U.S. Markets close in 5 hrs 46 mins

Google, Facebook Dealt Blow by EU Lawmakers in Copyright Fight

Natalia Drozdiak
The logo of Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., sits on an Apple Inc. iPhone smartphone in this arranged photograph in London, U.K., on Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. The NYSE FANG+ Index is an equal-dollar weighted index designed to represent a segment of the technology and consumer discretionary sectors consisting of highly-traded growth stocks of technology and tech-enabled companies. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Tech platforms and internet activists protested the outcome of a European Parliament vote Wednesday to back copyright rules that would help video, music and other rights holders seek compensation for use of their content online.

Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Facebook Inc. and other tech firms may now be forced to negotiate licenses for content that appears on their sites after lawmakers broadly supported a legislative proposal for new copyright rules, unveiled in 2016 by the European Commission.

More from Bloomberg.com: Apple Plans Another Death Blow to the Phone Carriers

The European Parliament in July had rejected the rules but backed them in a final vote Wednesday after lawmakers submitted slight tweaks to the text.

If they fail to negotiate a license, the companies could have to actively filter out copyrighted content from what users upload on their platforms, which has sparked concerns among internet activists that this could lead to censorship.

Read More: Google, Facebook Gird for EU Rules to Vet Copyrighted Content

European lawmakers "decided to support the filtering of the internet to the benefit of big businesses in the music and publishing industries despite huge public outcry," said Siada El Ramly, director general of Edima, an internet platform association that includes Facebook and Google. "We hope that governments of the EU will hear their citizens’ concerns in the next stage of negotiations.”

More from Bloomberg.com: Florence Gets Bigger as It Heads Toward North Carolina Coast

The final version of the law still needs to be agreed with the commission and EU member states, who also broadly support the commission’s proposal, before it enters into force.

Julia Reda, an internet activist and German member of European Parliament, on Twitter called part of the vote "catastrophic," adding that the "parliament has failed to listen to citizens’ and experts’ concerns."

The parliament’s vote comes amid a broader push by legislators in Europe and the U.S. to make tech platforms more legally liable for what appears on their sites. Earlier Wednesday, the commission proposed new legislation forcing internet companies to wipe Islamic State videos and other terror content from their services within an hour or face fines if they fail to do so.

More from Bloomberg.com: Super Typhoon Intensifies in Pacific and Heads Toward Hong Kong

More from Bloomberg.com

Read Google, Facebook Dealt Blow by EU Lawmakers in Copyright Fight on bloomberg.com