The European Parliament has voted in favour of new rules for ‘audiovisual media services’ – meaning broadcasters but also on-demand video platforms including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube and Facebook.

The rules will include requiring these companies to react “quickly” when content is reported as harmful – the emphasis here being on content inciting violence, hatred and terrorism, as well as gratuitous violence and pornography. “The legislation does not include any automatic filtering of uploaded content, but, at the request of the Parliament, platforms need to create a transparent, easy-to-use and effective mechanism to allow users to report or flag content,” explained the Parliament’s press release.

But also interesting is the confirmation that on-demand video platforms must ensure that 30% of their catalogues must be European content, as well as these companies investing directly in content or in national creative funds in European member states. The deal must now be approved by the Council of EU ministers, before those member states make the new regulations part of their laws. Why should you be interested in this? Music-streaming isn’t part of this, but the legislation may increase debate about whether music-streaming services shouldn’t be subject to similar requirements – not about their overall catalogues, but more about the amount of European music that is featured in their key programmed playlists. Outside the EU, this is already a public debate in Australia. The nuances will be important for any such regulation however: which playlists should be covered, and what happens when algorithmic personalisation is involved (as it is, as a test, in some of Spotify’s programmed playlists)?

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