The European Parliament on Tuesday approved the new Copyright Directive for online platforms, holding them liable for user uploaded content, except for materials such as memes, GIFs and hyperlinks to news articles.
The Directive aims to apply copyright law to the digital age, as well as to ensure that the internet remains a space for freedom of expression.
Under the new Directive, internet platforms will be directly liable for user uploaded content for any copyright infringement. News publishers will have rights to negotiate deals on behalf of its journalists for news stories used by news aggregators. In addition, the Directive protects the uploading of protected works for quotation, criticism or review, which means that GIFs and memes will continue to be shareable.
Non-commercial websites, such as Wikipedia, and open source software platforms, such as Github, will not be affected by the Directive. Start-up platforms, in contrast to the established ones, will be subject to lighter obligations.
Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip and Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel welcomed the outcome in a joint statement: “today’s vote ensures the right balance between the interests of all players—users, creators, authors, press—while putting in place proportionate obligations on online platforms.”
If the member states approve Parliament’s decision and accept the text, they will have two years to implement the new rules.