The European Parliament has voted in favour of a new Copyright Directive. In the end 438 members supported it, with 226 against and 39 abstaining.
The directive, proposed by the European Commission, will give copyright holders more control over their work. At the same time, it could penalise online platforms like YouTube or Facebook, as they will be held responsible for copyright infringements made by users.
“There has been much heated debate around this directive and I believe that Parliament has listened carefully to the concerns raised,” said European Parliament member Axel Voss, who has campaigned for the directive. “I am convinced that once the dust has settled, the internet will be as free as it is today, creators and journalists will be earning a fairer share of the revenues generated by their works, and we will be wondering what all the fuss was about.”
In theory, it means that copyright holders will be able to earn more money from their work, as they will be paid each time it is used. As a result, it has been widely welcomed by the music industry.
Commented PRS for Music chief executive Robert Ashcroft: “PRS for Music has fought from the beginning for digital services to pay all creators fairly for the content they use. [The] vote was a ringing endorsement of our work and that of our colleagues in the industry over the last five years.”
Since it was first proposed the bill has undergone minor amendments; for example, small and micro platforms will be exempt from the new rules. Wikipedia and other open source software platforms are also exempt.
Once the directive receives final approval, digital platforms will have to check that uploaded user content does not infringe on copyrights. They will also have to have rapid redress systems to reinstate content that is wrongly taken down.
The directive will now be debated with member states, before a final vote takes place – probably in early 2019.