×

European Parliament Gives Final Approval to Controversial Article 13 Copyright Directive

The European Parliament on Tuesday gave final approval to Article 13, a controversial part of a wider directive that shakes up the rules around copyright in the European Union. The new rules will have ramifications for online platforms, content owners and creators, and the general public.

The proposed new framework, now approved, has sparked widespread debate among the platforms, public, and content firms. The platforms, including YouTube and Facebook, largely objected while many creatives supported moves to ensure they are compensated for distribution of their work, and there are sufficient efforts to fight piracy.

“The directive aims to enhance rights holders’ chances, notably musicians, performers and script authors, (creatives) as well as news publishers, to negotiate better remuneration deals for the use of their works when these feature on internet platforms,” the Parliament said in notes accompanying the announcement that the directive passed.

Crucially, the rules approved in Strasbourg include what was Article 13 – and was renumbered to Article 17 – that makes platforms liable for potential copyright infringement on content uploaded to their sites.

Another controversial element was contained in Article 11, which requires users to get permission before sharing content and has been dubbed a “link tax.” The Parliament said that “hyperlinks to news articles, accompanied by ‘individual words or very short extracts,’ can be shared freely.”

It also spelled out ways to lift the burden on start-up platforms, which will not be subject to the same obligations.

“This directive is an important step towards correcting a situation which has allowed a few companies to earn huge sums of money without properly remunerating the thousands of creatives and journalists whose work they depend on,” said German politician Axel Voss, who was behind the copyright rules.

He added: “It helps make the internet ready for the future, a space which benefits everyone, not only a powerful few.”

Google, which has actively lobbied against the changes to EU’s copyright laws, continued to insist the legislation will have negative consequences. “The Copyright Directive is improved but will still lead to legal uncertainty and will hurt Europe’s creative and digital economies,” a Google rep said in a statement. “The details matter, and we look forward to working with policy makers, publishers, creators and rights holders as EU member states move to implement these new rules.” Facebook declined to comment.

Raffaella De Santis, an associate at law firm Harbottle & Lewis, said that artists will hail the passing of the directive but there could be unintended consequences for swathes of online services.

“This outcome is unpopular with digital services and importantly, many European voters,” she said. “The key focus now will be on how the directive is implemented across the EU over the next two years, and care will need to be taken to ensure that smaller services are not disproportionately disadvantaged by measures which are in reality designed to curtail the formerly unchecked power of the tech giants.”

Steve Smith, chair of industry group Directors U.K. the directive will be a game changer fir authors and directors. “Like other directors, my work is uploaded and used all over the internet, for which I receive no additional payment,” he said. “The implementation of the Copyright Directive will level the playing field between creators and the tech giants and help directors, for the first time, be rewarded fairly for the use of our work.”

Whether the directive is implemented in the U.K., however, remains to be seen with the details of its exit from the European Union still up in the air.

Popular on Variety

More Music

  • A pair of handcuffs

    D.C. Concert Biz Heavyweight Seth Hurwitz Arrested for Solicitation

    Seth Hurwitz, a highly regarded figure in the Washington, D.C. concert scene, was arrested Wednesday on solicitation of prostitution after a massage therapist who felt harassed by Hurwitz helped police set up a bust. Hurwitz, owner of the 9:30 Club and Anthem venues and chairman of the Merriweather Post Pavilion, was released on $5,000 bond [...]

  • Major Lazer Fortnite

    Major Lazer Remixes Fortnite Soundtrack and Releases New In-Game Skins

    Major Lazer, one of Diplo’s many creative outlets, has teamed up with Fortnite to offer fans access to a unique character skin and new remixes of the game’s Default Dance track. The Lazerism set includes the Major Lazer Outfit, Lazer Wings, Lazer Aze, the Lazer Blast emote and the EDM group’s remix of the “Default [...]

  • Succession HBO

    'Succession' Composer Nicholas Britell on Making Music for the One Percent

    The Roys, the media empire family at the heart of HBO’s “Succession,” are ridiculously rich. They’re manipulative and cruel. They’re also a bit delusional and absurd. When Nicholas Britell conceived the show’s score, he wanted to capture all of that. “I wrote in this almost late-1700s, dark classical zone,” says Britell, the Oscar-nominated composer of [...]

  • Fred Durst attends the LA premiere

    Fred Durst Has No Woodstock '99 Regrets: 'Limp Bizkit Is an Easy Target So Bring it On'

    Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst is finally talking about Woodstock ’99 — the second anniversary of the 1969 festival that offered throngs of attendees a polar opposite experience to peace, love and mellow music. Now the stuff of legend — and a stellar multi-episode podcast series from The Ringer called “Break Stuff” — riots, fires [...]

  • Album Review: Jay Som's 'Anak Ko'

    Album Review: Jay Som's 'Anak Ko'

    If ever there was an album that could have come out at any point in the last 25 years, it’s Jay Som’s sophomore outing, “Anak Ko.” A mesh of multiple indie-rock influences, its low-key intensity, hushed vocals and emphasis on strong melodies could have placed it alongside Lush or the Boo Radleys on 4AD or [...]

  • Editorial use only Mandatory Credit: Photo

    Moody Blues' Justin Hayward Isn't Burning Up Over What Got Lost in the Fire

    Nobody called Justin Hayward about the fire on the Universal Studios Hollywood lot — not Universal Music Group, certainly, but also no reporters. “There were much more important people to call or to speak about that,” Hayward says, in his typically self-effacing, English way. The New York Timesrecently blew the lid off of the 2008 [...]

  • Album Review: Brockhampton's 'Ginger'

    Album Review: Brockhampton's 'Ginger'

    It is a testament to the sheer creative force and prolific output of their last two breakout years that, though the members are only in their early 20s, Brockhampton has settled into a kind of artistic maturity on their new record, “Ginger.” In 2017, Brockhampton burst into the hip-hop consciousness offering a bold paradigm shift [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content