The EU Council has approved a controversial copyright law aimed at guaranteeing that artists and news outlets receive their fair share of royalties for published material that appears online.
The proposed reforms have, however, triggered Europe-wide protests over internet freedom.
Germany threw its weight behind the new laws at the very last minute which helped push through the copyright reform with a final vote, which saw 19 EU members vote in favour, six – including The Netherlands, Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland and Sweden – vote against, and Belgium, Estonia, and Slovenia abstain.
The Copyright Directive was originally given the green light in March, thought it pitted Europe’s creative industry against global mega tech companies, internet activists, and consumer groups.
The EU executive started the procedure two years ago as it wanted to protect the bloc’s €915 billion creative industries which employ 11.65 million people. Supporters of the reforms, along with the European Commission, suggest that the new rules will ensure fair remuneration for those producing content displayed online.
Google’s YouTube, Facebook’s Instagram, and other sharing platforms will also have to install filters to prevent users from uploading copyrighted materials. Furthermore, social media platforms will have to ensure uploaded content is not in breach of copyright rules and the companies will need licensing agreements with rights holders such as musicians, performers, and authors to use their content.
Services like Google and Yahoo News will have to pay publishers for press snippets shown in search of the results. Wikipedia-like digital encyclopaedias will still be able to use data for research and educational purposes, according to the new rules that the individual EU members now have to transfer to their national laws within two years.