Alphabet's Google (GOOGL - Get Report) on Wednesday hit out at new proposals from the European Union to give news publishers greater rights over content appearing on online platforms such as Google, potentially allowing publishers to negotiate payment for any items used.
The plans would also force video-sharing platforms like Google's YouTube and Vivendi's (VIVHY) Dailymotion to deploy technology that automatically detects copyright material that is subject to an agreement.
"We believe there's a better way," said a spokeswoman for Google.
The proposals were set out in the European Commission's long-awaited draft Copyright Directive on Wednesday, to accompany the annual State of the Union address by Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.
The EC said the proposals were intended to modernize copyright and "increase cultural diversity in Europe and content available online, while bringing clearer rules for all online players."
As Juncker put it in his address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg: "I want journalists, publishers and authors to be paid fairly for their work, whether it is made in studios or living rooms, whether it is disseminated offline or online, whether it is published via a copying machine or commercially hyperlinked on the web.".
But while many publishers welcomed the Commission's plan, Internet companies were less enthused.
In a post on its Google Europe blog, Google said there were things it liked in the proposal, but also claimed that the new rules would mean text, video images and other works would now have to be filtered by online services in an onerous process.
"This would effectively turn the internet into a place where everything uploaded to the web must be cleared by lawyers before it can find an audience," the company wrote in its post.
The Commission also plans to extend rights to press publishers for the first time, whereas previous rules (which are also being modernized) applied only to film producers, recording companies and other creative industry players such as broadcasters.
"Newspapers, magazines and other press publications have benefited from the shift from print to digital and online services like social media and news aggregators," the EU executive body explained. "It has led to broader audiences, but it has also impacted advertising revenue and made the licensing and enforcement of the rights in these publications increasingly difficult."
But Google also objected to this, implying it could "hurt anyone who writes, reads or shares the news -- including the many European startups working with the news sector to build sustainable business models online." It said such a right could also limit Google's own ability to pass "snippets" on to news publications for free.
"After all, paying to display snippets is not a viable option for anyone," it said.
However, News Media Europe, an umbrella body representing European publishers in a number of countries both inside and outside the EU, said it welcomed the proposals to give its members "neighboring rights" similar to those enjoyed by other media.
"Content may be free to access, it is not free to create," said Fernando de Yarza, NME's president, in a statement. "With the Commission's proposals introducing neighboring rights for news publishers, it gives European publishers the ability to monetize the investment we make in high-quality journalism by seeking compensation from online platforms that turn a profit by caching our content".
NME also quoted Sarah Davis, legal director at British newspaper, The Guardian, who dismissed the claim made by some internet platform lobbyists that the proposals will affect users' freedom to link to and share content.
Davis said: "Nonsense. Neighboring rights will not affect the way that users can share content among themselves on social media."
Neither the Commission nor Dailymotion immediately responded to questions from TheStreet.
The proposals must now go to European Parliament lawmakers and to the culture ministers of the 28 European Union member states for amendment and approval, a process that could take months, if not longer.
Shares of Alphabet were up 0.5% to $792.65 on Wednesday afternoon and are up about 19% over the past year.