The European Union lawmakers voted on the copyright reform law recently, with 438 votes in favor and 226 against, effectively passing the new copyright law through the union assembly. According to the press release on the European Parliament website, the new copyright law will encourage tech companies to implement filters for copyright-protected material so that they will be blocked from being shared or spread around if the copyright holder doesn’t want the image, sound, video, or even article content being shared online across social media aggregators such as Facebook, Google+, or Twitter, to name a few.
Axel Voss, a member of the European Parliament, mentioned in the press release that the internet would be as “free” as ever, stating…
“I am very glad that despite the very strong lobbying campaign by the internet giants, there is now a majority in the full house backing the need to protect the principle of fair pay for European creatives.
“There has been much heated debate around this directive and I believe that Parliament has listened carefully to the concerns raised. Thus, we have addressed concerns raised about innovation by excluding small and micro platforms or aggregators from the scope.
“I am convinced that once the dust has settled, the internet will be as free as it is today, creators and journalists will be earning a fairer share of the revenues generated by their works, and we will be wondering what all the fuss was about.”
Many see this as a means of technocratic authoritarianism, as it would mean that journalists and publishers could take advantage of a “link tax” where articles or contents shared from media websites could charge for having the content shared through aggregators such as Google News.
According to the press release, sharing a hyperlink of a news article with “individual words” to describe the content will not be affected by copyright constraints. This means that those who share screen captures of an article to criticize the content or those who do rebuttal pieces featuring blockquotes from the article, could be subject to copyright infringement.
The press release also states that the platform holders will need to create “redress systems” both for the content that is being infringed upon and for when content is “wrongly taken” down. The Union states that the redress system cannot be facilitated through an algorithm, like the kind that Twitter or Google use to shadow ban content.
According to CNBC, British Conservative lawmaker, Sajjad Karim, was in favor of the ruling, stating…
“The legislation is now better balanced, answering many of the concerns of journalists, publishers and musicians whose work was being shared freely online without stifling innovation or fundamentally changing the nature of the internet, it also takes into account the rights of users, ensuring that materials used for teaching and research, and by cultural and heritage organizations, are not encumbered by unnecessary restrictions.”
According to UKIP members Sargon of Akkad and Count Dankula, the ruling was never going to be in favor of the people due to the way the closed-door deliberations and voting takes place. In a seven minute video the UKIP representatives explained how the voting takes place, the procedures, and how it was always positioned against the common interests of the general public.
CNBC notes that there are still more deliberations to take place, specifically regarding the implementation of the new copyright law, which each region who is part of the European Union will have to accommodate in some capacity.