The European Commission tried on Friday to clarify the scope and responsibilities of the revised copyright rules passed last year to defuse criticism from France, Poland, EU broadcasters and Internet activists.

The revised Copyright Directive is the first major overhaul in 20 years. It aims to provide fair compensation for the EU’s US$1 trillion (approximately 730.09 billion rupees) creative industries and its 11.70 million employees.

It sparked a fierce lobbying battle that pitted artists and news publishers against technology companies, Internet activists, and consumer groups. France joined the fight, and Poland took its grievances to court.

A key provision supported by the creative industry, Article 17, will force Google’s YouTube, Facebook’s Instagram and other sharing platforms to install filters to prevent users from uploading copyrighted material.

These platforms may be prosecuted for providing copyright infringing content to the public, even if the content has been uploaded by users. However, critics say that the filter is expensive and can cause false blockages.

EU countries must translate this directive into national law before June 7.

The Commission stated in a policy document issued on Friday that Article 17 only applies to online service providers and online audio and video streaming service providers who profit from copyrighted works uploaded by users to their platforms .

Non-profit online encyclopedias and educational institutions, open source software platforms and online markets will not be subject to this rule.

Companies can be exempted from liability if they can prove that they have done their best to obtain authorization for copyrighted works on their platform, and act quickly to delete the content after receiving the notice.

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In order to appease Internet activists, the committee stated that Article 17 should not apply to cartoons, imitations, criticism, comments, and quotations.

It stated that automatic content blocking should be limited to uploads that are clearly infringing, and EU countries should provide service providers with complaint and correction mechanisms so that their users can use it in the event of a dispute.

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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