European Union votes to adopt 'upload filters' as part of internet copyright law

European Union votes to adopt 'upload filters' as part of internet copyright law

Article 13 would make big online platforms like YouTube and Facebook responsible for scanning content for anything copyrighted and ensuring the holders are paid a fair fee, which critics warn could extend to parodies and memes being "caught in the crosshairs". "Musicians and artists thrive when they collaborate and share", said Wyclef Jean, who is in Strasbourg arguing against the rules.

The Internet knowing no borders, however, it's possible that lawmakers in Bern will consider similar measures to the European Union at some stage in the future, intellectual property lawyer Anne-Virginie La Spada told the Le Temps newspaperexternal link - "if the European Union experiment is conclusive". The first, Article 11, will require tech companies to pay publishers when their content appears on services such as Google News.

It could particularly impact platforms like Facebook and Google's YouTube, which rely on user-generated content. Google has been accused of lobbying aggressively to prevent the directive from being passed into law.

The European Parliament has changed its collective mind and chosen Paul McCartney over Tim Berners-Lee - and the consequences for big tech and the future of the open internet could be enormous. Unlike many online publications, we don't have a paywall or run banner advertising, because we want to keep our journalism open, without influence or the need to chase traffic.

Among other things, the report calls for automatic filters of uploaded content that would identify copyrighted material.

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"These rules would ensure that the next Facebook or Google can not come from Europe", said Julia Reda, a German lawmaker who has opposed the draft law.

But the Computer and Communications Industry Association said it would "undermine free expression online and access to information".

Supporters say the rule will safeguard media pluralism in Europe. Backers say this protects creators and levels the playing field; opponents say it's death to the unfettered web, turning tech companies to content police. The rules also apply to snippets, where only a small part of a news publisher's text is indexed and displayed, for example, in search results. This proposal has sometimes been referred to as the "link tax". But the lawmakers behind the initiative argue that links are exempt.

The final version of the proposal must be approved by EU member states and the European Commission before it becomes law.

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