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Polish MEPs split in vote on EU copyright rules: reports

Polish MEPs took opposite sides as the European Parliament on Tuesday voted in favour of new copyright rules that critics say could limit the freedom of the internet, according to reports.

Most Eurodeputies from Poland’s opposition Civic Platform (PO) party supported the new rules, which aim to change the way in which internet companies use media, music, news articles and other content posted online, while MEPs from Poland’s ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party and the rural-based Polish People’s Party (PSL) voted against the controversial measures, Poland’s PAP news agency reported.

In the vote in Strasbourg, France, on Tuesday, 348 European Parliament lawmakers backed a new EU Copyright Directive, which according to its advocates aims to protect the rights of authors and creators of works such as books, films and computer software.

Meanwhile 274 were against, with 36 abstentions, the PAP news agency reported.

It said seven MEPs with Poland’s Civic Platform party supported the directive, while four opposed it.

Meanwhile, two Eurodeputies with Poland’s opposition Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) abstained, while one voted against the new rules, according to the news agency.

Freedom of the internet

The European Commission, the executive arm of the 28-nation European Union, has said the overhaul is needed to protect Europe’s cultural heritage and create a level playing field between big online platforms, on the one hand, and publishers, broadcasters and artists on the other.

The new EU directive, which changes the rules for posting and monitoring online content, has aroused controversy.

Opponents argue the new measures will endanger the freedom of the internet and lead to censorship, while advocates say changes in law are needed to better protect the rights of authors and creators.

Under one new measure, internet companies will be forced to pay publishers for displaying news snippets. Another measure requires online platforms such as Google and Facebook to install filters to prevent users from uploading copyrighted material, according to reports.

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