EU member states approve contentious copyright reform

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Why is it controversial?

The reform has been subject to two years of bitter debate and has provoked major street protests across Europe. The package has been opposed largely by tech giants, which make huge profits from advertising on content they host, and by supporters of a free internet. Among other things, critics fear the installation of “upload filters” that could catch and delete legal content by error, thus hampering the free exchange of information. Publishers and artists have been in favor of the reforms, as they have often lost out on essential revenue when the content they produce has been made accessible free of charge on the internet.

Read more: New EU copyright law: Will upload filters destroy the internet as we know it?

What was Article 13?

One of the most hotly debated features of the reform has been Article 13, which would require social media platforms to make sure before they upload content that it does not violate copyright laws. This could lead to the use of the above-mentioned upload filters. In the finalized bill, Article 13 is now called Article 17.

Read more: Article 13: Will it hinder or promote artistic expression?

How did Germany vote?

The German government agreed at the last minute to approve the bill. However, in a statement to the minutes, it was to stress that the use of upload filters was not going to be made compulsory in Germany, according to government sources cited by the Reuters news agency.

What happens now?

The measures had already been approved by the European Parliament. Now final approval has been given by member states, their governments will have two years to implement the laws at a national level.

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