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EU approves tougher copyright rules in blow to Facebook, Google

EU approves tougher copyright rules in blow to Facebook, Google
Brussels (AFP): European Union countries on Monday adopted copyright reforms championed by news publishers and the media business, but opposed by US tech giants like Facebook and Google.

EU countries adopted the reforms that were agreed last month by the European Parliament, they said in a statement.

"The new rules ensure adequate protection for authors and artists while opening up new possibilities for accessing and sharing copyright-protected content online throughout the European Union," they said.

An EU source said Italy, Finland, Sweden, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Poland voted against the controversial legislation.

The culmination of a process that began in 2016, the revamp to European copyright legislation was seen as urgently needed as it had not been updated since 2001, before the birth of YouTube or Facebook.

The reform was loudly backed by media companies and artists, who want to secure revenue from web platforms that allow users to distribute their content.

But it was strongly opposed by internet freedom activists and by Silicon Valley, especially Google, which makes huge profits from the advertising generated alongside the content it hosts.