New copyright rules for the internet approved by European Parliament

  • Internet platforms are liable for content that users upload
  • Some uploaded material, such as memes or GIFs, now specifically excluded from directive
  • Hyperlinks to news articles, accompanied by “individual words or very short extracts”, can be shared freely
  • Journalists must get a share of any copyright-related revenue obtained by their news publisher
  • Start-up platforms subject to lighter obligations
  • Member states will have 2 years to implement the directive

According to the press release distributed by the European Parliament “Creatives and news publishers will be empowered to negotiate with internet giants thanks to new copyright rules which also contain safeguards on freedom of expression.”

The main idea is that tech giants will be forced to look into new remuneration deals with content creators and is “making internet platforms directly liable for content uploaded to their site and by automatically giving the right to news publishers to negotiate deals on behalf of its journalists for news stories used by news aggregators.”

The news aggregators such as Google News will continue to operate “as sharing snippets of news articles is specifically excluded from the scope of the directive, it can continue exactly as before.” However, the directive also contains stipulations to avoid the abuse of this. The ‘snippet’ can therefore continue to appear or when an article is shared on social media, provided it is “very short”.

This is tricky and not ‘very legal specific’. How short is short is quite relative and if not going to be put in place any limit of characters this provision is non-applicable de facto.

The directive also allows copyrighted material to be used free-of-charge to preserve cultural heritage and for for teaching or illustration. Out-of-commerce works can be used where no collective management organisation exists that can issue a license.

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