New EU copyrights law in effect in the UK


EU’s copyright rules have passed its final hurdle and will now come into law in the UK.

The rules include a section known as Article 13. It says that if users upload infringing content to a service, the tech firm involved must either make a “best effort” to get permission from the rights holders or quickly remove it.

The UK was among 19 nations that supported the law in its European Council vote.

But Poland was one of those that objected on the grounds that it could pave the way to internet censorship. It’s said that five other countries also opposed the rules – Italy, Finland, Sweden, Luxembourg and the Netherlands – while Belgium, Estonia and Slovenia abstained.

Google had led lobbying efforts against the law’s introduction.

At one point it had featured pop-up notices on its YouTube video-streaming service warning that the effort could have “unintended consequences”, including the blocking of some of its clips to EU-based members.

In particular, there was a concern that memes featuring clips from TV shows and films could no longer be shared. However, tweaks to the law subsequently made an exception for content used for the “purposes of quotation, criticism, review, caricature, parody and pastiche”.

Even so, there is still a concern that smaller sites will struggle to track down and pay copyright holders or to develop content filters that automatically block suspect material.


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