European Union member states approve controversial Article 11 and Article 13 copyright reforms

Cheryl Sanders
April 17, 2019

This decision will likely heighten the tension between Brussels and Silicon Valley, following a series of multi-billion dollar fines and tax demands against technology behemoths Google, Amazon and Apple. Additionally, YouTube and Instagram will need to filter out copyrighted content its users try to post to their platforms.

In March, Wikipedia blacked out its pages in Europe in protest against the legislation. After that, the members will have 24 months to transpose the directive into their national legislation. Moreover, they will benefit from enhanced safeguards linked to the freedom of expression when they upload videos that contain rights holders' content, memes or parodies.

But 19 countries, including France and Germany, endorsed the revamp, while Belgium, Estonia and Slovenia abstained. However, German ministers stressed in the minutes that "upload filters" would not be made mandatory in Germany.

Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden opposed the reforms.

All of the aforementioned countries, bar Sweden, had committed to a joint statement ahead of the vote, saying that the directive "does not strike the right balance between the protection of rights holders and the interests of European Union citizens and companies".

"This directive does not support the development of the digital single market and is a step backwards", he added. Furthermore, since April 1st 2018, Europeans who buy or subscribe to films, sports broadcasts, music, e-books and games in their home Member State are able to access this content when they travel or stay temporarily in another EU country.

In addition, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that the adoption would "guarantee fair remuneration for creators, strong rights for users and responsibility for platforms".

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