EU lawmakers approve controversial copyright directive

EU lawmakers approve controversial copyright directive

The EU Parliament [official website] approved a controversial new copyright directive [text] on Wednesday that could force sites like Google and Facebook to install filters to prevent copyrighted material from being uploaded. The final vote was 438 in favor and 226 against.

The main controversy stems from Articles 11 and 13. Article 11 has allowed authors to have their digital publications protected from being exploited by websites other than the site on which it was originally posted. The directive would allow for this provision to expire 20 years after publication. The commentary preceding the finalized directive promises that the “protection does not extend to acts of hyperlinking which do not constitute communication to the public.” However, there is concern that publishers would be allowed to charge websites that aggregate together new articles from differing websites.

Article 13 calls for “information society service providers that store and provide to the public access to large amounts of works or other subject-matter uploaded by their users shall, in cooperation with rightholders, take measures to ensure the functioning of agreements concluded with rightholders for the use of their works or other subject-matter or to prevent the availability on their services of works or other subject-matter identified by rightholders through the cooperation with the service providers.” This means Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube and other user-sharing social media websites would be forced to remove videos and images that are copyrighted. This would inhibit social media users from sharing memes, images, or videos that contain clips of copyrighted music or film.

Now that it has passed, EU Parliament members are tasked with final editing before the Directive comes up for a final vote in January 2019.