Vote on EU online copyright reform splits usual allies
Hossen Sohel: The European Parliament votes yesterday on a highly complex online copyright law that has split natural political bedfellows and pitted music and news companies against Google and Facebook, reports AFP.
EU lawmakers are divided on the issue even within their usual ideological camps, and a jamboree of lobbying around the Strasbourg session has underscored divisions in the creative community.
Haitian recording star Wyclef Jean was in town to oppose the law — putting him on the side of Silicon Valley giants and activists for internet freedom.
But British singer Murray Head was also there, backing efforts to update EU copyright law for the first time in 15 years and ensure creators are paid fairly in a digital world.
This put Head on the side of other greats such as Beatles frontman Paul McCartney — who wrote in support of the draft law — and of global news organisations, including Agence France-Presse.
Indeed, the ambitious draft provoked one of the most intense lobbying wars in EU history, with both sides spending lavishly on advertising and email campaigns to defend their corner.
The vote will take place at about 1000 GMT after a flurry of media stunts and celebrity appearances to help persuade MEPs.
The outcome remains highly uncertain with stakeholders lobbying MEPs intensely behind the scenes even as lawmakers debated the draft in the chamber.
Rejected in July, members on all sides of the issue have proposed a huge series of amendments hoping to calm the fears of advocates of internet freedom who helped sink an earlier draft.
“We should not accept a world where a handful of multinational companies capture most of the value generated by works created by others,” eight culture ministers, including France’s Francoise Nyssen and Spain’s Jose Guirao Cabrera, wrote in editorial.