Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Technology | By Lionel Gonzales

Google, Facebook dealt blow by European Union lawmakers in copyright fight

Google, Facebook dealt blow by European Union lawmakers in copyright fight

Critics have highlighted the potential for "overblocking", in which cautious algorithms censor content even when it does not breach copyright law, and warned of the cost that such a requirement would have for smaller publishing platforms.

Critics - including the internet's creator, Sir Tim Berners-Lee - say the rules would lead to information on the internet being more hard to access. "[The warnings] are correct, but exaggerated".

The scope of Article 13 has been narrowed to platforms that host "significant" amounts of content and "promote" them as well, while the revised Article 11 removes copyright constraints on article links and "individual words" words describing them.

He said the M5S would fight "in the negotiations between governments, at the European parliament and on the European Commission" against the controversial directive.

Critics fear the legislation being brewed up in Brussels could stop people from sharing memes and news articles online.

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Julia Reda, an Internet activist and German member of European Parliament, said the decision was "a severe blow to the free and open Internet" and that the parliament was putting "corporate profits over freedom of speech". Jean-Claude Moreau, chairman of the Society of Authors, Composers and Publishers of Music, which supports the reform, said artists would "prefer no directive to a bad directive". YouTube said it spent over $100 million on an existing content ID system that identifies copyrighted material after it's published.

YouTube, which is owned by Google, has campaigned against the new law. Among them are exceptions to the new copyright laws for small businesses, open-source platforms such as GitHub and online encyclopedias. "We've always said that more innovation and collaboration are the best way to achieve a sustainable future for the European news and creative sectors".

Article 11 introduces a so-called "link tax" which would mean that social media platforms, such as Google and Facebook, could have to pay news organisations to use their headlines on their sites.

Despite the amendments, some still view the laws as hindering freedom of expression online. If search engines are required to pay licensing fees for every bit of text, some results will inevitably be removed when a certain publisher proves untraceable, links or outlets are not considered viable enough to contend with, or a publisher refuses to license their content for any reason.

Previous efforts to make sure publishers are paid have backfired in Europe.

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