By Phil Gura
Opening another front in the data wars, the Members of the European Parliament, on March 26, 2019, adopted the text of a new Copyright Directive. According to the European Parliament, the Directive “aims to ensure that the longstanding rights and obligations of copyright law also apply to the internet” and that “YouTube, Facebook and Google News are some of the internet household names that will be most directly affected by this legislation.”
Well, yes. The Directive very clearly takes aim at “internet giants”, seeking to level the playing field for “creatives” and news publishers. Outlining how it anticipates the Directive achieving that goal, the European Parliament said:
Currently, internet companies have little incentive to sign fair licensing agreements with rights holders, because they are not considered liable for the content that their users upload. They are only obliged to remove infringing content when a rights holder asks them to do so. However, this is cumbersome for rights holders and does not guarantee them a fair revenue. Making internet companies liable will enhance rights holders’ chances (notably musicians, performers and script authors, as well as news publishers and journalists) to secure fair licensing agreements, thereby obtaining fairer remuneration for the use of their works exploited digitally.