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EU copyright overhaul on track for members' approval

Under tough new EU copyright laws, online platforms such as Google will have to pay licencing fees to content producers. REUTERS/Aly Song

Controversial EU copyright reforms approved by the European Parliament in March are set to be voted on by member states Monday – with some countries saying they oppose the new rules.

The Council of the EU will also vote on whether to adopt the Copyright Directive – which would require Google to pay licencing fees to news organisations, and Facebook to filter out material posted without proper permission.

The new measures, intended to ensure fair copyright on the internet, are at the core of the EU’s 2015 Digital Single Market Strategy – but critics say they go too far and risk destroying user-generated content.

Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Finland and Luxembourg say they intend to vote down the reforms, however a majority of countries are in favour.

Monday’s vote comes two years after the EU executive proposed the sweeping changes – designed to protect the rights of artists, performers, publishers and broadcasters – and ensure they’re fairly remunerated for their work.

Critics of the first update of the Copyright Directive in nearly 20 years fear it could damage Europe’s competitiveness in the digital market. Google has lobbied against the move and even suggested it might be forced to pull its news aggregation platform from Europe.

If the measures are adopted Monday, they will need to be published in the Official Journal of the EU before they come into force.

EU Member States will then have two years to pass implementing legislation on a national level. This means the full effects of the copyright overhaul won’t be seen before May 2021.

User-generated sites such as Facebook and Youtube would need to filter protected content under new EU copyright rules. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo