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EU Parliament Adopts Copyright Directive, Including ‘Article 13’


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The European Parliament has adopted the new Copyright Directive. This includes the widely contested Article 13, which was renumbered to Article 17 in the final text. Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda sees it as a "dark day for Internet freedom," but many copyright holders are happy with the result.

eu-copyright.jpgIn 2016, the European Commission first announced its plans to modernize EU copyright law.

Initially, the plans received little mainstream attention, but over the past year that changed drastically.

Article 13 and Article 11 of the Copyright Directive, which were renamed to Article 17 and Article 15 in the final text, were highly contested. Opponents repeatedly warned that the former would lead to “upload filters” and censorship, and the latter was framed as a “link tax.”

At the same time, many rightsholder groups, publishers, and other members of the creative industry embraced the proposals. They saw it as a much-needed lifeline to ensure fair remuneration on the Internet.

Today, the European Parliament voted on the final text of the proposed Directive.

First up was a proposal to reject the entire Copyright Directive. This was rejected with 443 votes against and 181 in favor. A subsequent vote to allow amendments to the text of the directive was also rejected, although that was very close with 317 in favor and 312 against

Parliament then moved on to vote on the entire text of the Copyright Directive without any changes, including the renumbered Article 13 and Article 11.

With 348 Members of Parliament in favor, 274 against, and 36 abstentions, the Copyright Directive was adopted.

 

vote2.png
The vote

The decision comes as a major disappointment to Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda, who has been one of the most vocal opponents of the Copyright Directive.

Earlier today she urged her colleagues to reject the plans and moments ago described the outcome of the vote as a “dark day for internet freedom.” Reda, who’s the Vice-President of the Greens/EFA Group, says they will continue to fight against this new European law.

“The new copyright law as it stands threatens a free internet as we know it: Algorithms cannot distinguish between actual copyright infringements and the perfectly legal re-use of content for purposes such as parody,” Reda notes. 

“Obliging platforms to use upload filters will lead to more frequent blocking of legal uploads and make life difficult for smaller platforms that cannot afford expensive filter software,” she adds.

Article 13 (now 17),  requires many for-profit Internet platforms to license content from copyright holders. If that is not possible, they should ensure that infringing content is taken down and not re-uploaded to their services.

Many rightsholder groups are pleased with the outcome. Frances Moore,  CEO of the music group IFPI, was quick to thank lawmakers for their efforts and is looking forward to seeing the changes implemented.

“This world-first legislation confirms that User-Upload Content platforms perform an act of communication to the public and must either seek authorization from rightsholders or ensure no unauthorized content is available on their platforms.

“The Directive also includes a ‘stay down’ provision requiring platforms to keep unlicensed content down – another global first,” Moore adds.

With support from the European Parliament, the Copyright Directive will now be sent to the Council, which has to formally adopt the law. This is likely to take place in two weeks, on April 9.

There still is a chance that a member state such as Germany withdraws its support in the Council, which would mean that further negotiations are required. This could introduce delays beyond the European elections on May 23, 2019.

If the Copyright Directive is adopted by the Council, EU member states will have to implement the text in local legislation. This won’t happen right away could take up to two more years.

 

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I see nothing bad in this, help the big corporations earn more & more  money and in return get your pockets filled. 😡

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The AchieVer

Article 13: Memes exempt as EU backs controversial copyright law

 
 
A protestor holds a banner reading "No meme is illegal" during the "Save The Internet" demonstration in Berlin, GermanyImage copyrightEPA
Image caption'No meme is illegal': Protests were held against the copyright law changes

Copyright laws which critics say could change the internet have been voted in by the European Parliament.

 

The new rules, including the controversial Article 13, will hold tech firms responsible for material posted without copyright permission.

 

Sharing memes and GIFs will still be allowed under the new laws.

Many musicians and creators say the legislation will compensate artists fairly - but others argue that they will destroy user-generated content.

 

Copyright is the legal right that allows an artist to protect how their original work is used.

 

Tech companies have argued that artists are already paid fairly under the current system. Google said it would "harm Europe's creative and digital industries".

 

High-profile figures who have campaigned against the EU Copyright Directive include Wyclef Jean and web inventor Sir Tim Berners Lee, while Debbie Harry and Sir Paul McCartney have been among its supporters. 

Sir Tim Berners-LeeImage copyrightPETER MACDIARMID
Image captionWeb pioneer Sir Tim Berners-Lee has warned about the possible consequences of copyright changes

It has taken several revisions for the current legislation, which was was backed by 348 MEPs, with 278 against, to reach its final form.

It is now up to member states to approve the decision. If they do, they will have two years to implement it once it is officially published.

The two clauses causing the most controversy are known as Article 11 and Article 13. 

  • Article 11 states that search engines and news aggregate platforms should pay to use links from news websites. 
  • Article 13 holds larger technology companies responsible for material posted without a copyright licence. Tech companies already remove music and videos which are copyrighted, but under the new laws they will be more liable for any copyrighted content.

It means they would need to apply filters to content before it is uploaded. 

Article 13 does not include cloud storage services and there are already existing exemptions, including parody, which, for example, includes memes.

Memes 'excluded'

It was Article 13 which prompted fears over the future of memes and GIFs - stills, animated or short video clips that go viral - since they mainly rely on copyrighted scenes from TV and film.

 

Critics claimed Article 13 would have made it nearly impossible to upload even the tiniest part of a copyrighted work to Facebook, YouTube, or any other site.

However, specific tweaks to the law made earlier this year made memes safe "for purposes of quotation, criticism, review, caricature, parody and pastiche".

 

The European Parliament said that memes would be "specifically excluded" from the directive, although it was unclear how tech firms would be able to enforce that rule with a blanket filter.

The Getty stock image which became the "distracted boyfriend" memeImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionThis Getty stock image became the "distracted boyfriend" meme

MEP for London Mary Honeyball said: "There's no problem with memes at all. This directive was never intended to stop memes and mashups.

 

"I think that's doom-mongering. People who carry out their business properly have nothing to worry about at all."

'Massive blow'

Robert Ashcroft, chief executive of PRS for Music, which collects royalties for music artists, welcomed the directive as "a massive step forward" for consumers and creatives.

 

"It's about making sure that ordinary people can upload videos and music to platforms like YouTube without being held liable for copyright - that responsibility will henceforth be transferred to the platforms," he said.

However the campaign group Open Knowledge International described it as "a massive blow" for the internet.

 

"We now risk the creation of a more closed society at the very time we should be using digital advances to build a more open world where knowledge creates power for the many, not the few," said chief executive Catherine Stihler.

Google said that while the latest version of the directive was improved, there remained "legal uncertainty".

 

"The details matter and we look forward to working with policy-makers, publishers, creators and rights holders, as EU member states move to implement these new rules," it said. 

 

Kathy Berry, senior lawyer at Linklaters, said more detail was required about how Article 13 would be enforced.

 

"While Article 13 may have noble aims, in its current form it functions as little more than a set of ideals, with very little guidance on exactly which service providers will be caught by it or what steps will be sufficient to comply," she said.

 

European Parliament Rapporteur Axel Voss said the legislation was designed to protect people's livelihoods.

 

"This directive is an important step towards correcting a situation which has allowed a few companies to earn huge sums of money without properly remunerating the thousands of creatives and journalists whose work they depend on," he said.

 

"It helps make the internet ready for the future, a space which benefits everyone, not only a powerful few."

 

 

 

 

 

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Europe just passed sweeping new copyright rules that Big Tech hates

 

 

Europe is changing the internet again.

 

Lawmakers have approved a sweeping overhaul of copyright rules, dealing a blow to major tech companies that argued the changes will be costly and limit free expression.

 

The European Parliament voted Tuesday to approve fiercely contested changes that make platforms such as YouTube responsible for copyright infringements committed by their users.

 

Sites like Google News could also be required to pay publishers for using snippets of their content.

 

The proposal was opposed by tech companies, which warned they would need to build expensive content filters and stop linking to publications. Internet activists argued that the changes would lead to censorship.

 

On the other side of the two-year battle were record labels, artists and media companies. They said reforms were needed to update copyright protections for the internet age and to ensure they’re fairly paid for content.

 

This is the latest flashpoint between tech giants and European officials, who have taken a much more robust approach than the United States over competition issues, data protection (think GDPR) and tax.

 

Antonio Tajani, the president of the European Parliament, said the vote would “put an end to the existing digital Wild West by establishing modern rules.”

 

Critics say provisions included in the bill are far too broad and could hit material that is not protected by copyright, such as quotations or parody. They warn the law could even kill off internet memes.

Creating work for lawyers

Proponents of the bill said those claims are exaggerated, reflecting the high degree of uncertainty about how the law will be applied.

 

Google said the measure will “lead to legal uncertainty and will hurt Europe’s creative and digital economies.”

 

“The details matter, and we look forward to working with policy makers, publishers, creators and rights holders as EU member states move to implement these new rules,” the company said in a statement.

 

Eleonora Rosati, a lawyer and copyright expert at the University of Southampton, said that courts will play a key role in interpreting the law.

 

“Some of the concepts are meant to be flexible, so that they will give room for flexible interpretation … but of course that also leaves room for significant uncertainty,” she said.

 

Critics of the law have argued that its vague wording will encourage tech companies to preemptively block content, and avoid linking to news websites, in order to stay out of trouble.

Julia Reda, a member of European Parliament from Germany, said the vote marked a “dark day for internet freedom.”

