EU countries, lawmakers clinch copyright overhaul deal

FILE PHOTO: A European Union flag flutters outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium June 20, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union is set to rewrite its two decades-old copyright rules to ensure a level playing field between its creative industries and tech giants such as Google and Facebook, after striking a deal on the issue on Wednesday.

While the revamp is likely to result in more compensation for publishers, broadcasters and artists from online platforms, it could burden small start-ups with additional costs as they will be required to install upload filters.

Negotiators from the EU countries, the European Parliament and the European Commission clinched a deal on Wednesday after negotiations that lasted all day.

“Agreement reached on #copyright! Europeans will finally have modern copyright rules fit for digital age with real benefits for everyone: guaranteed rights for users, fair remuneration for creators, clarity of rules for platforms,” EU digital chief Andrus Ansip said in a tweet.

The EU executive kicked off the debate two years ago, saying the rules needed to be overhauled to protect the bloc’s cultural heritage and make sure that publishers, broadcasters and artists are remunerated fairly.

The issue pitted Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Mozilla, other tech companies and even Wikipedia against publishers, among them Germany’s Axel Springer, and other creators of content, triggering intense lobbying on both sides.

The agreement needs approval from the European Parliament before it can become law. That is expected to be a formality.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Susan Fenton

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