EU member states approve contentious copyright reform

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EU member states approve contentious copyright reform

Deutsche Welle

EU member states approve contentious copyright reform
EU member states approve contentious copyright reform. picture-alliance/dpa/R. Knipping
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A controversial reform of EU copyright law aimed at ensuring the rights of artists and news publishers in the digital age was approved at a final vote by the bloc’s member states on Monday. At the vote, held on the sidelines of a meeting of agriculture ministers in Luxembourg, 19 members were in favor and six were against, with three abstentions

The package has faced bitter criticism from those who fear it could obstruct the free exchange of information and creativity on the internet. Supporters of the reforms say, however, that they will ensure fair remuneration for those producing content displayed online.

Read more: Opinion: EU online copyright reform won’t break the internet

What is the reform?

The draft law will mean that:

  • Social media platforms will have to ensure uploaded content is not in breach of copyright rules.
  • Companies will need licensing agreements with rights holders such as musicians, performers and authors to use their content.
  • The likes of Google News will have to pay publishers for press snippets shown in search results.
  • Nonprofits and encyclopedias such as Wikipedia will still be able to use data for research and educational purposes.
  • Fledgling companies with an annual turnover below €10 million ($11.3 million) are exempt.

Why the reform?

European copyright law dates back to 2001, and the European Court of Justice has long been calling for it to be modernized in line with the digital era. EU officials are aware of the fact that a lot of copyrighted material ends up online without the original owners being fairly remunerated.

Read more:German Wikipedia goes offline in protest over EU copyright law

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