Is Tech Ready for Europe's New Copyright Laws?

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on April 01, 2019 2:42 PM

If you thought America's roll-back of net neutrality was the death of a free internet, you don't want to go to Europe.

European lawmakers have approved new copyright laws that could change the internet forever. Google, YouTube, and other major internet platforms have foreseen it.

The new laws would make them police copyright infringement and pay for it, too. The sky isn't falling yet, but the future of the internet is definitely cloudy.

Euro Regulation

The proposed changes go way beyond the General Data Protection Regulation, which the European Union enacted last year to protect data and privacy. It applies to organizations outside the United States, so yeah.

Now the European Parliament has new rules to regulate copyrights. President Antonio Tajani said it will "put an end to the existing digital Wild West by establishing modern rules." To American tech giants, those are fighting words.

YouTube doesn't like it because the law makes the platform responsible for copyright infringement by its users. Google News doesn't like it because the company would have to pay publishers for snippets of their content.

In real-time, Google has already dealt with the spectre of the new laws. The company invested about $100 million to weed out copyright violations on YouTube, which Google owns.

Google, Not

When it comes to paying publishers, however, Google has taken a different route.

Germany and Spain, for example, passed similar copyright laws to force Google News to pay for bits of local content. Instead, Google stopped listing their stories.

According to Fortune, the traffic to those sites collapsed and so they gave Google a temporary exemption. Maybe tech is prepared for Europe's new laws, after all.

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