European Parliament gives controversial copyright law the nod

Tyrone Stewart

EU flagEU lawmakers have voted in favour of a controversial copyright law overhaul which could change the way internet companies are forced to manage content uploaded by their users.

The Copyright Directive had previously been voted on in July. Here, MEPs voted against the Directive due to them being critical of Articles 11 and 13 of the proposed law. However, changes were made to these sections and MEPs this time around – 438 voting to approve the new copyright rules compared to the 226 against and 39 abstentions.

“I am very glad that despite the very strong lobbying campaign by the internet giants, there is now a majority in the full house backing the need to protect the principle of fair pay for European creatives,” said Axel Voss, the German MEP leading the copyright overhaul charge.

“There has been much heated debate around this directive and I believe that Parliament has listened carefully to the concerns raised. Thus, we have addressed concerns raised about innovation by excluding small and micro platforms or aggregators from the scope.

“I am convinced that once the dust has settled, the internet will be as free as it is today, creators and journalists will be earning a fairer share of the revenues generated by their works, and we will be wondering what all the fuss was about.”

Article 11 of Directive had been dubbed ‘link tax’ for its requirement that online content sharing platforms and news aggregators – like Google News and Apple News – have to provide fair pay to publishers.

Meanwhile, Article 13 – labelled ‘upload filter’ – forces copyright laws to be actively enforced by firms like Facebook, YouTube, and Reddit.

There is still long process to go through before the Directive becomes an official law and the final round of voting won’t be until January – though it’s expected that the decision will stand.

“It is obviously a disappointing outcome,” said Philipp Schindler, SVP and CBO at Google. “I think it’s bad for creators, it’s bad for entrepreneurs, it’s bad for innovators. I don’t think it’s a good decision for Europe, or for European consumers. Obviously, we’ll be keeping a close eye on it.”