Published: Tue, March 26, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

EU's controversial copyright directive will now become law after approval

EU's controversial copyright directive will now become law after approval

A softened version of the laws was then drawn up in September 2018.

Following intense debate, MEPs backed the draft law by 348 votes to 247 on Tuesday.

"The European Parliament has abandoned common-sense and the advice of academics, technologists, and United Nations human rights experts, and approved the Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive in its entirety", O'Brien wrote.

Two articles in particular are particularly contentious. Article 11, dubbed the "Link Tax" or "Snippet Tax" by critics, would require aggregators to pay licensing fees when they include excerpts of content when they link to other articles.

Under Article 13 - which deals with how copyrighted content is uploaded to the internet - tech giants like Google and Facebook will be liable for the content that's posted on their platforms. When first proposed, it sparked fears that it could essentially kill off memes.

Wojcicki said that the new law could pose a threat to "your ability to share your voice with the world".

MEPs also rejected making any individual amendments to the reforms, but only by a slim majority of five votes.

The creative sector, however, praised the steps.

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"This is a directive which protects people's living, safeguards democracy by defending a diverse media landscape, entrenches freedom of expression, and encourages start-ups and technological development".

If the Commission finds that the foreseen time arrangements could significantly, and permanently, hamper the proper functioning of the single market, it may submit a proposal to postpone the date of application of the directive by a maximum of 12 months, the text adopted by the European Parliament stipulates.

Julia Reda, a German MEP and vocal opponent of the move, described the decision as a "dark day for internet freedom".

But Google said the reforms would lead to legal uncertainty and hurt Europe's creative and digital economies.

"By approving Articles 11 and 13, the EU Parliament not only rubber stamped bad legislation, but also ignored the voices of millions of its own concerned constituents".

Reddit, Wikipedia, and PornHub were among those who protested the laws last week, asking users to lobby their representatives in the European Parliament to vote against the measures.

On Sunday, a group of 200 European academics wrote a joint statement condemning the reform.

Opponents claim they could restrict freedom of speech, hamper online creativity and force websites to install filters.

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