Members of the European Parliament voted in favour of the controversial Copyright Directive (The Verge) by 438-226. Negotiations with the European Commission and the 28 European Union countries will follow to bring together their different positions before updating current copyright laws.
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In July, the EU Parliament had decided to back down on a copyright law proposal that experts have said is an ”imminent threat” to the internet, after a public backlash.
Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Julia Reda, who has been heavily involved with the issue, writes on her website that there has been no ”broad consensus around an alternative plan. Consequently, over 200 individual proposals for changes were filed.”
The copyright directive in question became a matter of controversy earlier this year, because of proposals for the creation of a “link tax”, which would mandate that online platforms obtain licenses for quoted snippets of text accompanying links to news articles. Also proposed were mandatory automated “upload filters” for online platforms, that would check files for potential copyright violations before allowing users to upload them.
While technologists and internet activists have been mostly united in condemning the proposals, the artistic community, whose rights this directive is manifestly aiming to protect, has been split on the issue. On one side, notable statements in support of the proposals include a letter from musician Paul McCartney, as well as a petition signed by 165 filmmakers at the Venice Film Festival last week. On the other, there have been voices such as writer Neil Gaiman and actor Stephen Fry who have come out firmly against the proposals.