Representatives of EU governments, including Malta's, have endorsed a deal reached with the EU Parliament on the overhaul of the bloc’s copyright rules.
Under the reform, Google and Facebook Inc will be forced to share revenue with the creative industries and remove copyright-protected content on YouTube or Instagram.
The revamp would require Google and other online platforms to sign licensing agreements with rights holders such as musicians, performers, authors, news publishers and journalists to use their work online.
Google’s YouTube and Facebook’s Instagram and other sharing platforms will have to install upload filters to prevent users from uploading copyrighted materials.
The deal comes two years after the EU executive proposed changes to protect the bloc’s cultural heritage and ensure that publishers, broadcasters and artists are remunerated fairly.
Romania, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, said in a tweet that the copyright agreement had been approved by the EU Council.
Italy, Poland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Finland, which voted against the deal, said the proposed changes could hinder innovation and hurt the bloc’s competitiveness in the digital market.
“We regret that the Directive does not strike the right balance between the protection of right holders and the interests of EU citizens and companies,” they said in a joint statement.
Belgium and Slovenia abstained from the vote.
The next step in the process is a vote by a committee of lawmakers next week followed by a parliamentary vote either next month or early April before the changes can become law.
Google said last week it would study the text before deciding on its next steps.