EU panel approves controversial copyright legislation

EU panel approves controversial copyright legislation
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A European Union committee voted on Wednesday in favor of a controversial piece of legislation meant to crack down on copyright infringement.

The legislation, called the Copyright Directive, passed its first hurdle when the EU’s Legal Affairs Committee voted in favor of the measure, The Verge reported.

The measure includes two controversial provisions that critics say will have a devastating effect on the internet.

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One provision includes a “link tax” that would force companies like Facebook and Google to buy licenses from news media companies before they can link to their online stories.

Another provision, an “upload filter,” would require all online content uploaded from within the EU to be screened for copyright infringement.

Opponents, however, say the legislation is too vague and would be too expensive to operate efficiently. 

“The methods to address the issue are catastrophic and will hurt the people they want to protect,” Green MEP Julia Reda told reporters earlier this week, according to Reuters.

After Wednesday's vote, Reda told The Verge that it was a “sad day for the internet.”

The measure still needs to be voted on by the entire European Parliament.

A vote is not yet scheduled and could happen around December 2018 or early next year, The Verge reported.

Joe McNamee, executive director of digital rights association EDRI, told The Verge that EU citizens are making their objections to the copyright law heard. 

“I was told that the volume of calls, emails, and texts everyone in the Parliament has been getting has led people not in the committee to start getting worried,” McNamee said. “This momentum is pushing down the likely majority [in the European Parliament] every day.”