MEPs adopted the directive for copyright rules on internet in European Parliament Plenary in Strasbourg by 348 votes in favour, 274 against and 36 abstentions. The vote concludes the legislative process for the European Parliament, lasting since 2016, and now member states have to approve MEPs decisions. In case the EU member states accept the text adopted by the European Parliament, it will take effect after publication in the official journal and then member states will have two years to implement it.
The authors and supporters of the directive claim it aims to ensure that the longstanding rights and obligations of copyright law are also applicable online. YouTube, Facebook and Google News are some of the internet popular names that will be most directly affected by this legislation.
The directive also strives to ensure that the internet remains a space for freedom of expression, the defenders of the rules underline, the MEP-rapporteur Axel VOSS (EPP, Germany) said. MEP admitted that adopted by European Parliament directive, proposed by European Commission needs further improvement, however he considers it to be a huge step in right direction, protecting authors rights online and regulating internet universe.
The vote is appreciated by the European Commission, striving to regulate internet, and welcoming MEPs decision, the EU executives wrote: “This Directive protects creativity in the digital age and ensures that the EU citizens benefit from wider access to content and new guarantees to fully protect their freedom of expression online. The new rules will strengthen our creative industries, which represent 11.65 million jobs, 6.8% of GDP and are worth €915,000 million per year” in an issue for occasion press-release.
“Internet can’t be unregulated space, please don’t look at the directive as a sort of attack on you”, said Sajjad KARIM MEP (ECR, UK), insisting as a professional lawyer that the regulation is in interest of the European citizens.
A call to avoid confusion of rules with ‘censorship‘ launched Helga TRUPEL MEP (Greens, Germany), underlining that the major point of the internet reform of #copyrigh rules is to have “appropriate licensing, it is not about ‘censorship” TRUPEL said. “We have different understanding of freedom with @Pirates party, it is about FREE and FAIR internet, MEP Trupel said, explaining the essence of the approved directive.
However the representatives of the Pirate Party call the governments to refuse the directive in its current form, claiming it will damage the freedom of circulation of information, delegating the task to artificial intelligence, developed by internet big players. The meaningful decisions concerning content should be judged in courts, but not by algorithms.
MEP Julia REDA (Pirate party, Germany) expressed concerns that such a milestone legislation can become a chip bargain between German chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, exchanging endorsement of directive for agreement to construct North Stream 2. She called European citizens n individual member-state to continue resistance to EU directive, proposed by the European Commission.
The European Pirate party warns that the directive in its current form will damage the freedom of expression, and intrude into privacy of European citizens.
“The only way to even try to limit file sharing, is to introduce complete surveillance of everybody’s private communication. There is no way to separate private messages from copyrighted material without opening the message and checking the contents. Out goes the postal secret, the right to communicate in private with your lawyer or your web-cam flirt, or your whistle-blower protection if you want to give a sensitive story to a journalist“, Christian Engström from Sweden Pirate party warns.
The supporters of the directive claim that the positive change can be expressed in the following fields:
Internet platforms are liable for content that users upload
Some uploaded material, such as memes or GIFs, now specifically excluded from directive
Hyperlinks to news articles, accompanied by “individual words or very short extracts”, can be shared freely
Journalists must get a share of any copyright-related revenue obtained by their news publisher
Start-up platforms subject to lighter obligations