Draft amendments of E.U. copyright laws touched upon the problem of content creators’ license fees

European legislators discussed last week the possibility of modernising the mandate of E.U. copyright laws to accommodate licensing problems in the digital age. This represents one of the latest efforts by Europe to lock down multinational technology conglomerates into the road of greater accountability.  A modernisation of copyright laws infers that content owners would have greater flexibility in negotiating license fees before sharing their content on web platform’s such as Google’s YouTube.

The final text of the legislative proposal will arrive in the European Parliament in the coming months for ratification. Successful ratification of new copyright laws will then mobilise legislative amendments in each of the 28 member-states domestic statutes. A grace period is also envisaged to help companies conform to the new directives.

The news over potential amendments to E.U. copyright laws were greeted with enthusiasm by four leading press groups. The entail namely, the European Magazine Media Association, the European Newspapers Publishers’ Association, the European Publisher Council and News Media Europe.

For its part the tech-giant Google has expressed its displeasure against such a legislative development as it would require payment of licensing fees to original content publishers and increased protection from copyright infringement tools.

This development also spread a lot of misinformation across the social media claiming that new copyright rules will vanish memes or open internet sources. The problem with these statements lies in that they are entrapped into a war of misinformation, given that E.U. authorities have not disclosed the draft amendments to copyright laws.

For their part, several YouTube creators saw this legislative development under a positive eye, seeking to protect their copyrighted material but others also expressed concern of potential diminution of their exposure and market outreach across social media platforms.

The current laissez-faire scheme in relation to copyright restrictions of published material over the internet has contributed to the market leadership of industry giants such as Google and its platforms like YouTube. A potential amendment of E.U. copyright rules would surely upset the current equilibrium over the internet, but it is unknown towards which direction the new legislative propositions would steer intellectual property rights.

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