EU approves copyright changes that could affect social media content

UPI International Top News |

The European Union agreed Monday to a wide range of copyright reforms, including one that makes tech companies liable for violations.

The measure was passed in an EU council vote 19-6 with three countries abstaining. The new rules, in part, will give news publishers and content creators power to negotiate with Google and other tech firms for use of their products. It will force the tech companies to acquire licenses from creators before their work can be posted on platforms like YouTube and Google News. It also states that copyrighted material must be removed from videos.

The measure was approved last month by the EU Parliament.

"With today's agreement, we are making copyright rules fit for the digital age," European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Monday in a statement. "Europe will now have clear rules that guarantee fair remuneration for creators, strong rights for users and responsibility for platforms.

"When it comes to completing Europe's digital single market, the copyright reform is the missing piece to the puzzle."

Opponents to the new rules say compliance will block a large amount of content -- including user-loving GIFs and memes -- before they ever make it to the Internet.

"[New copyright rules are] a massive blow for every Internet user in Europe," Catherine Stihler, the chief executive of the digital nonprofit organization Open Knowledge International, told The Guardian. "We now risk the creation of a more closed society at the very time we should be using digital advances to build a more open world where knowledge creates power for the many, not the few."

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