European Union okays tougher copyright rules in blow to Google, FB

EU Approves Controversial Copyright Directive

The law was adopted by the European Council on Monday after it was approved by the European Parliament last month. U.S. Internet giants such as Google and Facebook fought a public campaign against the legislation.

An EU statement said "the new rules ensure adequate protection for authors and artists, while opening up new possibilities for accessing and sharing copyright-protected content online throughout the European Union".

"Information society service providers, like news aggregators or media monitoring services, will be required to honour the new press publishers" right, but there will be limitations to what the new right protects. Platforms like YouTube, Facebook or Instagram will be responsible for filtering out copyrighted content uploaded by their users.

Juncker called the copyright directive the "missing piece of the puzzle" when it comes to the digital age. The other controversial clause, the Link Tax, Article 15 in the final directive although formerly Article 11, may cause news aggregation sites to withdraw from Europe rather than face the uncertainty of lawsuites. "Europe will now have clear rules that guarantee fair remuneration for creators, strong rights for users and responsibility for platforms".

The Directive was amended to exclude memes and gifs from its purvey, as they come under provisions safeguarding "quotation, criticism, review, caricature, parody or pastiche".

There were many critics of the directive, including Google (unsurprisingly).

"This is a milestone for the development of a robust and well-functioning digital single market". Platforms will now be forced to police copyrighted material through tools like filters.

It isn't just Europe that will feel the impact of this ill-conceived legislation.

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