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Tech Giants Could Need To Pay Billions To Publishers Under The New EU Copyright Act

Tech Giants Could Need To Pay Billions To Publishers Under The New EU Copyright Act
The European Union passed a controversial change to its copy right law that will see technology companies such as Facebook and Google having to share \a greater portion of the revenues with music companies, film-makers and media publishers which to by many could run into billions of euros.
Conceived about two years ago to be the copy right act for the digital age, this new change in the old copy right act has pitted the likes of Paul McCartney, Placido Domingo, Adele and film makers such as Mike Leigh against the Silicon Valley tech giants and their supporters that include Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and internet pioneer Tim Berners-Lee.
The most debated about amendments were made in articles 11 and 13 of the older version of the copyright directive.
Under the amendment in Article 11, online sites that gather news and search sites like Google and Facebook would be forced to pay publishers for displaying showing news snippets or even links to news stories on other sites. This has been called the “link tax” by its critics.
The likes of Google and Facebook have been accused the largest  of the news agencies i n Europe of looting their news as well as their advertisement revenues which – according to them is a direct threat ot democracy.
Under the amended Article 13, licenses from music video makers would have to be sought by the likes of YouTube. This would help the artists a better bargain on their royalty according to supporters of the amendment. 
“This is a great day for Europe’s creators,” said Helen Smith, executive chair of European music body Impala. “The parliament has sent a clear message that copyright needs to be modernised to clarify obligations of platforms with regard to the creative works they distribute.”
But the result of the vote was termed as a catastrophe by a strong critic of the  move, Julia Reda, an MEP of Germany’s Pirate party.
Those against the amendment claim that this will spell doom for the internet because it will bring to an end the sharing of holiday snaps or memes on Facebook.  As a mark of protest to the change in regulations, Wikipedia closed down its pages in some of its European markets. According to the company, this would bring an end to its services of a user-generated encyclopedia.
The new regulations will change the now internet into an “automated surveillance and controlled” platform from its current state of being an open one, said Berners-Lee whco was amongst the 70 internet honchos who were against the law.
There have been accusations levelled against YouTube by artists and music video makers for years that only a very small part of the money that the company makes when the videos are viewed is given to them because of shortage of legal protection from such online businesses. Therefore, they have claimed that there is a large value gap between what their music actually is worth and the money that they are given against it. 

Christopher J. Mitchell

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