New EU copyright law could hurt news aggregators; end memes.

(FinancialPress) — The European Union could pass a new copyright law that‘s attracted negative attention from the tech industry, as well as from internet pioneers.

The law was passed by an European Parliament committee last week. If enacted, it‘d force companies such as Google to pay for showing news excerpts in its content. The new restrictions would also make social platforms like Facebook and Instagram to add copyright-infringement-detecting filters for content uploaded by its users.

The prospective copyright law has received backlash from eminent figures such as Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and WWW creator Tim Berners-Lee. They have expressed concern over the issue, indicating that it could harm freedom of expression by preventing users from sharing content of their own creation or adaptation.

Worst of all – the law could be the end of internet memes. 

“[The proposed law] takes an unprecedented step towards the transformation of the internet from an open platform for sharing and innovation, into a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users,” says a letter signed by Wales, Berners-Lee and other industry heavyweights. It was directed to European Parliament President Antonio Tajani.

The copyright law-to-be has also garnered opposition from major tech firms. Google says that it will make it impossible to send traffic to news publishers via its search and Google News functions.

The EU feels that it‘s time for an overhaul, since current copyright laws are “outdated“. The current ones have been in place since 2001 – and are not enforced with particular consistence.

The new legislation will allow artists and publishers to reap the benefits of its work in online activity, they say.

“News publishers and artists, especially the smaller ones, are not getting paid due to the practices of powerful online content-sharing platforms and news aggregators,” said Axel Voss, the man behind the law prospect. “This is wrong and we aim to redress it.”

Lawmakers who oppose the legislation are aiming to force a vote on the issue next month.

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