EU Approves Controversial Copyright Directive

EU Approves Controversial Copyright Directive

Overhaul of EU copyright laws clears final hurdle

Additionally, EU Member States finally adopted new rules to make it easier for European broadcasters to make certain programmes on their online services available across borders. The new rules were first proposed nearly three years ago and member states have two years before they need to add the directive into their national legislation.

But 19 countries, including France and Germany, endorsed the revamp, while Belgium, Estonia and Slovenia abstained.

Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson criticised the reforms last month, calling it a "classic European Union law to help the rich and powerful" and a "good example of how we can take back control".

Member states now have two years to implement the Directive on a national level. Accompanying statements emphasise regret that the legislative institutions have not been able to come up with a concept of copyright liability that all stakeholders deem fair and compelling. Platforms will now be forced to police copyrighted material through tools like filters. However, German ministers stressed in the minutes that "upload filters" would not be made mandatory in Germany. Two aspects of the reforms attracted particular scrutiny and comment.

Supporters in the creative, music and journalism industries have long argued that the Copyright Directive will enable content-makers to be fairly paid for their work, while opponents, including the tech giants themselves, fear the changes will have an impact on freedom of speech and expression online.

Various other reforms are also included in the text, including a new right for newspaper publishers and new exceptions to allow text and data mining. For example, the use of "snippets' of content will continue to be permitted without the need for permission from press publishers where the snippet constitutes a "very short extract" or "individual words".

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