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