Members of the European Parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs have voted to approve two controversial Articles affecting the way users can create and share content online.

Article 11 requires online platforms to pay publishers a fee if they link to their news content. This law is aimed at helping smaller publishers by driving traffic to their homepage rather than directly to news stories. If a platform were to link to a news article directly then a fee would have to be paid but many opponents are calling this a link tax.

Article 13 is designed to tackle copyright infringement by ensuring platforms that host user generated content enforce copyright. What counts as user generated content? Well anything that gets posted online by a user including text, sounds, code or images which will include things like memes.

The vote wasn’t all one sided however. The European Parliament's Committee on Legal Affairs voted by 15 votes to 10 to adopt Article 13 and only 13 votes to 12 to adopt Article 11.

If the Articles come into force then this could very easily change the internet as we know it.

Many high profile users and organisations have spoken out against these changes including Vint Cerf and Tim Berners-Lee who called it "an imminent threat to the future" of the internet there are some people praising the reform.

The Independent Music Companies Association (Impala) said "It clarifies what the music sector has been saying for years: if you are in the business of distributing music or other creative works, you need a licence, clear and simple. It's time for the digital market to catch up with progress.”

Whilst the Articles have not yet become law, they still need to pass through the wider European Parliament in July, there are many already thinking ahead to a future with these restrictions and how they can adapt or change their platform and usage going forwards.

Published: 21st Jun 2018

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