EU Copyright Overhaul That Targets Facebook, Google, Set For Approval On Monday

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The countries of the European Union are set to agree on an overhaul of the two-decade-old copyright rules of the bloc next week. The revamp will require Facebook to filter out protected content and Google to pay publishers for news snippets. The move comes despite the increasing opposition from some governments.

Last month, EU lawmakers at the European Parliament gave the proposal of the European Commission a thumbs up, with an aim to protect the creative industry of Europe which is worth 915 billion euros (£790 billion) annually and employs approximately 11.65 million people.

The revamp has been marked by intense lobbying from tech companies worried about the administrative burden and the hit to their revenues and by artists, publishers and performers seeking fair compensation.

The new rules would force Google and other online platforms to enter into licensing agreements with performers, musicians, news publishers, journalists, and authors to use their work online.

Facebook’s Instagram, Google’s YouTube, and other online sharing platforms will also be required to install filters that will prevent users from uploading copyrighted materials. Critics say that this could hit cash-strapped small firms instead of the tech giants.

Italy, Finland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Sweden, and Poland have said that they will vote against the reforms on Monday, a move that is unlikely to derail the proposal unless a major country of the European Union weighs in to form a blocking minority.

In a statement, the countries, with the exception of Sweden, stated: “We regret that the directive does not strike the right balance between the protection of rights holders and the interests of EU citizens and companies.”

Slovenia and Belgium said that they will abstain while Estonia said that it was not able to have a view since its government had only just come to power.