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EU passes copyright directives

Paul Brislen, Editor. 27 March 2019, 8:06 am

The European Union has passed its controversial new Copyright Directive, including its two contentious Articles 11 and 13.

It's now up to the member states to ratify the decision, and they then have two years to introduce legislation to support the decision.

The two articles require search engines and news aggregators to pay to link to news websites (Article 11) while Article 13 increases the level of responsibility for material posted without copyright licences.

Large-scale copyright holders have welcomed the decision while a number of high profile tech companies and individuals have decried the decision as the death of the web, at least for EU member states.

The BBC quotes Robert Ashcroft, chief executive of PRS for Music, which collects royalties for music artists, describing the move 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.

In a written statement, Google has said the directive will "lead to legal uncertainty and will hurt Europe's creative and digital economies."

Whether the directives will make any practical difference to the way sites like Google News share news links remains to be seen and will largely depend on how each member state interprets the directives, and the way their laws are enacted.

Meanwhile there is a growing call for governments to regulate the way tech companies handle issues like hate speech, obscene content and live video streaming - however copyright issues, it seems, are more pressing.


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