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EU Legislators Debate Controversial Copyright Proposal – How Has US Handled?
For the moment, the EU has rejected a copyright law proposal that would have put more responsibility on websites to check for copyright infringements and made online platforms pay for linking to news stories.
Law professor Shubha Ghosh is director of the Syracuse Intellectual Property Law Institute. His extensive research focuses on the development and commercialization of intellectual property and technology as a means of promoting economic and social development.
“The European Parliament rejected proposed legislation that would have imposed a tax on tech companies like Facebook that linked to content (link tax) and would have required companies to implement technology to screen copyrighted content from being uploaded to their platforms. The legislature was promoted by copyright societies representing artists, authors, and composers and will now be redrafted for reconsideration by the EU in September.
“The U.S. has dealt with these issues through the courts. Linking is generally found not to constitute copyright infringement, often protected as fair use. Screening technology has been voluntarily adopted by platform companies to avoid liability for copyright infringement. Extended litigation between Viacom and YouTube addressed issues of copyright liability with YouTube adopting ContentID technology in the late 2000’s to help monitor and takedown copyright infringing content. Facebook and other platforms use similar technologies. The use of screening technology has been voluntary rather than mandatory, contrasting with the rejected proposal in the EU.
“The impetus for the EU legislation is the concern among authors, artists, and composers that they are not being adequately compensated for use of their copyrighted work online. In the U.S., such issues have been addressed through copyright enforcement against unauthorized uploads and downloads of content and the creation of digital rights going back to amendments to the copyright law in 1996. The recently passed Music Modernization Act extends protection to streaming of sound recordings, an issue of long-term and ongoing controversy in the courts and Congress.”
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