New EU-wide online copyright rules cleared a major hurdle today when they were approved by the European Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee.

Members backed a deal struck in talks between the Parliament and European Council, which followed two-and-a half years of negotiations and prompted intensive lobbying by internet companies.

Conservative Legal Affairs spokesman Sajjad Karim MEP, who took part in the inter-institutional talks, welcomed this afternoon's vote.

He said: "The updated rules will benefit users and rights holders alike, while also stimulating research, science and innovation in areas including artificial intelligence.

"It is important that creators and rights holders are paid fairly for their works on platforms in the digital age. This has been secured by today's vote, while burdens and obligations on smaller platforms will be proportionate.

"I am confident that the Parliament will endorse our agreement during next month's plenary session, securing the future of the UK’s creative sector, which contributes enormously to the economy."

The draft legislation enables newspapers and other publishers to seek compensation if their material is displayed by online news aggregators, such as Google News. Exemption is granted for "very short extracts".

Another clause forces internet platforms such as YouTube to agree licensing deals with artists and other rights holders who seek them. Platforms would be responsible for the appearance of copyrighted content online for which no licence had been granted if they could not prove they had made their "best efforts" to prevent it.

The Copyright Directive is now expected to be approved by the European Parliament next month