EU makes progress with proposed copyright directive

The EU’s attempt to re-write its copyright legislation has been a long drawn out process. After more problems last month, however, the proposals are now set to be taken to lawmakers. In a recent vote, the majority of member states have now agreed on the position.

Poland, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Luxembourg, Malta, Finland, and Slovakia didn’t agree to the terms. Despite this, and as the others did agree, negotiations will now take place with the Commission and the European Parliament.

The current copyright legislation is over 20 years old. The attempts to update the legislation have been met with mixed reactions across the digital media world, with some hailing them as offering the protection the public need, and others labeling them a “tool for surveillance”.

The proposals were rejected initially after the debate was opened by the Commission two years ago. The Commission claims that the power between large firms and smaller artists and publishers needs to be rebalanced. They say that creativity is suffering as a result.

The disputes have been ongoing. Larger firms like Google and YouTube have heavily criticised the proposals, as they say, they will add unnecessary restrictions on online behaviour. A number of larger online companies would be affected, including eBay, Amazon Marketplace, Facebook Marketplace, Apple App Store, and Google Play.

Under article 11 of the proposals, these companies would be required by law to pay individual publishers every time they show snippets of news items. Article 13 would require online platforms, such as Instagram or Youtube, to apply filters to posts that use copyrighted material. There would also be additional restrictions on giants like Google and Apple.

On Twitter, EU digital chief Andrus Ansip welcomed the talks: “Glad to see EU countries once again finding a common voice on copyright reform … I hope for a final agreement next week. Europeans deserve copyright rules fit for digital age: it is good for creators, platforms and for regular internet users.”

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