form is a step back for the Digital Single Market rather than a step forward".

Under the new rules, online platforms, including Google, Facebook, and Twitter, will need to sign licensing agreements with authors, journalists, publishers, musicians, and actors if they want to use their content online. "Europe will now have clear rules that guarantee fair remuneration for creators, strong rights for users and responsibility for platforms".

Juncker called the copyright directive the "missing piece of the puzzle" when it comes to the digital age.

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According to the press release there is no reason for concern at all.

All of the aforementioned countries, bar Sweden, had committed to a joint statement ahead of the vote, saying that the directive "does not strike the right balance between the protection of rights holders and the interests of European Union citizens and companies".

Article 17 makes firms liable for content uploaded to their website, which could lead to the use of upload filters to vet content before it appears online.

Still, the directive allows users to generate and upload content freely for purposes of quotation, criticism, review, caricature, parody and pastiche. They point out that while large sites such as YouTube will be largely unaffected, it will threaten the existence of smaller sites.

Article 15 of the new Directive has also proved controversial. One of the the Internet's strengths is being global and not restricted by borders.

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