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Polish MEPs split in EU vote on online copyright rules: report

PR dla Zagranicy
Grzegorz Siwicki 13.09.2018 14:15
Polish MEPs took opposite sides as the European Parliament on Wednesday voted in favour of new copyright rules that critics say could limit the freedom of the internet, according to a report.
MEPs vote on modifications to EU copyright reforms. Photo: EPA/PATRICK SEEGERMEPs vote on modifications to EU copyright reforms. Photo: EPA/PATRICK SEEGER

Eurodeputies from Poland’s opposition Civic Platform (PO) party supported the new rules, which aim to change the way in which internet companies use media, music, news articles and other content posted online, while MEPs from Poland’s ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party voted against the proposal, the wiadomosci.onet.pl news website reported.

In the vote in Strasbourg, France, on Wednesday, 438 European Parliament lawmakers backed a report aimed at protecting the rights of authors and creators of works such as books, films and computer software, while 226 were against, with 39 abstentions, wiadomosci.onet.pl noted.

The European Commission, the executive arm of the 28-nation European Union, has said the overhaul is needed to protect Europe’s cultural heritage and create a level playing field between big online platforms and publishers, broadcasters and artists, the Reuters news agency has reported.

With the proposed new measures greenlighted by EU lawmakers, the next step is negotiations with the European Commission, which began the debate on online copyright rules two years ago, and individual EU countries to reconcile their different positions, with a final vote expected next year, according to Reuters.

Freedom of the internet

The planned new EU directive, which aims to change the rules for posting and monitoring online content, has aroused controversy, wiadomosci.onet.pl noted.

Opponents argue the new measures could endanger the freedom of the internet and lead to censorship, while advocates say changes in law are needed to better protect the rights of authors and creators.

Under one new measure, internet companies would be forced to pay publishers for displaying news snippets. Another measure would require online platforms such as YouTube and Instagram to install filters to prevent users from uploading copyrighted material, according to reports.

PO for, PiS against

Polish MEP Tadeusz Zwiefka was quoted as saying after the vote that lawmakers from his PO party supported the new rules motivated by a desire “to defend the rights of the citizens of the European Union, the rights of companies that operate in the EU.”

Arguments “to the effect that [the planned changes] are an attack on internet freedom” are “the biggest lie that can be told,” Zwiefka said, as quoted by wiadomosci.onet.pl.

Meanwhile, Tomasz Poręba, a MEP for the PiS party, told a news conference in Strasbourg that the European Parliament on Wednesday backed “some very serious restrictions on free access to the internet,” wiadomosci.onet.pl reported.

He added that PiS MEPs voted against the proposal.

Poręba also said, as quoted by wiadomosci.onet.pl: “Our colleagues from the PO voted in favour of there being less freedom on the internet. It’s a disgrace, shame and embarrassment for those colleagues of ours in this chamber.”


Source: wiadomosci.onet.pl, Reuters

tags: internet
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