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European copyright reforms face delay

Written by Laura Cannon- Solent University student on 25 January 2019

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On 21st January proposals to discuss significant reforms to EU copyright law were called off following EU member states failing to make progress on the issue on Friday 18th January. The European Commission proposed the directive of a digital single market in September 2016.

This directive was approved by the European parliament in September 2018. As a result of this it had progressed to the discussion stage between the Commission, the Parliament and the European Council.  Negotiations between these bodies would have taken place on the 21st if it hadn’t been for the member states. This is likely to be as a result of all the controversy surrounding the proposed legislation with companies such as Google lobbying against the reforms.

The reason behind the objection from major tech companies is partly due to the new articles such as Article 11 and 13. Article 11 of the proposed directive would impose a ‘link tax’ or ‘snippet tax’ which would make companies like Google and Microsoft pay fees for content on their search engines.

The proposed article 13 requires companies like YouTube and instagram to filter their content to prevent the uploading of copyright- protected material.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has expressed a concern over the new article stating “irreparable harm it will do to free expression and the hope of a fair, open internet’, Whilst Google have been accused of ‘scaremongering’ after releasing the results of a test showing what its search engine would look like if article 11 was introduced.

It is difficult to say at this stage how the European Commission, parliament and Council will progress with such objections to the proposed directive. Whatever is decided will not satisfy everyone, however it may do some of the major tech companies good to have some stricter regulations in regards to copyright content.

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