EU lawmakers have finally approved changes to copyright legislation that some critics argue could change the face of the internet, according to a Sky News report.
The Copyright Directive was approved by 348 MEPs, while 274 voted against and 36 abstained.
The new Copyright Directive is designed to make large tech companies more responsible for paying creatives, musicians, and news outlets more fairly for the work that they publish online.
EU member states will have around two years to implement the reform, but it’s not clear how those changes would affect the UK in the face of Brexit uncertainty.
“A huge thank you to all the MEPs who supported the Copyright Directive today and the fantastic work of all those who have campaigned so hard on this,” representative body, UK Music, tweeted.
Julia Reda, a German MEP, called the vote a “dark day of internet freedom” on Twitter.
Opponents of the reform, which include several large tech companies like Google, fear that the changes will have an impact on freedom of speech and expression online.
Two clauses, Article 11 and Article 13, have caused the most controversy since talks started, with YouTube warning that viewers across the EU could be cut off from videos.
Sir Paul McCartney and Debbie Harry were among the most vocal supporters of the changes, alongside a number of groups including the European Alliance of News Agencies which claim that it provides an opportunity to develop the quality of news services.
Alexandru Giboi, secretary general of the European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA), said: “Creators of content have a much better chance of obtaining a fair remuneration for their work, and European citizens have also a much better chance of accessing quality content online.
“In consequence, the new copyright legislation will prove to be a win-win solution for both the trustworthy, quality media and the public.
“The inclusion of news agencies in the text of the directive can also be interpreted as a recognition of the quality of our work, and of the importance that news agency journalism has, especially for safeguarding European media as a whole, as European news agencies are the main providers of quality news to most of the other media organisations in Europe.”