European press publishers have welcomed the passing of a new digital copyright directive that seeks to reinforce the rights of publishers and journalists online across the European Union. European Parliament passed the Copyright in the Digital Single Market directive by 348 to 274 votes, a majority of 74, with 36 abstentions.
Carlo Perrone, president of the European Newspaper Publishers’ Association, described it as a “historic vote for Europe’s soul and culture” that brought in copyright reform “essential for the future of press publishing and professional journalism”.
The directive was first proposed by German MEP Axel Voss in 2016 in response to the dominance of digital platforms and their use of copyrighted content online without payment. It must now be approved by the EU Council. Member states will then have two years to create legislation to match.
Under the directive, news aggregators such as Facebook will be able to continue to use news “snippets” without permission from publishers, but only when this is a “very short extract” or “individual words”. Beyond that, the directive includes provisions to protect copyright holders.
It has, however, not created any new rights for publishers and journalists, but reinforces their existing rights and brings the internet in line with existing copyright law.