A new and controversial European copyright law came into force on Monday. From now on, stricter rules apply in the field of uploading copyrighted material. This is exactly what’s changing.
The new copyright law was approved by the European Parliament in March 2019. A total of 348 members voted in favour of the law, while 274 members voted against. From Monday, European member states will have to incorporate the law into national legislation.
The new rules make tech companies responsible for any copyright infringement. This means that large online platforms such as Facebook and YouTube need to check and delete content where necessary.
The amendment is controversial, because critics fear that this will create an ‘upload filter’. They fear that tech companies will immediately ban anything that might violate the law. This could include opinions or satirical material.
The new law also contains a so-called ‘Link Tax’. Anyone who wants to share a press release from a news organisation online for commercial use must obtain prior permission. Many companies want to receive compensation for this.
This means that companies such as Google and Facebook media publishers will have to pay for displaying so-called snippets: short extracts of news articles that can be found at Google News, for example. These platforms obviously don’t like that, because it costs them a lot of money.
According to the European Commission, the new law is good news for content creators and journalists. It is intended that their work will be better protected in this way.
“With the new rules, Europe has set a standard for the use of online content,” said European Commissioner Thierry Breton (Internal Market). “What is illegal offline is also illegal online.”
Not everyone’s that enthusiastic. Julia Reda, a German MEP for The Pirate Party, called the European Parliament’s decision “a black day for internet freedom”.