European Parliament moves ahead with divisive copyright reform law, summer vote planned

Legislation that would mean massive changes to the financial and copyright responsibilities shouldered by YouTube and other user-generated content platforms is moving to a summer vote in Europe. A committee in the European Parliament has voted in favor of moving ahead with a potential new law called the EU Copyright Directive, which includes provisions such as paying fees to rightsholders when copyrighted content is uploaded and requiring filters to block uploads of copyrighted content.

That particular requirement, Article 13 of the directive, has proven deeply divisive. Supporters claim the new rules would help end the “value gap” and safe harbor protections that have kept a target on YouTube’s back for years. Critics have raised privacy concerns, noting that because platforms would monitor users’ online activity, the law could lead to spying on citizens. Others have said it would mean an end to the potential to create the remixed or reimagined content that has become so central to much online discourse.

IMPALA, CISAC, PRS For Music, and the IFPI have all backed the EU Copyright Directive. Lobbying group CCIA — with members such as Google, Facebook, eBay, and Amazon — came out against the law, as did Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web.

Anna Washenko