Pending final approval in Parliament in January of 2019, a new bill could change copyright laws throughout the European Union, according to The Verge. The Copyright Directive, recently passed by European Parliament, is controversial in nature and seeks to update western copyright laws.
MEPs originally rejected the proposal in July 2018 due to widespread criticism of the bills’ Articles 11 and 13, often referred to as the “link tax” and “upload filter,” respectively. Following the crititicsm, the articles were amended and the bill passed with 438 votes in favor and 226 against.
Article 11 will provide publishers and papers a way to generate revenue through companies like Google linking to their stories. Article 13 is designed to stop users from sharing unlicensed copyrighted material online. Critics say that Article 11 will be vulnerable to abuse of “copyright trolls” and that other plans that have attempted to “tax” large tech companies for linking to stories have repeatedly failed.
Article 13 has gotten even more flack, as it actively resists the sharing of copyrighted content. In order to make such a process successful, the system would have to scan all data being uploaded to sites like YouTube and Facebook, putting smaller platforms at a significant disadvantage. This amendment includes exemptions for sites like GitHub and Wikipedia, and its supporters argue that big US tech companies are scaremongering to keep an oligarchy over the digital world.
The changes that will occur due to the new legislation is likely to vary from country to country throughout the EU, and will take some time to sink into the daily lives of ordinary citizens. The directive will still have to undergo a final vote in January 2019, but experts find it hard to believe that it will not ultimately pass.
“This is a good sign for the creative industries in Europe,” said MEP Axel Voss, who has led the charge on Articles 11 and 13. Not all MEPs are on-board, however, with Julie Reda describing the whole mess as “catastrophic.”