EU countries adopted the reforms that were agreed last month by the European Parliament, they said in a statement. U.S. Internet giants such as Google and Facebook fought a public campaign against the legislation. Under the new rules, Google and other online platforms will have to sign licensing agreements with musicians, performers, authors, and journalists to use their work.
The directive introduces a new right for press publishers for the online use of their publication.
Internet users have protested fearing the bill would make "upload filters" mandatory on all social platforms, barring users from putting up copyrighted content (which could be anything from a meme to a song used in the background). Moreover, they will benefit from enhanced safeguards linked to the freedom of expression when they upload videos that contain rights holders' content, i.e.in memes or parodies.
"The directive does not strike the right balance between the protection of right holders and the interests of European Union citizens and companies", the statement said.
Juncker called the copyright directive the "missing piece of the puzzle" when it comes to the digital age. Platforms will now be forced to police copyrighted material through tools like filters.
Article 15 of the new Directive has also proved controversial.
"It therefore risks to hinder innovation rather than promote it and to have a negative impact the competitiveness of the European digital single market", it added. "This [directive] hurts small and emerging publishers, and limits consumer access to a diversity of news sources". "Europe will now have clear rules that guarantee fair remuneration for creators, strong rights for users and responsibility for platforms". The unintended consequences of today's vote may affect us all in the future.