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The E.U. just voted to advance digital copyright rules that would force Google, Facebook and others to pay up

libadmin September 12, 2018
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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker delivers the annual State of the European Union speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on Wednesday. (Patrick Seeger/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock) (PATRICK SEEGER/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock/Patrick Seeger/Epa-Efe/Rex/Shutterstock)
September 12 at 10:32 AM

The European Parliament approved changes to digital copyright rules Wednesday designed to protect the content of publishers and artists on the Web, advancing a contentious battle between tech companies and creative industries over the future of free expression and intellectual property online.

The parliament voted 438 to 226 to allow news outlets to claim payments from tech platforms when they host copyrighted material. Web platforms, such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, would also be liable for copyright violations that may occur when users upload content that is owned by authors, musicians, songwriters and other content creators, according to the rules.

“I am very glad that despite the very strong lobbying campaign by the Internet giants, there is now a majority in the full house backing the need to protect the principle of fair pay for European creatives,” Axel Voss, a member of parliament who is leading efforts to establish the new rules, said in a news release Wednesday.

Critics say the rules will stifle free expression and creativity on the Internet, inviting a new censorship regime that will give media outlets and publishers concentrated power to decide what is permissible to share online.

Google, which owns YouTube, told The Washington Post in a statement: “People want access to quality news and creative content online. We’ve always said that more innovation and collaboration are the best way to achieve a sustainable future for the European news and creative sectors, and we’re committed to continued close partnership with these industries.“

The digital copyright proposal will have to be adopted by the European Union’s 28 member states before becoming law.

This story is developing.

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