EU votes to tax tech giants on copyright content
Publish date: 14 September 2018
Issue Number: 4545
Diary: Legalbrief Today
The European Parliament this week voted in favour of a sweeping overhaul to copyright law which could dramatically change the way that Internet giants like Google and Facebook operate. According to a report in The Daily Telegraph, the EU agreed to adopt controversial measures to drastically curb tech giants' power over online content, forcing companies to police copyrighted material and allow publishers and artists to charge for it. The proposed new rules were carried after 438 MEPs voted in favour of the reforms, 226 voted against and 39 abstained in a vote. The amendments approved included Articles 11 and 13, which aimed to introduce a controversial ‘link tax’ to undercut the revenues of tech giants like YouTube, its parent company Google, and Facebook. They state that sites will have to pay to show copyrighted content online, including in hyperlinks and snippets of text – and that sites will be responsible for scanning information uploaded by users to make sure it does not breach copyright. The hotly-debated report will now be sent to an EU committee to kickstart further negotiations between the European Parliament, Council and Commission. The opponents of the copyright law claimed that bringing in new regulation would lead to self-censorship on the biggest Internet streaming sites. MEP Daniel Dalton said the fact that Article 11 and 13 remained virtually unchanged was ‘not good for the future of Europe’. ‘I don't believe it will help creators either but it will introduce filtering. Much more legal content will get taken down,’ he said.