European Union takes first step towards passing controversial copyright law

EU copyright reforms draw fire from internet luminaries as key vote looms

EU copyright reforms draw fire from internet luminaries as key vote looms

"The importance of today's vote can not be overstated; this proposal is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a new balance in the online world", said Helen Smith, the executive chair of the European music body Impala, which represents labels behind acts including Adele, Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand. They will now go before a full European Parliament before final negotiations.

"Hundreds of academics, civil rights groups and the online sector have all opposed these measures", said Computer & Communications Industry Association Senior Policy Manager Maud Sacquet. Article 13 ensures that everything uploaded online in the European Union passes copyright checks.

The bigger issue, though, is how it could be used for nefarious purposes.

"These platforms make a considerable profit on the works uploaded by its users, so they can't simply hide behind the argument that it is the users who are uploading, while the platform is making money from it".

Article 11, the change which will see the likes of Facebook and Google pay publishers a fee to link to news content has been dubbed a "link tax" by opponents.

Reda is one of the most outspoken critics of the copyright proposals. I am happy that this right is now recognised. "They understand the internet better than the people who invented it, apparently".

"What is at stake is the survival of journalism and the protection of the quality of journalistic work". "Fair remuneration for creators is important, but consumers should not be at the losing end". The internet is only as useful as the content that populates it.

The group's shadow rapporteur Julia Reda said the draft will "seriously undermine basic internet freedoms".

Another Twitter user tweeted: "15 MEPs voted for upload filtering".

"These measures will break the internet". People will run into trouble doing everyday things like discussing the news and expressing themselves online.

"Putting the special interests of large media companies ahead of our ability to participate freely online is unacceptable", she said.

The theory is that this would help support smaller news publishers and drive users to their homepages rather than directly to their news stories. Victor Finn, CEO of IMRO, said: "This vote is the welcome result of a sustained campaign by IMRO and our European counterparts to ask the political system in Ireland and beyond to value creativity and the arts as much as technology".

As a result, any service that allows users to post text, sound, or video for public consumption must also implement an automatic filter to scan for similarities to known copyrighted works, censoring those that match. Amendments to the rules include the length of publisher's right to content; parliament passed a rights period of five years, down from the original duration of 20 years.

The second controversial provision of the legislation is Article 11, which The Verge describes as a Link Tax.

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