International

Copyright Revamp In EU Gets Thumbs Down From Lawmakers (For Now)

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The copyright re-tooling will not be as onerous as some had feared, it seems.

Reuters reported on Thursday (July 5) that lawmakers in the European Union (EU) have shied away from taking what is seen as “a tough line” on a reconfiguration on the way revenues are shared by companies that are among giants in the technology space, such as Google and Facebook, parceled out to artists and publishers, among other stakeholders.

The step back from that tough line, reported the newswire, comes after a bout of lobbying from technology companies. The new overhaul would have centered around two points, said Reuters.

Among them: The concept of “neighboring right” for publishers — a concept that could make some of the aforementioned tech firms pay for displaying content tied to news. The other point under discussion is “upload filtering,” which means that companies such as YouTube must install filters that will keep users from uploading such copyrighted materials or obtain licenses that would allow them to display those materials. The mandates form what Reuters termed a “tough approach” on Thursday.

As reported in The Wall Street Journal, the proposals are part of new tax laws that are under consideration that would reshape how larger technology companies operate within the EU, touching on everything from how they report profit to how they gather information.

The proposals will have to be redone now that lawmakers have given the thumbs down to even beginning talks with countries within the EU bloc, and a vote has been pushed back to September of this year.

Among the critics: The trade body that is known as EDiMA, a consortium that sports members such as Apple and Facebook and Microsoft, which cautioned against such practices as dictated by the proposal, citing censorship.

Amid the advocates for the changes: publishers such as European Publishers Council, New Musical Express (NME) and the Society of Audiovisual Authors, which, via joint statement, said that “four European Parliament committees have scrutinized, clarified, amended and approved the EU Copyright Reform over the past two years and today those efforts to create a fairer, more sustainable digital ecosystem for the benefit of creators, distributors and consumers have been jeopardized.”

The Wall Street Journal stated on Thursday that the rejection of the new copyright rules represented a victory for the internet firms. The legislation is now being brought back to the Parliament, noted the WSJ, and will not yet move to negotiations that would take place between the Parliament, EU member states and the executive arm of the union.

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