By Foo Yun Chee
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU countries are set to agree an overhaul of the bloc’s two-decade old copyright rules next week, requiring Google to pay publishers for news snippets and Facebook to filter out protected content, despite increasing opposition from some governments.
EU lawmakers at the European Parliament gave the European Commission’s proposal a thumbs up last month, wanting to protect Europe’s creative industry which is worth 915 billion euros (£790 billion) annually and employs 11.65 million people.
The revamp has been marked by intense lobbying from tech companies worried about the administrative burden and the hit to their revenues and by artists, publishers and performers seeking fair compensation.
The new rules would force Google and other online platforms to sign licensing agreements with musicians, performers, authors, news publishers and journalists to use their work online.
Google’s YouTube, Facebook’s Instagram and other sharing platforms will also have to install filters to prevent users from uploading copyrighted materials. Critics say this could hit cash-strapped small companies rather than the tech giants.
Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden have said they will vote against the reforms on Monday, a move unlikely to derail the proposal unless a major EU country weighs in to form a blocking minority.
“We regret that the directive does not strike the right balance between the protection of rights holders and the interests of EU citizens and companies,” the countries, with the exception of Sweden, said in a statement.
Belgium and Slovenia will abstain while Estonia said it was not able to have a view because its government had only just come to power.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)