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Council of the European Union approves game-changing copyright directive
16 April 2019 (Edited )
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In a vote yesterday 15 April 2019 representatives of the 28 member states of the Council of the European Union voted 19 to 6 (with 3 abstaining) to enshrine the final version of the Copyright Directive as EU law.

France (predictably) was the most vocal proponent of the Directive, while Finland. Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden voted against it. Belgium, Slovenia and Estonia abstained.

Quoting from the Council media release:

"The EU is amending its legal framework on copyright to make it fit-for-purpose in today's digital environment. The Council today adopted a directive that modernises existing EU copyright law to pave the way towards a true digital single market. The new rules ensure adequate protection for authors and artists, while opening up new possibilities for accessing and sharing copyright-protected content online throughout the European Union."

And also:

"As regards online content sharing platforms, which are based on the “user-uploaded-content” model, the directive clarifies the legal framework within which they operate. Such platforms will in principle have to obtain a licence for copyright protected works uploaded by users unless a number of conditions provided for in the directive are met. Rightholders will therefore be able to better negotiate the conditions of the exploitation of their online works and be remunerated for the online use of their content by these platforms..."

Go here to see a promotional video.

Among other impacts, the Directive in effect requires that:

  • Google sign licensing agreements with musicians, authors, publishers and journalists, and pay publishers for news snippets it puts online (Google has threatened to shut down Google News in Europe.)
  • Facebook filter out all protected content

The 28 member states - including the 9 that voted against or abstained - now have just 24 months to enact and begin enforcing national legislation implementing the Directive.

How will Google, Facebook et al cope with a patchwork of 28 sets of regulations across a continent that's home to only 8.4% of the world's population?

Watch this space.

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