Skip to main content

EU's Juncker unveils radical copyright reform

In another change, the commission is asking that video platforms, such as YouTube or even Facebook, use technology that can track violations of copyright and shut them down. Photograph: (Getty)

WION Strasbourg, France Sep 14, 2016, 02.42 PM (IST)
New proposals around copyright law to shake up how online news and entertainment is paid for in Europe were unveiled by European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker in Strasbourg today.  

The reform plan aims to bring a fair fight to American video-sharing website,YouTube.

"I want journalists, publishers and authors to be paid fairly for their work, whether it is made in studios or living rooms, whether it is disseminated offline or online, whether it is published via a copying machine or commercially hyperlinked on the web," Juncker said as he gave his annual State of the Union speech. 

Pop stars such as Coldplay and Lady Gaga will hail part of the plan.

The overhaul is meant to bring European copyright law up to date with the digital age to make the world's largest trading bloc more competitive in a tough global field.

One major change would force internet portals such as Google or Reddit to pay newspaper publishers a licence fee when using small extracts or snippets of news content - most notably on Google News or Huffington Post.

"The commission's plan to create a copyright for news publishers in Europe is a significant and historic step," said Carlo Perrone, head of the European Newspaper Publishers' Association.

But, not everyone was happy with the reform plans.

Filmmakers and start-up investors see it as a threat to European innovation and a wrong-headed favour to powerful media groups.

Opponents say this idea punishes smaller publishers and is highly ineffective, as proven when both Germany and Spain created similar systems with neither case producing the badly needed life support to starved newspapers.

"How we share and use the news is in danger. (This plan) won't lead to more income for news sites, let alone journalists," said MEP Daniel Dalton, a conservative from Britain.

The commission is also asking that video platforms, such as YouTube or even Facebook, use technology that can track violations of copyright and shut them down.

Cracking down on YouTube is a key demand of some of the world's biggest music artists who said in a letter to Juncker last June that YouTube was stealing value from streaming services, such as Spotify.

The last time the European Union radically overhauled its copyright laws was in 2001, long before Spotify and YouTube existed.

(WION with inputs from AFP)
Show Comments
  • delete