Wikipedia Is Down In Many Countries In Protest Against EU law

Major publishers, including AFP, have pushed for the news media reform - known as article 11 - seeing it as an urgently needed solution against a backdrop of free online news that has decimated earnings for traditional media companies.

The European Parliament has voted to reject sweeping reforms to copyright laws that threatened to tear the internet apart.

At the plenary session of the European Parliament today, MEPs voted 303 to 223 in favour of a resolution that criticises the USA and the European Commission's approach to ensuring compliance.

The proposed European Union reforms, voted down by MEPs by 318-278, had been backed by artists including Sir Paul McCartney and Annie Lennox, who believe that they have been cheated of income by people using their work without paying royalties. "We need to make sure that, in September, parliament votes for an update to copyright rules that protects creators' interests while also safeguarding the rights of internet users".

The legislation proposes a "link tax", requiring companies such as Facebook or Google to pay a news source for any stories they link.

Lawmaker Julia Reda from the Greens party, who has spearheaded opposition to the committee's tough approach, said it is time to go back to the drawing board. Experts warned that such a system, which would rely on databases, would have no way of telling whether copyrighted material was being used legally under the "fair use" exceptions allowed by various countries.

Article 11 has been called the "link tax".

Every political group in the Parliament was divided, with MEPs voting in favour and against the bill.

Monique Goyens, director general of the European Consumer Organisation, said in a statement on Thursday that "MEPs have a chance to correct a heavily unbalanced report and make copyright work for both consumer and creators".

The issue will return on the plenary agenda in September.

Supporters of the legislation were quick to voice their disappointment.

MEP Marc Joulaud denounced "a lobbying campaign of unprecedented violence orchestrated by United States tech giants".

According to the authors, if the law is passed, it "will significantly harm the openness of the Internet", writes Gizmodo.

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