EU Introduces New Copyright Rules That Can Change Internet Forever

On Wednesday, Sept. 14, the EU's European Commission released its proposed internet copyright reforms.

EU's New Internet Copyright Rules

According to Yahoo Finance, in order to boost European Union's digital economy, some of the European leaders come with the idea to force video sites to ensure their users don't uploaded copyrighted content and to allow newspapers bill search engines like Yahoo and Google for showing snippets of news stories. The proposal has been made public in a press release.

The proposed EU copyright reforms aim to solve some problems in the market. However, digital companies do not particularly enjoy the idea of supporting analog firms.

The ideas are actually not new and they did not enjoy much popularity before. But this doesn't seem to have discouraged the European Commission to come with the current proposal. According to tech market analysts, vote by the European Parliament to adopt the proposed internet copyright reforms may encourage U.S. Big Copyright's lobbyists to ask for similar measures there.

The main change stipulated by the EC's Copyright Directive is a requirement to copyright holders that websites hosting content submitted by users must scan for and reject copyrighted material. This rule would represent a major change from the current law in Europe that only requires websites to take down infringing copyrighted material in case that a copyright holder notifies it of the offense. The current law also frees the websites from being held liable for the content posted by their users.

The EC now proposes to totally change the copyright protection system by requiring websites to verify their users upfront. This kind of measures would not be impossible but would be certainly difficult to implement by websites without the resources of Google to write code able of matching short video samples against an very large library of copyrighted content.

Even if the commission's proposal seems to consider an exemption for smaller websites, it doesn't clearly specify a threshold. In case that the proposed new EU internet rules will pass into law, then user-generated-content startups trying to compete with large and well-established digital companies such as Google will become much a harder.

According to Search Engine Land, one of the additional objectives of the new rules is to harmonize copyright laws across the EU. However, giant internet companies such as Google complaint that the directive would impose throughout all Europe largely failed copyright approaches of Germany and Spain.

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