Today, lawmakers across the European Union will vote on a new controversial copyright reform that has seen artists, authors and creators clash with tech giants such as Google and Facebook. But why are the reforms causing such controversy?
The proposed new copyright directive has been drafted with creators in mind; the new reforms are supposed to protect them by allowing them to charge those who are copying their work online. A band of artists such as Annie Lennox and Paul McCartney have campaigned for the reforms in order to stop companies such as Facebook and YouTube illegally uploading their music. Many artists feel that the current copyright laws are insufficient in remunerating them for their work; instead internet streaming companies are the ones who are unfairly gaining.
Others, however, are concerned that the new reforms could bring in a feel of self-censorship, where internet streaming sites will have to filter through masses of content to make sure copyright protected work is not being uploaded. This in itself will be a managerial nightmare considering the sheer number of videos uploaded to YouTube every minute, for example, and so it is likely that this level of mass filtering out will be done by computers. We previously reported on YouTube's Content-ID content checker and whether this technology is fit for purpose, this article can be read here. People have exclaimed that the new reforms will spell the end of the internet, where memes and even holiday photos could be filtered out.
In summary, those in the creative industries have and will continue to campaign for EU lawmakers to implement the new reforms. On the other side of the fence, internet streaming sites such as Google, Facebook and YouTube are avid in their stance against the reforms being implemented. The reforms, however, should not be seen as dividing artists with internet streaming companies; the divide is not as obvious as that. Music artist Wyclef Jean has explained that he thinks the reforms will actually be damaging to artists and musicians.
The reforms were previously voted against in July this year; today will mark the second vote on the reform. Watch this space.
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