European Parliament has rejected a proposed reform to the EU copyright directive.
Many performers and writers have become increasingly concerned that no safeguards exist to discourage internet and social network platforms from sharing their works without payment. In short, artists are increasingly frustrated that they are not getting paid for the use and sharing of works that they have created. They argue that in the days of the CD and DVD when those wishing to purchase music would venture into their local record shop and make their purchase and the artist paid a royalty.
The plans would have required internet platforms — most notably YouTube — to use programmed filters to stop people uploading copyright material without the authorisation of the copyright holder. This was the sticking point over which many MEPs were troubled. They voted against the reforms this morning. The plans had been two years in the making.
Those in favour of the proposals, which include Sir Paul McCartney, publishers and the music, arts and entertainment sectors will no doubt be disappointed.
The European Parliament vote clearly indicates that they have accepted objections from campaigners including Google, YouTube, and Wikipedia. These platforms stated that the rules will impose serious restrictions on internet freedom. The proposed reforms have triggered lobbying from opponents led by internet giants supported by Sir Tim Berners-Lee.
Wikipedia, has used banners on its platform, urging its users to persuade MEPs to reject the reforms.
A petition fronted by sceptical MEPs and entitled “Save Your Internet” has garnered some 700,000 signatures.
President of the European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers (Anders Lassen) who backed the reforms, stated the vote was a “missed opportunity”.
“This vote was never about censorship or freedom of speech. It was only about updating the copyright rules to the 21st century and ensuring that creators get a fair remuneration when their works are used in the digital space.”
The vote means MEPs will have to reconsider their proposals this summer. The reform will be voted on again in September. If approved, the European Parliament will enter discussions with EU Member State governments and the European Commission to produce an agreed final text.
Any legislation will take the form of a Directive to be enacted by Member States into their own domestic law, rather than a Regulation of direct applicability.
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