France - the first country to adopt EU copyright reform

The EU copyright directive is due to be adopted by all Member States by April next year, despite controversy

French Minister of Culture Franck Riester

The French parliament on Tuesday adopted the controversial EU copyright reform, aimed to ensure media are paid for original content, typically news, offered online by tech giants such as Google and Facebook. The revamp to European copyright legislation, adopted by the European Parliament in March, was agreed by the French lower chamber in a final reading, making France the first country to adopt it.

"We can be proud to be the first country to enshrine the EU directive into national law," said Culture Minister Franck Riester.

"This text is absolutely essential for our democracy and the survival of an independent and free press," he added. 

Major publishers including AFP have pushed hard for the reform, seeing it as an urgent remedy to safeguard quality journalism and help bolster plummeting earnings of traditional media companies. Yet, the so-called ‘upload filter’ and ‘link tax’ included in the directive were strongly opposed by internet freedom activists who say it cause  a censorship on free speech. In addition, ASIC, an association of tech companies which includes Google and Facebook, said there was insufficient clarification of what the so-called "neighbouring right" provision covered and did not define the best balance between free circulation of information and copyright protection.

Still, The EU copyright directive is now due to be adopted by all Member States by April next year.

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