New copyright rules agreed today by the European Parliament secure the rights of writers and musicians while continuing to promote online innovation.
Conservative MEPs backed the changes having helped secure significant improvements to the original legislation. These include ensuring that commercial scientific research can be exempted from copyright in an important update of existing copyright law, and excluding small businesses from rules requiring internet platforms to be licensed..
Conservative Legal Affairs spokesman Sajjad Karim said: "Copyright law is at last catching up with the digital age.
"This legislation is now better balanced, answering many of the concerns of journalists, publishers and musicians whose work was being shared freely online without stifling innovation or fundamentally changing the nature of the internet.
"It also takes into account the rights of users, ensuring that materials used for teaching and research, and by cultural and heritage organisations, are not encumbered by unnecessary restrictions."
"I look forward to it being discussed in trilogue talks between the European Parliament, Council and Commission, where the remaining issues can be ironed out."
The new rules require commercial online content sharing services such as YouTube to agree licences with and pay a fair fee to the rights holders of material on their sites. They also introduce protection for publishers, including newspapers, whose material is used online by third parties such as content sharing platforms and news aggregators. This would not extend to hyperlinking, short excerpts from articles, non-commercial or private uses of press publications.
Mr Karim concluded: "No-one doubted the need to update copyright laws, the difficulty has been striking the right balance between adequately rewarding right holders and safeguarding users' rights. Today's vote brings us much closer to achieving that.
"Intellectual property is the backbone of our creative industries and it must be protected online just as it already is in the analogue world. However, this must be achieved without stifling innovation on the internet or closing it off to entrepreneurs and start-ups."