EU approves online copyright reforms

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Nineteen countries, including the UK, voted in favour of the tougher laws. But not everyone is happy with the copyright reforms.

EU member states have given the green light to controversial copyright reforms in the latest step aimed at making tech giants more responsible for paying creatives, musicians and news outlets more fairly for their work online.

But while nineteen countries  voted in favour, another six voted against and three abstained.

Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Finland and Sweden were among the countries which voted against. Belgium, Estonia and Slovenia opted to abstain from voting.

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Nineteen countries voted for, while six voted against (Victoria Jones/PA)

The latest vote comes after the majority of MEPs approved the copyright reforms in March and rejected making any individual amendments by a slim majority of five votes.

Supporters in the creative, music and journalism industries have long argued that the copyright reforms will enable content-makers to be fairly paid for their work. But opponents, including the tech giants themselves, fear the changes will have an impact on freedom of speech and expression online.

Two parts, Article 11 and Article 13, have been the most contentious since talks started. They have prompted the likes of YouTube to warn that viewers across the EU could be cut off from videos.

EU member states will have two years to implement the reforms, although it is not clear what it would mean for the UK in the face of Brexit uncertainty.

“This is a deeply disappointing result which will have a far-reaching and negative impact on freedom of speech and expression online,” said Catherine Stihler, chief executive of the Open Knowledge Foundation.

“The controversial crackdown was not universally supported, and I applaud those national governments which took a stand and voted against it.

“We now risk the creation of a more closed society at the very time we should be using digital advances to build a more open world where knowledge creates power for the many, not the few.”

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