EU backs copyright reforms targeted at Facebook, Google

EU lawmakers have endorsed an overhaul of the bloc’s two-decade old copyright rules, which will force Google and Facebook to pay publishers for use of news snippets and make them filter out protected content.

The European Parliament backed the reforms by 348 votes to 274 on Tuesday after a debate that has pitted Europe’s creative industry against tech companies, internet activists and consumer groups concerned that the new rules may be too costly and block too much content.

The European Commission began reviewing the rules two years ago in a bid to protect an industry that is worth 915 billion euros (US$1.03 trillion) a year, accounting for 11.65 million jobs and 6.8 percent of the EU economy.

The new rules mean that Google and other online platforms will have to sign licensing agreements with musicians, performers, authors, news publishers and journalists to use their work online.

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