Member States approve tough copyright reform

Member States gave on Monday final approval for copyright reforms ensuring artists and news publishers get their due in the internet era. But the proposed reforms have triggered Europe-wide protests over internet freedom. At the vote 19 Member States voted in favour of the reform, with six against and three abstentions.

The reform was launched by the Commission two years ago to protect Europe's creative industries, which employ 11.7 million people in the bloc. “When it comes to completing Europe’s digital single market, the copyright reform is the missing piece of the puzzle,” Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a statement. The European Parliament gave a green light last month to a proposal that has pitted Europe’s creative industry against tech companies, internet activists and consumer groups.

Under the new rules, Google and other online platforms will have to sign licensing agreements with musicians, performers, authors, news publishers and journalists to use their work. Furthermore, Google-owned YouTube, Facebook's Instagram and other sharing platforms will have to install filters to prevent users from uploading copyrighted materials.

Wikipedia blacked out several European sites in protest last month, while the change was opposed by Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden. But 19 countries, including France and Germany, endorsed the revamp, while Belgium, Estonia and Slovenia abstained. Poland said the overhaul was a step backwards as the filter requirement may lay the foundation for censorship.

EU lawmaker for the European Pirate Party Julia Reda, who had campaigned against the reforms, said critics could take their case to court but it would be slow and difficult and that the best thing would be to monitor fair implementation.

Similar articles

  • High-level policy roundtable designs Europe that matters

    High-level policy roundtable designs Europe that matters

    Poll: 60% of Europeans aren't sure they would miss the EU if it were gone

    At a time when Europe is embarking on a new ambition to tackle a myriad of challenges it is facing at home and abroad, the citizens said that their enthusiasm for the EU is not flourishing, but on the contrary - it is withering. The latest poll of EU citizens, commissioned by the Brussels-based think tank Friends of Europe, throws light on what Europeans want from the EU, with regard to the priorities, tackling inequalities and having a bigger say. 

    12
  • Air pollution in Europe causes hundreds of thousands premature deaths

    Air pollution in Europe causes hundreds of thousands premature deaths

    Poor air across Europe caused up to 412,000 premature deaths in 2016, according to an EU report released last Wednesday. According to the European Environmental Agency, city dwellers across the continent are at risk of life-threatening air pollution, and Member States should take rapid action to tackle the issue. The report cited WHO figures that pointed at heart disease and stroke as the most common reasons for premature death due to air pollution, followed by lung diseases and lung cancer.

    8
  • Labour Authority starts working

    Labour Authority starts working

    The new agency will make cross-border business activities get smoother

    The European Labour Authority officially started its activities last Wednesday with an inaugural ceremony and the first meeting of its Management Board, the EU press service reported. The launch took place two years after EC President Jean-Claude Juncker announced the idea in his 2017 State of the Union address. The opening ceremony was held in Brussels with the participation of President Juncker, Slovakia's PM Peter Pellegrini, given the fact that namely Slovakia will host the new agency, Commission VPs Valdis Dombrovskis and Maros Sefcovic, Labour Commissioner Marianne Thyssen, etc.

    16