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No more 'Wild West': Is this internet's darkest day, or a victory?

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It was a bitter battle that pitted the likes of Paul McCartney, Annie Lennox and James Blunt against some of Silicon Valley's mightiest companies, including Google and Facebook.

The fight saw hashtags trending globally and celebrities campaigning in Brussels.

Death threats were even allegedly sent to politicians from those campaigning against the proposals.

Yesterday, a near three-year campaign to revamp Europe's copyright laws for the first time in 20 years finally reached its conclusion.

Paul McCartney was one of the artists pushing for the law change.Credit:Michael Zorn

In a packed hall in Strasbourg, 348 members of the European Parliament backed the controversial copyright directive that will force video sharing platforms such as Google-owned YouTube to pay musicians, entertainers and other content creators for using their material for the first time.

The decision is one of the biggest ever changes in internet regulation, and will have enormous consequences for some of the world's largest technology companies, who are likely to suffer a dent in earnings.

But many, such as Axel Voss, the German politician who led the copyright debate and who is rumoured to have received a bomb threat in the run-up to the vote, could barely contain their delight.

"The new digital copyright protection finally ends the Wild West on the internet, in which the rights holders are often undermined," said Voss, heaving a sigh of relief after the result was counted out.

"How 'Google and Co' technically implement our........

© The Age