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The EU has just passed a controversial overhaul of copyright law

14 September 2018

The creation of a new neighbouring right for press publishers will make sharing news articles online more difficult, making it harder for the public to find good quality journalism online.

"Requirements for platforms to filter all user uploaded content will likely result in a reduced user experience and the over-removal of legitimate content".

The Commission stands ready to start working with the European Parliament and the Council of the EU, so that the directive can be approved as soon as possible, ideally by the end of 2018. Users and certain technology providers are less enthusiastic, in particular about the feared negative impact of the Directive on internet freedom. They say provisions created to prevent streaming and sharing of pirated music and video are far too broad.

"These rules would ensure that the next Facebook or Google can not come from Europe", said Julia Reda, a German lawmaker who has opposed the draft law. "Perfectly legal content like parodies and memes will be caught in the crosshairs".

Some also worry about the cost and reliability of automated filters. YouTube said it spent over $100 million on an existing content ID system that identifies copyrighted material after it's published.

Despite successfully pushing the Spanish government into placing restrictions on Google News and requiring the platform to pay originators for the preview material it uses, news outlets found their traffic down up to 15 percent when Google retaliated by removing the feature from the country in its entirety. It's an unprecedented move from the European Parliament to limit the more innovative and sharing aspects of the internet.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association, whose members include Google, Facebook, Amazon and Mozilla, urged a more balanced approach in the forthcoming talks between lawmakers, the Commission and European Union governments. Article 11 would require internet companies such as Facebook and Google to pay newspapers, magazines and agencies for posting links of their work.

Tech companies have fought strongly against the rules and protests delayed the vote for several months. Just as critical to tomorrow's vote is ensuring the rights of Europe's journalists to fulfill their role as public watchdogs - which could be seriously limited by the reintroduction of Article 11. That would include "snippets" where only a small part of a news publisher's text is displayed. When Spain tried something similar, Google shuttered its Google News product.

The EU has just passed a controversial overhaul of copyright law