Europe looks to remold Net with new copyright rules

The European Union has accepted a copyright overhaul that aims to give security but that critics say will stifle freedom of speech and online creativity and penalize net businesses.

Technology pros and artists, celebrities have spoken out in favor and against the EU directive, and also the 28 member states got approval and are expected to adopt as law.

Here’s a look at key issues.



This legislation’s part is a section that makes companies responsible for making certain that copyrighted material is not uploaded into their platforms without consent from the creator. It puts the onus that is legal to avoid copyright infringement but critics say it is going to wind up having a chilling effect on freedom of expression and could lead to censorship.

Another section requires search engines and social media sites to cover offering snippets of information articles up or linking to.


Some sites would be made to license music or videos. If not, sites would have to be certain they don’t have copyrighted material. Critics fear that could result in filtering that is expensive. And by paying links, costs could be created.

That may give an edge over businesses to technology giants. Google said where over 400 hours of articles is uploaded every moment it spent over $100 million YouTube on Content ID, its management system for authorized users. The figure includes both staffing and computing resources.



Critics say that it could act as censorship and alter culture.

They say the filters are instruments, deleting. YouTube has cautioned stating that in circumstances it might have to block movies to avoid liability.

Some consumers worry that the rules would bring an end to parodies and viral internet”memes” that have driven online civilization and are often based on or motivated by present songs or videos or other articles. This is denied by the EU.

“Artists, writers and tiny publishers will not receive their fair remuneration and internet users might have to live with limited freedoms. Artistic diversity has made the Internet vibrant, but sadly the copyright directive will produce the Internet duller.”



It depends upon whom you ask. Other teams that collect royalties and the music business state the revamp will help give more protection of their rights and incomes to artists, authors and founders, by requiring tech giants like Apple, Facebook and Google to pay them more.

Their creativity will be stifled although some authors and musicians fear that they won’t earn much more cash. Google estimates it has paid more than $3 billion to rights holders through its Content ID system, which was created in 2007.


Some high profile artists have spoken out in favor. Former Beatles manhood Paul McCartney wrote an open letter to EU lawmakers encouraging them to adopt rules.

But many appear worried it’ll alter the internet as we all know it. Over 5.2 million people signed an online petition against them. Internet luminaries like the inventor of the World Wide Web Tim Berners-Lee, and Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales have spoken against it. So has the former frontman for the band Fugees, Wyclef Jean, who’s said he is better off because fans can share his music on platforms.

Germany needs the rules to be executed in this way”that upload filters be averted if possible, and that consumer rights — freedom of view, about which there’s been a good deal of debate here — be preserved,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert said Monday. Last month, tens of thousands of people marched to protest against the directive. Poland’s leader has said his country will not implement it, asserting it threatens freedom of speech.



Even the EU’s member states have two years with drafting their own national legislation to honor. Six countries — Italy, Sweden, Poland, Finland, Luxembourg and the Netherlands — voted against it, so implementation is likely to be uneven, setting the stage for legal challenges.