Google and Facebook Dealt Blow by EU Lawmakers on Copyright

Google and Facebook Dealt Blow by EU Lawmakers on Copyright

Foto: Fotolia

Tech platforms and internet activists protested the outcome of a European Parliament vote to back copyright rules that would help video, music and other rights holders seek compensation for use of their content online, according to Bloomberg.

Google, Facebook and other tech firms may soon be forced to negotiate licenses for content that appears on their sites, creating legal headaches for the companies, after lawmakers broadly supported a legislative proposal for new copyright rules, unveiled in 2016 by the European Commission. The European Parliament in July had rejected the rules but backed them in a final vote after lawmakers submitted slight tweaks to the text, which included ensuring small platforms were excluded from the scope of the law.

If they fail to negotiate a license with video or music producers, tech firms could have to actively filter out copyrighted content from what users upload on their platforms, which has sparked concerns among internet activists that this could lead to censorship. The parliament sought to address those concerns by ruling that any action platforms take to check uploads should avoid catching works that don’t infringe any copyrights.

The parliament’s decision is part of a broader push by legislators to make web services more legally liable for what appears on their sites. Earlier, the commission proposed new legislation forcing internet companies to wipe Islamic State videos and other terror content from their services within an hour or face fines if they fail to do so. That effort by EU lawmakers marks a shift away from allowing tech platforms freedoms absolving them of such responsibility, partly in a bid to ensure growth in the sector.

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