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24 February 2020
Culture News

EU copyright rules adjusted to the digital age

The EU is amending its copyright legal framework to make it fit-for-purpose in today’s digital environment. Representatives of the Romanian presidency of the Council today reached a provisional agreement with the European Parliament on a draft directive that introduces changes to existing EU copyright rules as part of creating a true EU digital single market. The agreement will now be submitted for confirmation by member states at the Council.

„Today’s agreement is a sign of our determination to set up a well-functioning digital single market that encourages the development of new content-based businesses in the interest of all European citizens. We will therefore unlock the opportunities of the digital world, both for creators, whose rights should be fully respected and for the European citizens, who should take advantage of the benefits brought by the Digital Single Market”

Valer Daniel Breaz, Romanian Minister for Culture and National Identity
The draft directive addresses a variety of issues, which can be grouped together under three categories:

A) Adaptation of copyright exceptions/limitations to the digital and cross-border environment

The directive introduces mandatory exceptions to copyright for the purposes of text and data mining, online teaching activities and the preservation and online dissemination of cultural heritage.

B) Improvement of licensing practices to ensure wider access to content

The directive provides for harmonised rules facilitating the:

  • exploitation of works that have stopped being commercialised (out-of-commerce works),
  • issuing of collective licences with extended effect and
  • rights clearance for films by video-on-demand platforms.

C) Achievement of a well-functioning marketplace for copyright

The directive introduces a new right for press publishers for the digital use of their press publications. Authors of works incorporated in the press publication in question will be entitled to a share of the press publisher’s revenue deriving from this new right.

As regards online content sharing platforms, the directive clarifies the legal framework within which they operate. Such platforms will in principle have to obtain a licence for copyright protected works uploaded by users unless a number of conditions provided for in the directive are met.

The directive also enshrines the authors’ and performers’ right to appropriate and proportionate remuneration upon the licensing or transfer of their rights, introduces a transparency obligation concerning the exploitation of licensed works and a remuneration adjustment mechanism, accompanied by a dedicated alternative dispute resolution mechanism. Software developers are excluded from these rules.

Next steps

The provisionally agreed text will first have to be endorsed by the relevant bodies of the Council and the European Parliament. Following such endorsement, it will be submitted for formal adoption by both institutions.

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