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Europe just approved new copyright rules that could change the internet

European lawmakers have approved new rules that could force Google and Facebook to stop users uploading copy...

Posted: Sep 12, 2018 12:53 PM
Updated: Sep 12, 2018 12:53 PM

European lawmakers have approved new rules that could force Google and Facebook to stop users uploading copyrighted content and to share revenue with writers and musicians.

The vote in the European Parliament is a major setback for Big Tech, which has already come under pressure from EU regulators over how the industry handles personal data and objectionable content.

The new copyright rules must get final approval from the European Commission and EU member states, but the overhaul promises to give more power to artists and publishers while piling new costs on tech companies.

"This is a good sign for the creative industry in Europe," said Axel Voss, a German lawmaker who sponsored the bill.

Supporters say the reforms will restore the balance of power between musicians, filmmakers and news publishers on one side and Big Tech on the other. But critics have warned that the rules could signal the end of internet memes, or even lead to the closure of Google News.

Eleonora Rosati, a lawyer and copyright expert at the University of Southampton, said the ultimate impact depends on how specific the final version of the legislation is and how it's interpreted.

"If a law is not clear, that's great news for lawyers, but it is problematic because it creates uncertainty," she said. "[The warnings] are correct, but exaggerated."

Death of memes?

The most heated argument was over Article 13 of the legislation, which makes content sharing platforms like YouTube liable for copyright infringements committed by their users.

Tech companies would need to build filters that prevent users from uploading copyrighted material.

Critics argue that automatic filters amount to surveillance and could hurt freedom of expression. They say provisions designed to prevent streaming and sharing of pirated music and video are far too broad.

"Anything you want to publish will need to first be approved by these filters," said Julia Reda, a German lawmaker who opposes the law. "Perfectly legal content like parodies and memes will be caught in the crosshairs."

The cost of developing the filters would be substantial. YouTube said it spent over $100 million on an existing content ID system that identifies copyrighted material after it's published.

YouTube, which is owned by Google, has campaigned against the new law.

"People want access to quality news and creative content online," Google said in a statement after the vote. "We've always said that more innovation and collaboration are the best way to achieve a sustainable future for the European news and creative sectors."

The Computer and Communications Industry Association, an industry group whose members include Amazon, eBay and Pandora, has also campaigned against the law.

Facebook declined to comment.

'Link tax'

A second controversial part of the proposal, Article 11, requires sites like Google News to pay publishers for displaying snippets of content.

Supporters argue the rule will safeguard media pluralism in Europe, but major tech companies have lobbied heavily against it.

Google has warned that the rule would prevent it from sending traffic to news publishers via search and Google News, because "paying to display snippets is not a viable option for anyone."

Reda described the approval of Article 11 as "catastrophic."

Previous efforts to make sure publishers are paid have backfired in Europe. When Spain tried something similar, Google shuttered its Google News product.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 293542

Reported Deaths: 6638
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19560229
Hinds18674385
Harrison16512276
Rankin12595262
Jackson12451217
Lee9663160
Madison9400195
Jones7891145
Forrest7140136
Lauderdale6784225
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Lamar584480
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Monroe3980126
Union392873
Neshoba3767166
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Hancock339973
Leflore3358118
Sunflower317185
Tate300874
Pike298393
Scott292567
Alcorn290360
Itawamba288871
Yazoo283862
Tippah275665
Copiah274557
Coahoma272766
Simpson271778
Prentiss268658
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Wayne251340
Marion250778
Covington247878
Grenada245876
Adams233277
George230645
Newton224751
Winston220275
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Attala206269
Chickasaw200650
Holmes181670
Clay178149
Stone171429
Tallahatchie169839
Clarke168671
Calhoun156428
Smith151831
Yalobusha142936
Greene126833
Walthall123540
Noxubee122729
Perry121434
Montgomery121237
Lawrence119321
Carroll117623
Amite110832
Webster109929
Jefferson Davis100531
Tunica98623
Claiborne97729
Benton93124
Humphreys91626
Kemper89522
Quitman77014
Franklin75519
Choctaw69516
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson61427
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 491110

Reported Deaths: 9831
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson706291356
Mobile35894721
Madison32255442
Tuscaloosa23996409
Montgomery22462494
Shelby21820215
Baldwin19670274
Lee14900150
Morgan13599249
Calhoun13175285
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Marshall11226206
Houston10048259
Elmore9337183
Limestone9335134
Cullman8869179
St. Clair8783220
Lauderdale8581210
DeKalb8429174
Talladega7481163
Walker6504251
Jackson6477102
Autauga620389
Blount6086125
Colbert5978118
Coffee5230102
Dale4621106
Russell401831
Franklin397876
Covington3956106
Chilton384298
Escambia377172
Tallapoosa3572141
Clarke342949
Dallas3397141
Chambers3392108
Pike293071
Lawrence281384
Marion280894
Winston246166
Bibb244260
Geneva238670
Marengo233354
Pickens223954
Barbour209951
Hale208868
Fayette199756
Butler195165
Henry182041
Cherokee176438
Monroe165938
Randolph163140
Washington156634
Crenshaw143554
Clay143354
Macon140943
Cleburne136839
Lamar131732
Lowndes130648
Wilcox120825
Bullock116336
Conecuh106523
Perry105327
Sumter98431
Coosa87823
Greene87032
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