Controversial Copyright Directive Approved By EU Committee

Photo of Tim Berners Lee, the founder of the world wide web, from Wikimedia Commons

A Parliament committee of the European Union has voted in favour of the Copyright Directive. The directive leaves tech titans such as Microsoft, Amazon, and Google in the lurch over publication rights.

The said directive will require online publications to pay a portion of the revenues that they earned to the publishers. These will also require them to take on the full responsibility for any copyright infringement on the internet.

As a consequence, any service that allows its users to post sound, video, or text for public consumption must also implement an automatic filter that will scan for similarities to known copyrighted works and censoring those that match.

During the weeks prior to the vote, internet luminaries such as Tim Berners Lee, the creator of the worldwide web, and Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, led the protests against the directive.

The vote was passed by the legal affairs committee. It is likely to be taken as the official line of the the political body during further EU negotiations that are scheduled next month, unless a new vote is successfully forced by the lawmakers who are appealing the said decision.

Other parts of the directive enable authors and artists to request for higher payouts for the distribution of their content whenever they achieve greater commercial success, as well as an expanded data and text mining right.

A media specialist at international law firm Bird & Bird, Phil Sherrell, stated: “The Directive will improve the rights of authors and performers and is good news for the creative industries, who will have a stronger hand to play in their negotiations with technology companies over monetising their content online.”

He added: “There is some heavy lobbying still to come ahead of the full parliament vote early next month though – many tech companies in particular are concerned about what they see as a heavy-handed regulatory approach to issues which are already being worked out through negotiation.”