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Creative protection or ‘link tax’? European Union votes for controversial internet copyright law

14 September 2018

One of the approved proposals, known as Article 13, called for large companies such as Facebook and YouTube to be accountable for copyrighted work uploaded by their users. "We believe that such restrictions may be very harmful to the very idea of the internet, where people freely share information", he said.

Since it was first proposed in 2016, the copyright directive has become a battleground for artists, many of whom want to stop internet platforms from freely hosting their content, and internet activists, who fear the vaguely worded rules will crush freedom of expression on the internet.

The EU Copyright Directive will now be discussed by the European Union Council, Commission and Parliament to negotiate a final text for passage into law.

Article 11 would oblige internet firms to pay news outlets for reusing their content, while Article 13 would require web giants to automatically filter copyrighted material, such as songs or videos, unless they have been specifically licensed. "Therefore we need to establish a fair balance between European right-holders and the online platforms", he said. "Today the European parliamentarians proved they value the European independent press by voting for a publishers' right that will help ensure the sustainability of the European press sector". "I've worked with so many young artists - the future - who have sampled my music and succeeded". The proposals had been rejected in a vote in July and sent back to the European Commission to be amended.

Many of Parliament's groups were split on the vote, including the ECR.

The reform amounts to a tussle over money between European content publishers and platforms such as Google and Facebook, which benefit from connecting viewers and that content, writes Politico (whose owners are lobbying for the directive). Expect the web to change. "Parliament negotiators should take recognise that is still substantial opposition from MEPs to these proposals".

Conservative MEPs who backed the measures celebrated the move for "at last catching up with the digital age".

Critics - including the internet's creator, Sir Tim Berners-Lee - say the rules would lead to information on the internet being more hard to access.

Wider opportunities to use copyrighted material for education, research, cultural heritage and disability (through so-called "exceptions"). Intellectual property is the backbone of our creative industries and it must be protected online just as it already is in the analogue world.

Creative protection or ‘link tax’? European Union votes for controversial internet copyright law