The Malta Independent 20 June 2019, Thursday

Updated: EU lawmakers vote for new online copyright rules

Wednesday, 12 September 2018, 10:43 Last update: about 10 months ago

European Union lawmakers have voted in favor of new copyright rules that could shake up the way internet companies use media, books, music and other content posted online.

In Strasbourg on Wednesday, lawmakers voted by 438 to 226 to back a report aimed at shielding the rights that protect the author or creator of a work like a book, film or computer software.

German lawmaker Axel Voss, who chaperoned the report through the assembly, said the vote "is a good sign for the creative industries in Europe." Media and publishers say the changes would help them get paid for their work. Opponents say they are too hard to put into effect, and might lead to filtering or even greater control over the internet.

Earlier today, the Partit Demokratiku raised alarm on the EU Copyright Directive, noting that the European Parliament were voting - for a second time - on a Copyright Directive containing controversial articles which may "negatively impact the Internet."

Partit Demokratiku called for Malta's MEPs to vote against the Directive due to the vagueness of certain articles within the proposed law, "and the possibility to exploit them to the detriment of a free Internet."

"Article 13 in particular threatens to impose that websites create a content filter to avoid the proliferation of copyrighted material on the internet. However, there are concerns this may lead to Fair Use online content being unfairly blocked. The potential limitations imposed on people's current ability to express themselves on the internet may threaten freedom of speech."

"Those opposing this Directive include Wikipedia, many technology and internet experts, the United Nation's Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, Creative Commons and others."

Partit Demokratiku had called for amendments and revision to the controversial articles until the fears of the public are allayed.

Maltese MEP Francis Zammit Dimech however, welcomed the vote.

"Today's vote in plenary is a positive step in favour of Maltese artists and the media. Over the past weeks I met artists including singers, songwriters, authors along with publishers and the media, who spoke to me about difficulties they are facing. This is why I campaigned in favour of new legislation which will tackle the issues faced." 

Zammit Dimech said that during several consultation meetings held in Malta, artists spoke to him about the value gap. Some full time artists had shown him documents showing that their income was less than €200 over six months, even if their work was used extensively. "The value gap was in fact a major concern among Maltese stakeholders and which will be tackled through the new legislation."

Zammit Dimech said that supporting artists was crucial for citizens to continue enjoying cultural and creative content. He reiterated the call made by Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja that "the music industry faces extinction without EU legislation" and that the legalisation "will ensure that our youngsters will have recording opportunities in the future". Zammit Dimech, who is a member of the Committee on Legal Affairs, said that the new legislation is also crucial to safeguard quality journalism and ensure a financially independent press whist securing jobs of those working in the media sector.

In the light of misinformation campaigns, Zammit Dimech emphasised that the internet as a platform of free speech will not be compromised in any manner. "This legislation will in no way stop memes, parody or hyperlinking. There will be no link tax. All this has been further clarified in the text as adopted today by the European Parliament" he added.



  • don't miss