Published: Wed, April 17, 2019
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

European Union approves copyright changes that could affect social media content

European Union approves copyright changes that could affect social media content

European Member States now have two years to incorporate the directive into their national; legislation.

Poland had been one of a handful of member states who voted against the plans, along with Italy, Finland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Sweden.

But 19 countries, including France and Germany, endorsed the revamp, while Belgium, Estonia and Slovenia abstained.

Even some member states that voted in favour of the reforms did so with explicit reservations.

Article 17 makes firms liable for content uploaded to their website, which could lead to the use of upload filters to vet content before it appears online.

Google and Facebook will now be forced to enter into licencing agreements with artists, musicians and journalists to display their work for the first time, signalling a potential shift in the economics of the web. Under the new regime, sharing platforms will have to install filters to prevent users from uploading copyrighted materials.

However, the provisions were subsequently amended and supporters of the reforms have said the changes ensure newly emerging platforms are not exposed to the same burdens as more established platforms, and that there are other safeguards on freedom of expression.

However, there remained a degree of controversy over the reform, with particular attention directed at Articles 17 and 15.

Today the Council of the European Union gave its green light to the new Copyright Directive which will bring concrete benefits to citizens, the creative sectors, the press, researchers, educators, and cultural heritage institutions. For example, the use of "snippets' of content will continue to be permitted without the need for permission from press publishers where the snippet constitutes a "very short extract" or "individual words".

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