By 348 votes to 274 with 36 abstentions, the European Parliament plenary approved the new copyright rules, which include safeguards for freedom of expression, will allow news creators and publishers to negotiate fair compensation with Google News, Facebook
This concludes the legislative process that started in Strasbourg in 2016. The rule now passes to the Council of EU Ministers, that is, the Member States, who will have to approve Parliament’s decision in the coming weeks. Like any directive, it will enter into force after transposition by Member States within two years after publication in the EU Official Journal.
As an official note from the European Parliament states, the Directive aims to ensure that long-standing copyright rights and obligations apply also online and also undertakes to ensure that the Internet remains an area of free expression.
The Directive aims to increase the possibilities of rightholders, in particular musicians, artists, performers and writers (creatives) of news publishers, to negotiate better agreements on remuneration derived from the use of their works on Internet platforms.
Internet platforms will be directly responsible for the content uploaded to their website, automatically giving news publishers the right to negotiate agreements on behalf of journalists on information used by news brokers.
Copyright and freedom of expression
Many provisions of the legislation are specifically designed to ensure that the Internet remains an area of freedom of expression.
Since sharing fragments of current articles is expressly excluded from the scope of the Directive, it can continue exactly as before.
However, the Directive also contains provisions to prevent news brokers from abuse.
The snippets can then continue to appear in a Google News feed, or when an article is shared on Facebook, provided it is \\’very short \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
The loading of protected works for quotes, criticism, reviews, caricatures, parodies or pastiche has been protected even more than before, ensuring that meme and GIF continue to be available and shared on online platforms.
Online platforms not covered by the Directive
The text also specifies that loading works on online encyclopedias in a non-commercial way such as Wikipedia, or on open source software platforms such as GitHub, will be automatically excluded from the scope of the Directive. Newly established platforms (start-up) will be subject to lighter obligations than those more consolidated.
Authors, artists, performers or performers may request additional remuneration from the platforms for the exploitation of their rights if the originally agreed remuneration is disproportionately low compared to the resulting benefits for distributors.
The agreement aims to facilitate the use of copyrighted material for research based on the extraction of texts and data, thus eliminating an important competitive disadvantage that European researchers are currently facing.
It is also established that copyright restrictions will not apply to content used for teaching and scientific research.
Finally, the Directive will allow the free use of copyrighted material to preserve cultural heritage. Works which are not commercial may be used when there is no collective management organisation which may issue a licence.
Responsibility of online companies
Currently, online companies are poorly encouraged to sign fair licensing agreements with rightholders, as they are not held responsible for the content that their users upload. They are obliged to remove content that infringes rights only at the request of the owner. This is a consideration for rightholders and does not guarantee them a fair income.
The responsibility of online companies will increase the possibilities of rightholders (in particular musicians, interpreters and screenwriters, news publishers and journalists) to obtain fair licensing agreements, thereby obtaining a fairer remuneration for the use of their works exploited in
The following is the full comment of the President of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, to the copyright vote.
□ With today’s vote, the European Parliament gives the final green light to the new directive on copyright protection. This Parliament has demonstrated its determination to protect and enhance the invaluable heritage of European culture and creativity. Our Union will thus benefit from modern and fair rules for the protection of copyright for the world’s largest digital market.
Cultural and creative industries are one of the most dynamic sectors of the European economy, with 9% of GDP and 12 million jobs. Without adequate rules to protect European content and ensure adequate remuneration for their online use, many of these posts would have been at risk, as well as the induced.
Parliament has chosen to put an end to the current digital far-west by establishing modern rules and in step with the development of technologies. These rules will effectively protect our authors, journalists, designers, and all European artists, from musicians to comedians, from writers to designers.
To date, web giants have benefited from the content created in Europe by paying ridiculous taxes, transferring huge profits to the US or China. With this directive we have brought about fairness and clarity, subjecting web giants to rules similar to those to which all other economic actors must submit. We have provided copyright holders with the tools to conclude agreements with digital platforms so that they can see their rights to use the result of their creativity recognised. We have also created greater transparency and an appropriate mechanism for resolving disputes.
Ensuring a fair compensation for their work for journalists was a priority for Parliament. With this reform we ensure a true freedom of the press and we are fighting the increasingly widespread phenomenon of fake news, safeguarding the independence and quality of the media, essential for a robust democracy.
Freedom and responsibility must always go together. We have adopted a balanced reform, which does not require any filter for upload content and provides clear derogations to protect start-ups, micro and small businesses. The rules approved, for example, do not restrict Wikipedia in any way or the freedom of satire, or the use of Meme. On the other hand, large digital platforms will have more responsibility for content that violates copyright and will have to play their part in ensuring compliance with the rules.