European Parliament approves controversial new copyright law in blow to tech firms

A years-long battle that has pitted artists against big tech came to a head in Strasbourg on Wednesday, when the European Parliament voted to update copyright protections for the age of content-sharing platforms.

MEPs voted 438-226 with 39 abstentions in favor of a law that is set to give more power to artists, news and traditional media companies as opposed to tech giants like Facebook, Microsoft and Google.

“This is a good sign for Europe’s creative industry,” said German MEP Axel Voss, who helped move the bill along through parliament.

MEPs voted on a range of conflicting amendments prior to the vote, making the make-up of the final draft law not immediately clear.

Two contentious proposals were at the heart of the drama: Article 11, which covers the rights of press publishers, and Article 13, which would hold tech giants liable for copyright infringement committed on their platforms. Critics feared that the former was unworkable and the latter could lead to “upload filters,” or algorithms that would give tech giants control over what content appears on their platform.

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(Photo: Michael Illuchine/