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Article 13 Finalized

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BRUSSELS, Belgium (CelebrityAccess) — European negotiators have agreed on the final text of the sweeping Copyright Directive in the Digital Single Market, including language on the contentious Article 13 clause.

The finalization of the text was one of the last roadblocks to the approval of the directive by the European Parliament and presaged the commencement of the final stages of negotiation after EU member states voted to use a deal between France and Germany as the basis of the agreement.

Article 13, if approved, would replace the mere conduit” exemption from copyright infringement from for-profit “online content sharing service providers” with a new, conditional exemption to liability.

While the final language of the agreement has not been announced, previous iterations of Article 13 would attempt to force content platforms such as YouTube and Facebook to be liable for copyrighted information and to create a filter that would detect and block the upload of copyrighted information.

The measure has created a split in the music business, with some organizations such as German collection society GEMA and the UK’s Council of Music Makers supporting the measure as a much-needed reform of an antiquated copyright system that allows companies such as YouTube to profit off of copyrighted works.

Other groups, such as the IFPI, ICMP, and IMPALA see the potential for the stifling of the creative sector and warn that the ramifications of the measure have not been fully considered.

As some critics have noted, the proposed copyright filters fly in the face of commonly accepted uses of copyrighted material, such as quotation or parody. They also point to the notoriously bad track record of existing copyright filters such as YouTube’s ContentID system.

The finalized text of the rules will be next considered by the full European Parliament, with councils held in May. If the Parliament approves the Directive, the EU’s member states will have 24 months to adopt the new rules into their national legislation.

“To finally have modern copyright rules for the whole of EU is a major achievement that was long overdue,” European Commission VP for the digital single market Andrus Ansip said in a statement released Wednesday. “The negotiations were difficult, but what counts in the end is that we have a fair and balanced result that is fit for a digital Europe: the freedoms and rights enjoyed by internet users today will be enhanced, our creators will be better remunerated for their work, and the internet economy will have clearer rules for operating and thriving.”

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