The European Union has finally reached an agreement on how to rewrite its two-decade-old copyright laws after intense two-year negotiations.
Aiming to ensure a level playing field between its creatives and tech giants, European Parliament deputies and negotiators from the EU, along with the European Commission, have reached an agreement after three days of closed-door negotiations in Strasbourg.
The agreement that has been reached could mean higher revenue for publishers, broadcasters, and artists from online platforms, but could also mean that smaller players will have to pay a higher cost as the implementation of the deal would take for them to install upload filters.
The new rules will mean that platforms like YouTube must take down user-generated content that is in breach of intellectual property rules.
A compromise brokered by France and Germany nearly caused the negotiations to collapse in January, due to disagreements between different EU countries. That proposal weakening the legislation as any platform with revenue of under €10 million a year and fewer than 5 million monthly users would be treated differently and subjected to a more relaxed framework forced the rest of the EU to agree.
“Agreement reached on copyright! Europeans will finally have modern copyright rules fit for the digital age with real benefits for everyone: guaranteed rights for users, fair remuneration for creators, clarity of rules for platforms,” tweeted the EU’s Vice President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip.
When the European Commission opened up the debate two years ago, it argued that the existing rules needed to be overhauled to protect the bloc’s cultural heritage and make sure that publishers, broadcasters, and artists were remunerated fairly.
The issue pitted Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Mozilla, other tech companies and even Wikipedia against publishers, among them Germany’s Axel Springer, and other creators of content, triggering intense lobbying on both sides. The tech companies attempted to warn politicians that a massive trove of videos and information would become unavailable to European users if the copyright legislation passed.
The agreement now needs approval from the European Parliament before it can come into force.