The European Union is finally set to revise its two-decades-old copyright rules that are creating trouble for tech giants Google and Facebook. Under the new rule, Google and Facebook Inc. are forced to share revenue with the creators for the content that appears on their websites and remove copyright-protected content on YouTube and Instagram. The legislation, planned by the European Commission in 2016 and agreed to with the European Parliament and member states on Wednesday, is designed to help artists, musicians, publishers and other creators get fair payment for use of their content online and it could definitely shrink access to online media in Europe.
In other words, this revamp by European Union would require Google and other online platforms to sign licensing agreements with rights holders such as musicians, performers, authors, news publishers and journalists to use their work online. Popular video-sharing platform YouTube and Facebook’s Instagram mobile app and other platforms will have to install upload filters to prevent users from uploading copyrighted materials. Online platforms in existence for less than three years and with less than 3 million in Euros in revenue and which have fewer than 5 Mn monthly user are free from installing upload filter.
Moreover, it has been also noted that if artists and music producers decline to grant platforms licenses, then the tech firms will be required to remove or block uploads immediately. And if platforms don’t negotiate licenses with publishers, or if publishers do not claim their rights, web firms won’t be able to display longer fragments of news articles under headlines.
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EU digital chief Andrus Ansip mentioned in a tweet that “Agreement reached on #copyright! Europeans will finally have modern copyright rules fit for digital age with real benefits for everyone: Guaranteed rights for users, fair remuneration for content creators, clarity of rules for platforms”.
There are several views has been coming after this move. Recently, Julia Reda, a member of the European Parliament from Germany’s Pirate Party and opponent of the copyright package on concerns of censorship stated: “This law will fundamentally change the internet as we know it”.
In reply to the copyright agreement, Google spokesman Damien Roemer stated: “We’ll be studying the final text of the EU copyright directive and it will take some time to determine next steps.” He further added, “the details will matter, so we welcome the chance to continue conversations across Europe.”
Earlier, Spain and Germany tried to force Google to pay online publishers for taking snippets of their news articles but it was flopped after Google News pulled out from Spain and traffic of German publisher Axel Springer plunged after it sought to lump the search engine.
Well, the agreement on copyright still needs to be rubber-stamped by the European Parliament.