European Union approves new copyright laws in blow to online sharing platforms

European Union approves new copyright laws in blow to online sharing platforms

This decision will likely heighten the tension between Brussels and Silicon Valley, following a series of multi-billion dollar fines and tax demands against technology behemoths Google, Amazon and Apple. Platforms like YouTube, Facebook or Instagram will be responsible for filtering out copyrighted content uploaded by their users.

In March, Wikipedia blacked out its pages in Europe in protest against the legislation.

"The entertainment lobby will not stop here, over the next two years, they will push for national implementations that ignore users' fundamental rights", tweeted Julia Reda, a German member of the European Parliament.

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".

Nineteen countries, including the United Kingdom, voted in favour, while six countries voted against and three abstained.

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An EU source said Italy, Finland, Sweden, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Poland voted against the controversial legislation. For example, Germany said that it must be the aim to render so-called "upload filters" largely unnecessary in practice.

According to the EC, the new Directive will boost high-quality journalism in the EU and offer better protection for European authors and performers.

"We believe that the Directive in its current form is a step back for the Digital Single Market rather than a step forward".

European Union member states will have two years to implement the reforms, although it is not clear what it would mean for the United Kingdom in the face of Brexit uncertainty. "Europe will now have clear rules that guarantee fair remuneration for creators, strong rights for users, and responsibility for platforms", Mr Juncker said.

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