 

The vote Tuesday paves the way for the bill to become law once it has been endorsed by the European Council, which represents the bloc’s member states. The European Council has said it will approve the measure, but implementation will take two years.

 

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Article 13: EU approves controversial copyright law

 

Services like YouTube, Facebook and Google News will feel the effects the most, but memes, gifs and snippets are "protected more than ever before."

 

The European Parliament on Tuesday voted in favor of a controversial new law that will bring sweeping reforms to how copyrighted content posted online is governed. The legislation was adopted with 348 votes in favor and 274 against.

 

For proponents of digital rights, the decision comes as a huge blow after over a year of campaigning to uphold what they see as the integrity of the internet. Member of the European Parliament Julia Reda, one of the most vocal critics of the directive, said on Twitter that the vote signals a "dark day for internet freedom."

 

Years in the making, the EU Copyright Directive has been heavily debated and divisive among politicians, as well as a cause of concern for the tech industry. One part of the proposal in particular -- Article 13, which will govern the way copyrighted content is uploaded to the internet -- has many in the tech community throwing their hands up in despair.

 

Under the law, internet platforms will be liable for content that users upload, a burden that will fall heavily on some of the most popular online services.

 

"YouTube, Facebook and Google News are some of the internet household names that will be most directly affected by this legislation," the European Parliament said in a statement.

 

The effects of the law may be felt well beyond Europe's borders, given the global nature of the internet and the need for tech companies to come up with policies that can be broadly applied. That's what happened after the EU enacted the privacy-focused General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, in May 2018.

 

Critics said legislators had turned a deaf ear to a wide range of experts and to the general population.

 

"In a stunning rejection of the will [of] five million online petitioners, and over 100,000 protestors this weekend, the European Parliament has abandoned common sense and the advice of academics, technologists, and UN human rights experts, and approved the Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive in its entirety," said rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation in a blog post.

 

Before the text can be adopted in European law, it must next be approved by the Council of the European Union. It's still possible that the directive may not be passed by the Council, but that would involve at least one key country changing its mind. A vote is expected to take place April 9.

 

After EU member states themselves accept the text of the directive, it will take effect after publication in the official journal and member states will have two years to implement it. 

 

The European Parliament has abandoned common sense.

 

A second section of the directive, Article 11, says search engines and news aggregators will be charged to display snippets of news they're linking to (known as a link tax). That will be another source of frustration for tech companies.

 

Back in January, Google said it may have to pull its news service from Europeentirely if the directive passes in its current state. Screenshots captured by Search Engine Land showed how Google news results could appear in Europe if Google doesn't pay the tax. (Spoiler alert: They're just a bunch of empty boxes.) Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment following the outcome of the vote.

 

How the law hits home

The European Parliament says that the directive is meant to ensure that longstanding rights and obligations of copyright law also apply to the internet. Article 13 dictates that anyone sharing copyrighted content must get permission from rights owners -- or at least have made the best possible effort to get permission -- before doing so.

 

"This directive is an important step towards correcting a situation which has allowed a few companies to earn huge sums of money without properly remunerating the thousands of creatives and journalists whose work they depend on," Axel Voss, the European Parliament rapporteur, said in a statement.

 

In order to enforce this, internet platforms will likely have to use upload filters to evaluate anything they put online. Even the wealthiest online services such as Facebook and YouTube, which have spent years developing this technology, haven't been able to prove pre-moderation of content is a foolproof method for preventing content from surfacing online that shouldn't be there.

 

The 'meme', the 'gif', the 'snippet' are now protected more than ever before.

 

Ahead of the vote on Tuesday, EU Commissioner for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip pointed out that nothing in the text of the legislation stipulates the use of upload filters. But it's hard to imagine a way in which tech platforms and social networks could otherwise realistically comply with the rules.

 

But the copyright directive also stopped short of some of the restrictions many had feared. It will, for instance, allow uploading of material to noncommercial sites such as Wikipedia and to open-source platforms including GitHub. Startup platforms also will face light obligations than more established ones, which may soften the blow for those worried that only the biggest and wealthiest may be able to afford to comply with the legislation.

 

Github welcomed the exception granted to open-source platforms, but noted that the directive still poses challenges for software developers.

 

"Anyone developing a platform with EU users that involves sharing links or content faces great uncertainty," Tal Niv, GitHub's vice president of law and policy, said in a statement Tuesday. "The ramifications include being unable to develop features that web users currently expect, and having to implement very expensive and inaccurate automated filtering."

 

Meanwhile, the wacky, creative side of the internet got a reprieve.

 

"We listened to the concerns raised and chose to doubly guarantee the freedom of expression," Voss said. "The 'meme', the 'gif', the 'snippet' are now protected more than ever before."

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@dufus: Topics merged.

 

 

Really crappy thing this.

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10 hours ago, mp68terr said:

Under this new law, would you have the right to copy/paste this news?

If its outside EU then no problem.

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