From The Wall Street Journal:
The European Parliament on Wednesday adopted a draft copyright bill with provisions aimed at forcing tech giants to pay more to media companies for music and news content that is used on their platforms.
The vote, which was delayed for several months amid intense lobbying from publishers and internet companies, sets the parameters for negotiations among the parliament, the EU’s executive body and European governments. If a law is ultimately agreed, EU countries would have up to two years to implement the new rules, which would be enforced by member countries.
The tech industry has strongly opposed the new rules, and on Wednesday several groups said they would keep fighting the bill’s final adoption during coming negotiations with member states.
Edima, a trade group representing online platforms including Amazon.com Inc.,Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Apple Inc. and FacebookInc., said EU legislators had “decided to support the filtering of the internet to the benefit of big businesses in the music and publishing industries despite huge public outcry.”
“Today marks a very sad day for the internet in Europe,” said Mozilla, which makes the Firefox web browser, adding: “The fight is not over yet.”
On the side of publishers, independent music companies association Impala said that “this is a great day for Europe’s creators.”
A spokesman for the European Publishers Council said the decision marked “a great day for the independent press and for democracy,” adding that the outcome would foster the development of publishing startups and enable journalists to share in revenue generated by publishers.
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One measure would give news publishers the right to negotiate payment for “digital use” of their content by tech firms. Another would require online-video sites like Google’s YouTube to pay “proportionate remuneration” for their works, and take measures to prevent uploads of content for which it doesn’t have a license.
Publishers say the rules are needed because a growing share of consumers arrive through social media and aggregators, undercutting publishers’ efforts to attract subscribers.
But it isn’t clear what impact the measures will have. When Spain passed a similar law, Google shut down its local Google News service. When Germany passed a copyright law, publishers gave Google licenses for free rather than lose traffic.
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But tech executives say making platforms responsible for ensuring that no unlicensed copyright material is uploaded to their services would create a costly obligation that would discourage smaller companies from offering services.
Supporters of the bill say they made changes to the parliament text to respond to critics from the tech industry by exempting “small and micro” platforms from the directive’s obligations. In addition, the law will exempt noncommercial encyclopedias like Wikipedia from the rules.
Nevertheless, the Wikimedia Foundation, parent of the online encyclopedia, has been one of the bill’s biggest detractors, saying it would hurt free expression. “It isn’t really about us,” said Jimmy Wales, Wikimedia’s founder. “It’s about the ecosystem we’re a part of.”
Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal