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European Parliament Rejects Copyright Reforms

08 July 2018

Thursday's decision opens up the possibility for MEPs to introduce amendments to the parliament's text.

The MEPs also criticised the commission and its United States counterparts for failing to take action sooner, pointing out that the EU's data protection watchdogs (formerly known as the Article 29 Working Party or WP29) had raised concerns about the deal's status six months ago. Here's a breakdown of the interested parties, and how they reacted to the vote.

Lawmakers are now expected to return in September to the plans, which are aimed at ensuring creators of creative content - whether music, movies or news - are paid fairly in a digital world. But a quick agreement between the three institutions after that seems far off.

Moreover, tracking the progress of the directive has proved hard since it was first proposed in September 2016, with the draft subject to multiple changes and revisions. The amended report will be presented to the full Parliament for another vote in September. Julia Reda, a Pirate Party MEP who had campaigned against the legislation, wrote on Twitter. "Without appropriate regulation, the will of the Internet giants will be imposed unsparingly on the artists".

"These new figures expose the fact that Google is acting like a monolithic mega-corp trying to submerge the truth under a tsunami of misinformation and scare stories pedalled by its multi-million propaganda machine".

"From the outset our primary focus of this legislation has been concerned with whether or not the internet functions as a fair and efficient marketplace - and now, for artists and authors, it doesn't".

One of the potential law changes centres around a piece of draft legislation known as Article 13.

Tech companies, unsurprisingly, claim that it adds unnecessary burdens. It called for websites to take stronger measures to enforce copyright laws on user-generated content.

The other controversial article, number 11, had proposed online platforms pay publishers a fee if they linked to news content.

It was the collaboration of all that opposed the legislation, from celebrities such as musician Paul McCartney and web creator Sir Tim Berners-Lee, to the dedicated public that helped MEPs get this win under their belt.

There was mud-slinging from both sides. Voss and four other MEPs in favour of the overhaul criticised their opponents' "lies" and "fake news" during a press conference on Wednesday.

"For the sake of the internet's future, we urge you to vote for the deletion of this proposal", the group said.

"Today is an important day, a tangible sign that finally things are changing at the European Parliament level", said Di Maio, who is also labour and industry minister and leader of the Internet-based 5-Star Movement (M5S).

Lobbying campaigns are set to accelerate over July and August, when the Brussels policy agenda usually slows down as the Parliament and Commission head into recess. The obligation applies to all online content sharing services as defined by the texts, regardless of their size.

European Parliament Rejects Copyright Reforms