MEPs, meeting Wednesday in Brussels, voted for changes in the copyright directive, paving the way for a comprehensive reform of the way the web works. At the heart of the debate: the royalties that the giants of the internet will have to pay the media to use their content.
Radio-Canada with The Verge, Politico, and The Times of India
First, the Bill had been rejected by Parliament last July, before be amended for a second vote. The initial rejection was largely attributed to articles 11 and 13, that divided members of Parliament and civil society.
Article 11, known as the ‘tax links,’ would force all platforms that present excerpts of journalistic content to compensate the authors. In other words, sites like Facebook or Google, that presents an overview of the newspaper articles when someone shares, should pay the media to do so. Only small sites or individuals who purchased a license may use the content of a media group without consequence.
Meanwhile, article 13 would force all sites, except the smallest, to prohibit the uploading of content to copyright, including text, sound, images, video, and code. This would also apply to the content posted by independent creators on YouTube, Instagram or Facebook
Silicon Valley against the media for
Those who criticize articles 11 and 13 believe that Bill could have disastrous consequences for the web. They also point out that the major platforms like Google have always managed to avoid taxes the content to which they point.
Many groups are worried about disappearing parodies, critics and Internet memes. Finally, critics of the reform say that only the giants of the web would have the resources to analyze all the content uploaded on their platforms to detect the elements subject to copyright.
Advocates of the Bill believe that the controversy surrounding articles 11 and 13 were fuelled by the conglomerates of the Silicon Valley, looking to retain their stranglehold on the web.
Media groups including hope to regain a share of the advertising profits that eludes them since the advent of social networks. Advocates of the new directive add that exemptions to the law will allow many platforms, including Wikipedia and GitHub, continue their activities as before.
A final vote before the ratification
MEPs have finally passed the Bill to 438 votes for, 226 against and 39 abstentions.
To be formalized, the directive must now be ratified in a vote in January 2019. If this ultimate vote turns out to be positive, it would be for member countries to apply individually, which could change the interpretation of the law.
The adoption of the reform could change the face of the web around the world since most of the major platforms are accessible both in Europe and elsewhere in the world.