Controversial copyright law reforms that could affect what people can share on websites like YouTube have moved one step closer to becoming a reality, after EU decision makers agreed on changes to the text.
The Committee of Permanent Representatives in the European Union (Coreper) concluded discussions on Friday evening on new compromise proposals, which will be put to MEPs next week before they make their final decision at a later date.
Two parts of the law, Article 11 and Article 13, have been most contentious since the start of talks to change copyright rules, which could affect the way music, memes and news articles are shared online.
Some creators argue Article 13 of the law protects their work, while critics fear it will ruin the internet.
“Glad to see EU countries once again finding a common voice on copyright reform,” said Andrus Ansip, European Commission vice-president for the digital single market following the announcement.
“Europeans deserve copyright rules fit for digital age: it is good for creators, platforms and for regular internet use.”
Julia Reda, a German MEP and prominent opponent to the reforms, said: “Dirty deal between France and Germany prevails, for now: Council ready to continue negotiations on the worst version of Article 13 yet, next stop negotiations with Parliament. Call your MEPs now!”
Google-owned YouTube has voiced concerns about the impact of Article 13, warning users that viewers across the EU could be cut off from videos.
On Thursday, a group of concerned parties also joined calls for the law changes to be scrapped, with The Premier League and independent music companies association Impala among the signatories.
“European creatives and rights-holders call on negotiators not to proceed with copyright directive on the basis of current proposals,” they said in an open letter.
“Despite our constant commitment in the last two years to finding a viable solution, and having proposed many positive alternatives, the text, as currently drafted and on the table, no longer meets these objectives, not only in respect of any one article, but as a whole.
“As rights holders we are not able to support it or the impact it will have on the European creative sector.”