The European Council has given the green light to implement sweeping changes to existing copyright laws, in an effort to curtail the power of Google, YouTube and Facebook. The controversial new laws, which were backed by MEPs last month after years of fierce debate, will force internet companies to be responsible for policing content on their sites and to give a bigger share of profits to content creators for displaying their work. Google and Facebook will now be forced to enter into licencing agreements with artists, musicians and journalists to display their work for the first time, signalling a potential shift in the economics of the web. Nineteen European governments voted for the revamp in the European Council on Monday, including the UK, France and Germany. Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden opposed the reforms, while Belgium, Estonia and Slovenia abstained. The measures, which are expected to heavily impact the bottom line of online companies, were heralded by the European Council as a ”milestone for the development of a robust and well-functioning digital single market”. This decision will likely heighten the tension between Brussels and Silicon Valley, following a series of multi-billion dollar fines and tax demands against technology behemoths Google, Amazon… Read full this story
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