EU negotiators have agreed to a draft overhaul of EU copyright rules, ending two years of fierce battle between tech giants and defense industries. creation.

After three consecutive days of closed-door talks in Strasbourg, EU officials, MEPs and diplomats from Member States have reached an agreement to reorganize copyright rules in order to Forcing platforms such as YouTube to remove user-generated content in violation of intellectual property rights.

Wednesday's agreement, concluded after 21 hours after 12 hours of negotiations, ends a fight between Google News, YouTube and Twitter against musicians, artists and publishers who use their services. A majority of MEPs must now vote in favor of the directive for its entry into force. EU governments will also have to approve the text.

"Europeans will finally have modern copyright rules that are digital-friendly and offer real benefits for all: guaranteed rights for users, fair remuneration for creators, clear rules for platforms said Andrus Ansip, European Commissioner for Digital Policy.

The European Commission first proposed a revolution in copyright laws to give rights holders – such as artists, musicians and publishers – greater bargaining power to demand payment. free Internet services such as platforms and search engines.

Under the draft agreement, Google's press service would be forced to withdraw licenses from publishers such as newspapers to post articles on its news feed. The search engine warned that its business model in Europe would be threatened by licensing rules and limit the ability of users to know what they are clicking on. Opponents have dubbed it a "tax on links".

European negotiators agreed to remove the obligation to protect "very short" text extracts, said Axel Voss, a German MEP in charge of agreeing on the parliament's position. Authors and journalists could also get a share of license revenues.

"The agreement aims to increase the opportunities for rights holders, including musicians, performers and scriptwriters, as well as press publishers, to negotiate better compensation arrangements for the use of their works on Internet platforms, "said the European Parliament.

Officials said the final phase negotiations were over as to whether memes would be covered by the rules. Internet freedom activists have argued that the directive would make it illegal to share these fast-moving images and video clips and force platforms to remove parodic content. Mr Voss said that the final agreement would allow users to freely share memes, GIF files and other parodic elements, for non-commercial purposes.

One of the most controversial elements of the redesign – known as Article 13 – is designed to make platforms more accountable for the removal of user-generated content that violates copyright law. . YouTube warned that this would mean that millions of videos would become unavailable in Europe.

Julia Reda, MEP of the German pirate party, said the deal violated the freedom of the internet and urged MEPs to reject the deal at a vote scheduled for late March. "Download filters do not work because algorithms simply can not tell the difference between copyright infringement and legal spoofing," Reda said.

"Requiring platforms to use load filters would not only result in more frequent blocking of legal loads, but would make life more difficult for smaller platforms that can not afford filtering software," he said. she declared.

But Mr Voss said that opponents who termed the "end of the internet" requirements were talking about "total nonsense". "We did not say anything about filtering in the text. YouTube will always exist and the Internet will always exist, "said the MEP.

The European group of songwriters and composers said the agreement sent "a clear message: the major platforms dominating the online content market at the expense of creators must stop freeriding and comply with rules of copyright ".

A group of European publishers, including the European Association of Newspaper Publishers and the Council of European Publishers, urged MEPs to support the agreement in order to "allow a fair exchange between those who produce and those who distribute for their own commercial profit "to continue in a profitable and fair way".

The Computer & Communications Industry Association, which represents platforms such as Google, has said that forcing them to make every effort to license copyright-protected material would undermine the industry. European technology.

"We are concerned that the law will undermine online innovation, membership growth and the restriction of online freedoms in Europe," said Christian Borggreen, vice-president of the CCIA in Brussels.

Negotiations came close to failure last month when EU governments quarreled over whether copyright rules should apply to small platforms. A Franco-German compromise – backed by a majority of governments last week – will mean that any platform generating a turnover of less than 10 million euros a year, with less than monthly users, and active for less than three years, will be subject to the requirements

If they are approved, Member States will have two years to introduce the new rules.