Amidst the growing and complicated discussion regarding the future of the big social media and tech companies, the European Union has approved tougher copyright laws aimed specifically at
the billion-dollar tech companies Facebook and Google.
According to a recent report from OANN, the EU has compelled Google by law to pay news and media publishers “for news snippets and Facebook filter out protected content” according to the
new law. This new copyright rule is intended to guarantee an equal playing ground and “ensuring fair compensation for the European Union’s $1 trillion creative industries.” This new rule came about Monday, April 15th, as the backing that began with the movement launched by the European Commission finally became law. In Europe today, their overall creative industries account for employing “11.7 million people in the bloc.”
Google, however, was not enthusiastic regarding this new copyright requirement. Reporter Foo Yun Chee states in her story that:
“Under the new rules, Google and other online platforms will have to sign licensing agreements with musicians, performers, authors, news publishers and journalists to use their work. The European Parliament gave a green light last month to a proposal that has pitted Europe’s creative industry against tech companies, internet activists and consumer groups. Wikipedia blacked out several European sites in protest last month, while the change was opposed by Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden. But 19 countries, including France and Germany, endorsed the revamp, while Belgium, Estonia and Slovenia abstained. Under the new regime Google-owned YouTube, Facebook’s Instagram and other sharing platforms will have to install filters to prevent users from uploading copyrighted materials. Google said the new rules would hurt Europe’s creative and digital economies, while critics said it would hit cash-strapped smaller companies rather than the tech giants.”
This action by the EU marks as a historic moment in international copyright and intellectual property right law since these laws are traditionally not upheld by any international body. By that, I mean that the United States, in this hypothetical example, cannot enforce its copyright laws over a foreign business. In this situation, a foreign body (the European Union) is forcing two American companies as seen in Google and Facebook, to abide by European Union copyright laws. It will be interesting to see how the European Union will be enforcing these laws and whether Google specifically, since they were named as the significant perpetrator, will plan on fighting back in court anytime in the near future.