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EU parliament votes for mandatory web filters for copyrighted content

The European Union's parliament has voted in favour of the Copyright Directive, a controversial package of requirements for protecting intellectual property on the internet. Articles 11 and 13 of the directive would require aggregators like Google News to pay fees to publication whose articles they link to, and effectively require platforms to put in filters to proactively filter out copyrighted content. Activists and aggregators like Reddit have cried foul, with the Electronic Frontier Foundation calling the directive's approval a "crushing setback" to the internet. The filter effectively forces websites to pre-censor all posts by users before they're allowed to see the light of day. A proposed amendment that would exclude 'incidental' infringement, like street photographs with copyrighted images in the background, was rejected. The vote will have to be formally cleared in January next year, after which individual EU member states will have to implement the directive. Criticism of Copyright Directive The last iteration of Articles 11 and 13 was defeated in the European Parliament in July. Even after amendments, the directive, as it passed, has received heavy criticism from internet companies and activists. Calling the vote an "extinction-level event for the Internet as we know it," the EFF wrote that the "link tax [which requires web companies to pay licensing fees to publications they aggregate content from] means that only the largest, best-funded companies will be able to offer a public space where the news can be discussed and debated." Social media site Reddit, which relies exclusively on links…

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

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