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EU Copyright Law Threatens Internet Giants

Google and Youtube, among others, are facing the consequences of legislation initiated two years ago, which would oblige them to pay considerably more for publishing news and music in the future. The draft, amended and approved last month by the European Parliament, concerns various articles of the European Copyright Act, of which the most important for these industries is Article 11, imposing the so-called “link tax”. Article 11 would give publishers additional copyrights for the digital distribution of their publications, which means that without the publisher’s authorisation, sharing article previews or news headlines that are not fact-based, will not be permitted. Publishers will have the right to decide whether or not to exercise their additional rights; thus, every publisher’s policy will have to be reviewed each time before distributing or publishing a link. This will also apply to individuals, since sharing someone’s work on the Internet is subject to copyright and may therefore require referring to the author or paying a fee. Additional copyright for publishers will not be limited to news, but will also concern photos or videos. The draft law will undergo trilateral negotiations before the European Commission and the Council of the European Union, followed by a final vote in January.

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