What do the EU copyright reforms mean for you?

Campaigners show their support for the new copyright laws which MEPs voted in favour of in Strasbourg. Credit: AP

The European Parliament has voted in favour to change laws around online copyright - so will it change the way you interact with the internet?

There has been push-back from tech giants, who argue the laws are unenforceable, while others claim they are necessary to safeguard creative industries such as music and arts.

Whether its the way you share GIFs and memes with friends, or how you read the news, here is what the changes mean for you.

MEPs voted in favour of the legislation on Tuesday. Credit: AP

When will it come into force?

EU member states will have two years to implement the new rules.

Will it come into force in the UK?

The UK will essentially be able to decide if it wants to implement the new rules as well but it’s not clear what it will choose to do in face of Brexit uncertainty.

“Whether the UK leaves Europe with or without a deal, it’s hard to see that it would not follow Europe’s lead on this, whatever the respective outcomes of the EU vote tomorrow and Brexit,” said Raffaella De Santis, associate at law firm Harbottle & Lewis.

Will I still be able to share memes and GIFs?

Memes and GIFs were feared as a possible victim of the new copyright rules, given they largely depend on scenes from television and movies, but tweaks made earlier this year specifically made memes and GIFs safe “for purposes of quotation, criticism, review, caricature, parody and pastiche”.

People gather at the front of the European Parliament building in Strasbourg to show their support for the bill. Credit: AP

Why are the tech giants against the move?

The companies affected by the changes argue the reforms are unrealistic and existing systems already pay artists fairly.

YouTube, in particular, has warned EU-based users could be cut off entirely from videos.

Why are other people against the reforms?

Not only have the tech giants themselves come out against the copyright changes, members of the public and politicians are concerned it could have an impact on freedom of speech and expression.

Will I still be able to upload content online?

People will still be able to upload content, though users might see tech giants such as YouTube and Facebook increasing the amount they remove if materials contain any copyrighted work.

Tech companies already remove music and videos that are copyrighted – for example, YouTube scans uploads and matches them up to a database of files submitted by content owners, giving the original creator of that work the option to block, monetise or simply track it.

Under Article 11 and Article 13 of the reforms, tech companies will be more liable for any copyrighted content uploaded on to their platforms, while creators will have more power to negotiate better remuneration deals for the use of their works.

Online journalism will be safeguarded uner the new legisation. Credit: PA

What does it mean for news online?

Article 11 relates more specifically to the sharing of news articles.

With news shared widely on social network platforms, it is increasingly difficult for news organisations to continue funding quality journalism.

Alexandru Giboi, secretary-general of the European Alliance of News Agencies, said: "The inclusion of news agencies in the text of the directive can also be interpreted as a recognition of the quality of our work and of the importance that news agency journalism has, especially for safeguarding European media as a whole, as European news agencies are the main providers of quality news to most of the other media organisations in Europe."

The likes of Google News and Facebook will still be able show snippets of news articles.

Non-commercial encyclopaedias like Wikipedia have also been made exempt.