Copyright vs Freedom of the Internet: Round 1 just passed the European Parliament

At the end of last month, the European Union Parliament adopted a controversial new “Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market” (Directive). One of the stated aims of the Directive is to give copyright holders such as musicians, artists, performers and authors greater bargaining power against tech giants like Google, YouTube and Facebook in the modern age of online content creation and distribution. However, as the widespread and vocal outcry against the Directive has demonstrated, other internet users remain concerned about its potential implications for freedom of information and censorship online. In this article, we explore some of the more controversial aspects of the Directive, including: the shifting of liability from users onto online platforms to compensate rights holders fairly for the use of their works; and the introduction of the so-called “link tax”, which provides ancillary copyright to press publishers for the use of snippets of…

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