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European Commission Gives Final Seal of Approval to Copyright Law Overhaul

The European Commission, the European Union’s executive body, has approved a long-gestating major reform to copyright law, which had already been passed by the European Parliament last month.

The overhaul contains two controversial provisions that will make online platforms liable for illegal uploading of copyright-protected content on their sites, as well as force Google, Facebook and other digital companies to pay publishers for press articles they post online.

“With today’s agreement, we are making copyright rules fit for the digital age. Europe will now have clear rules that guarantee fair remuneration for creators, strong rights for users and responsibility for platforms,” said European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

According to the French newspaper Le Monde, six countries – Italy, Finland, Sweden, Luxembourg, Poland and the Netherlands – voted again the reform.

As part of the reform, the E.U. also approved the digital single market reforms that aim at making it “easier for European broadcasters to make certain programs on their online services available across borders,” the E.U. said in a release.

“When it comes to completing Europe’s digital single market, the copyright reform is the missing piece of the puzzle,” said Juncker.

The copyright rules will be formally signed on Wednesday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, and the E.U. member states will have 24 months to enshrine the directive in their national legislation.

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