Members of European Parliament have finally voted to adopt the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market – including the controversial Article 13 provision, which has been renamed as ‘Article 17’.
The European Parliament voted on the bill on 26th March, with 348 votes in favour, 274 against and 36 abstentions.
Article 13 aims to make internet platforms liable for copyright-infringing user-uploaded material and the likes of YouTube and Facebook are just some of the user content reliant firms that will be affected by the bill.
Member states will now need to approve the decision in the coming weeks and will have two years to implement it if adopted by the European Parliament. The move has been welcomed by a wide cross-section of the music business, following intensified campaigning in support of the Directive in the weeks leading up to the vote.
Reactions towards the European Parliament’s decision
Those responded positively to the news today included the global recorded music industry body IFPI and various associations representing creators, songwriters, composers, publishers and labels, including the UK’s Music Managers Forum, CISAC, and the UK’s Association of Independent Music.
“We thank lawmakers for their efforts in navigating a complex environment to pass a Directive with noteworthy implications for the content community,” Frances Moore, CEO, IFPI, said.
However, the bill’s passing comes as an utter shock and failure for Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda. Following the vote, she lambasted fellow MEPs who voted in favour of the bill. Also unsurprisingly, the Pirate Party readily supports infringement on copyrighted works online.
Calling today a “dark day for internet freedom,” Reda wrote,“The new copyright law as it stands threatens a free internet as we know it: Algorithms cannot distinguish between actual copyright infringements and the perfectly legal re-use of content for purposes such as parody. Obliging platforms to use upload filters will lead to more frequent blocking of legal uploads and make life difficult for smaller platforms that cannot afford expensive filter software.”
Article 13 – now 17 – requires for-profit internet companies to license content directly from copyright holders. On failing to do so, they will immediately take infringing works down, which will ensure the said works are not re-uploaded.
All 27 EU member states now have up to two years to implement the Copyright Directive in local legislation. Should a large member state, such as Germany, abruptly withdraw support of the bill, further negotiations would be required.
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