Article 13 gains European Council approval

However five European countries opposed the copyright directive

Copyright

The UK has thrown its weight behind a move to make the Article 13  copyright legislation a law.

Alongside the UK, 18 other EU nations gave the directive, which includes the hotly debated Article 11 and Article 13, their approval. However, the Copyright Directive was opposed by Italy, Finland, Sweden, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

Given the European Council has approved the Copyright Directive, EU member states will now have two years to implement it into their national laws. 

Once that happens it could pave the way for the imposition of large fines on businesses that allow users to upload copyrighted content illegally.

For example, if a user uploads a video to YouTube that includes music they don't have the rights to include, YouTube will have to seek out the copyright owner to seek their permission. If they don't do so, they will need to remove the content.

It's a very controversial directive, which many publishers and other sources that rely upon shared content disagree with. It's unlikely that smaller firms will have the resource to find the copyright owner or afford fees and therefore, they will have to remove the content instead.

Although non-profit encyclopedias (such as Wikipedia) are exempt from the Copyright Directive, that didn't stop the tech giant switching its service off in four European markets last month in protest. Google objected as well, warning its users via a pop-up that the law could have "unintended consequences" such as blocking content its users had uploaded.

However, the music and creative arts industry has welcomed the move, saying it's a huge milestone for creators.

"It was a long road and we would like to thank everyone who contributed to the discussion," Helen Smith, executive chair of the Independent Music Companies Association said. "As a result, we now have a balanced text that sets a precedent for the rest of the world to follow, by putting citizens and creators at the heart of the reform and introducing clear rules for online platforms."

Another aspect of the rules state that search engines and social media providers will need to pay new publishers if they want to include snippets of content on their sites.

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