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EU approves tougher copyright rules in blow to Google, Facebook

17 April 2019

This latest development marks the final hurdle in the legislative process after Members of European Parliament (MEPs) voted to adopt the Directive last month, with 348 votes in favour, 274 against and 36 abstentions.

Nineteen countries endorsed the reform, including France and Germany. Six member states, including Italy and the Netherlands, voted against it. 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. It will force the tech companies to acquire licenses from creators before their work can be posted on platforms like YouTube and Google News. However, German ministers stressed in the minutes that "upload filters" would not be made mandatory in Germany.

Under the new rules, online platforms, including Google, Facebook, and Twitter, will need to sign licensing agreements with authors, journalists, publishers, musicians, and actors if they want to use their content online. The reforms included provisions known as 'Article 13. It also states that copyrighted material must be removed from videos.

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Today the Council of the European Union gave its green light to the new Copyright Directive which will bring concrete benefits to citizens, the creative sectors, the press, researchers, educators, and cultural heritage institutions.

In the agreed text of article 15, the reproduction of more than single words or very short extracts of a news story would require a licence.

Internet users have protested fearing the bill would make "upload filters" mandatory on all social platforms, barring users from putting up copyrighted content (which could be anything from a meme to a song used in the background).

EU approves tougher copyright rules in blow to Google, Facebook