EU Passes Oppressive Copyright Rules That Could Ruin the Web


The impact, its critics say, could mean a substantially more closed internet of the future. "[The warnings] are correct, but exaggerated".

"Wikipedia famously shut down its Italian page in July in protest at the proposals, claiming that if the proposed new rules came into effect, they could force its closure".

Article 13 will require certain companies - such as YouTube and Facebook - to stop users from sharing copyrighted material, without a proper licence.

The European Commission, which began the debate two years ago, say thenew laws are necessary to level the playing field between online platforms and publishers, broadcasters and artists. Web services large and small might decide to implement the directive globally, which would diminish American users' capacity to share memes, political satire, or news articles online.

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Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the British Phonographic Industry and Brit Awards, said: "This vote is great news for music fans and for anyone who values exciting and original online entertainment".

Some also worry about the cost and reliability of automated filters.

"The European Parliament just endorsed a #linktax that would make using the title of a news article in a link to it require a license", Julia Reda, MEP for the Pirate Party, posted on Twitter. YouTube said it spent over $100 million on an existing content ID system that identifies copyrighted material after it's published.

The changes - the first time Brussels is updating copyright laws since 2001 - aim to adapt to the digital age by tipping the scales back from big online platforms like Google and Facebook to the "content creators" that feed them: musicians, photographers, journalists, etc. It's an unprecedented move from the European Parliament to limit the more innovative and sharing aspects of the internet.

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The Computer and Communications Industry Association, an industry group whose members include Amazon, eBay and Pandora, has also campaigned against the law.

The text MEPs settled on compromised on ways news organisations will charge companies for links to content, with platforms free to use "a few words" of text, according to a key amendment.

Supporters argue the rule will safeguard media pluralism in Europe, but major tech companies have lobbied heavily against it. Not least because, well, there's no actual plan for how the European Union is going to implement Articles 11 and 13.

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