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EU lawmakers to vote on the copyright law revision next Tuesday

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU lawmakers will vote next Tuesday on whether or not to endorse an overhaul of the bloc’s two-year-old copyright rules, Google and internet activists reinforced the criticism of a requirement to install copyright filters.

FILE PHOTO: Google’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel Kent Walker to appear before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, V. S., November 1, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

The European Parliament’s approval is the last step in a process that the European Commission kicked off two years ago with a proposal to protect Europe’s cultural heritage and ensure publishers, broadcasters and artists get a fair compensation from the major online companies.

The proposed scheme would be the power of Google and other online platforms to sign licensing agreements with musicians, performers, writers, publishers and journalists to use their work online.

A requirement for Google’s YouTube, Facebook’s Instagram and other sharing platforms to install filters to catch violations of the copyright referred to in Article 13 has led to protests, an online petition www.savetheinternet.info the gathering of more than 5 million signatures so far.

The article could prompt online platforms to over-block content to minimize legal risks, Google’s senior vice-president for global affairs Kent Walker wrote in a blog post earlier this month.

“Article 13, can have an impact on a large number of platforms, large and small, many of them are European. Some may not be able to bear these risks,” Walker said.

The EU legislator Julia Reda of the Pirate y, under the leadership of the opposition to certain elements of the reforms urged opponents to take part in Europe-wide protests on Saturday.

Critics say filters are expensive and can lead to erroneous blocking. Last month, Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Poland refused to back the reforms.

Artists, including film producers Pedro Almodovar and Michel Hazanavicius, Benny Andersson of Abba and writer Ali Smith, in support of the review.

Europe For the Makers, who stands for people and organizations from the creative industry, urged lawmakers to overhaul without any changes.

“Any change would mean that the trilogue agreement, so there is no time to re-consider a new text for the European elections, and the exit of the European citizens, industry and the creative sector to drift in the Digital Single Market,” he said.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Jan Harvey

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