A controversial overhaul of the EU’s copyright law that sparked a fierce debate between internet giants and content creators has been rejected.
The proposed rules would have put more responsibility on websites to check for copyright infringements, and forced platforms to pay for linking to news.
A slew of high-profile music stars had backed the change, arguing that websites had exploited their content.
But opponents said the rules would stifle internet freedom and creativity.
The move was intended to bring the EU’s copyright laws in line with the digital age, but led to protests from websites and much debate before it was rejected by a margin of 318-278 in the European Parliament on Thursday.
What were they voting for?
The proposed legislation – known as the Copyright Directive – was an attempt by the EU to modernise its copyright laws, but it contained two highly-contested parts.
The first of these, Article 11, was intended to protect newspapers and other outlets from internet giants like Google and Facebook using their material without payment.
But it was branded a “link tax” by opponents who feared it could lead to problems with sentence fragments being used to link to other news outlets (like this).
Article 13 was the other controversial part. It put a greater responsibility on websites to enforce copyright laws, and would have meant that any online platform that allowed users to post text, images, sounds or code would need a way to assess and filter content.
The most common way to do this is by using an automated copyright system, but they are expensive. The one YouTube uses cost $60m (£53m), so critics were worried that similar filters would need to be introduced to every website if Article 13 became law.
There were also concerns that these copyright filters could effectively ban things like memes and remixes which use some copyrighted material.
Very glad to see common sense prevailing here. Have you ever thought about how strange it would be if you could bill someone every time they read your email or your reports? How do musicians think it’s ok to bill people when they are not playing?