Google Voices Concern Over Proposed Changes to EU Copyright Laws
Changes would require internet companies to become copyright cops and would impose unviable license fees on them, a Google executive says.Google this week expressed disappointment with proposed changes to European Union copyright laws that, among other things, would give EU news publishers the right to charge license fees for content that companies like Google use to anchor search results. In a post on Google's Europe Blog, Caroline Atkinson, the company's vice president of global policy, said Google in general supports efforts to fight copyright-infringing activity on the internet. But "there's an important balance to be struck—one that enables rightsholders to manage and profit from their work while also allowing the creativity and innovation of the web to flourish," she said. The European Commission has proposed updating the EU's copyright rules to adapt them to what it describes as the changed realities of the digital world. The Commission has said the proposed updates would enable better choice and information access for internet users while creating a fairer environment for content creators and the press. The proposed changes would also update copyright rules for educational and research institutions. The need for change stems from the increasing challenges that copyright owners and news publishers face in ensuring fair use of their content by internet companies, the European Commission has noted without naming any company. It has stressed the need for publishers and for copyright owners to be fairly compensated for their content by online content aggregators.
The Commission has called out online services that provide access to copyrighted video content uploaded by users—like YouTube, for instance. It has described such services as flourishing and becoming the main access points for content online while giving the actual copyright owners little ability to determine how their content is used.