After almost twenty years of hot debates and vigorous lobbying, the European Parliament approved new copyright legislation this week in a move that favors copyright holders such as artists, writers, record studios and publishers. The revamped regulations rule that digital tech giants like Google will have to ensure their compliance with a new legal framework when publishing content to their online platforms.
The ultimate goal of the new rules is to ensure that authors of materials, be it news, songs, videos or anything else, are getting paid for them. For companies like Google, this means an acute need for new license agreements as well as investing in additional efforts in removing content, that is associated with copyright infringement. Undoubtedly, the cultural industry in Europe has got a much more powerful footing and power to held Silicon Valley accountable amidst fears of its unprecedented dominance.
The European lawmakers have set that if a company is looking to make a deal with Google, the latter must sign a deal with that company, if its content is to be published. The new legislation provides legal protection for press materials for two years. Previously, Google announced that it would not make a deal with each copyright holder, which approaches it.
For the past decade, the largest players of the European publishing industry have been losing a fair share of their revenues to search engines and social media sites. They have been stressing the fact that tech giants did not invest in journalism, yet have been continuously profiting from it. On the contrary, publishers with a more modest audience reach and revenues were opposing the neighboring right, which is now enacted by the new law. Some European MPs supported them by arguing that smaller publishers would not be able to afford content filtering software in order to publish their materials to sites like YouTube.
The negotiators in Brussels say the new deal is not inclusive, but they are happy to provide Europeans with regulation that is relatable to the demands of the digital era and ensure proper remuneration for publishers. Publishers that are operating for up to three years, have a monthly audience of up to 5 million and annual revenue of up to EUR 10 million, will not be held responsible, if the unlicensed content they have taken down resurfaces online.
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