EU parliament backs landmark copyright bill

STRASBOURG, France (AP) — The European Parliament approved Tuesday a landmark copyright bill which seeks to give creative writers and artists better protection of their rights and income.

However, the bill, which still needs to go to the 28 member states for approval, has faced criticism by some for stifling internet freedom and creativity.

The legislature approved the bill after a three-year process with 348-274 votes, with 36 abstentions. It now goes to the member states for a final approval next month after they have already given it their provisional backing last month.

The most controversial section would require companies such as YouTube and Facebook to take responsibility for copyrighted material that's uploaded to their platforms.

Opponents claim that could restrict freedom of speech, hamper online creativity and force websites to install filters.

Over the weekend, tens of thousands of people marched in cities across Germany to protest the planned copyright reforms that they fear will lead to online censorship.

"We have agreed a new set of rules which will do exactly the opposite of killing the internet," said German EPP legislator Axel Voss, the driving force behind the legislation who welcomed the vote with a massive sigh of relief.

"Unfair remuneration for journalists and creators means there are less people willing to do the job, which ultimately means less quality content on the internet."