Romania has taken a new and important step towards an agreement upon the Single Digital Market Copyright Directive, a piece of legislation that is proving to be one of the most difficult files under debate at European level. The political agreement achieved with the European Parliament by Romania, as the President of the EU Council, has been validated today, 20 February 2019, by the Member States of the EU, during the meeting of the Committee of Permanent representatives (COREPER).
“The support of the EU Member States demonstrates that Romania has achieved a fair compromise that will allow updating the current legislation on copyright in line with developments in the digital sector. The directive will have a major impact on creators, whose rights have to be fully respected, and on European citizens, who should be able to benefit from the Single Digital Market. Today we have achieved success, and I assure you that the Romanian Presidency will continue efforts to close key files on the European Union Agenda,” declared Minister of Culture and National Identity Valer-Daniel Breaz.
The proposed directive concerns a wide array of topics that can be classified into three categories:
- A) Adapting copyright exemptions/limitations to the digital and cross-border environment
The Directive introduces compulsory copyright exceptions for the purpose of extracting text and data, online teaching and online preservation and dissemination of cultural heritage.
- B) Improving licensing practices to ensure wider access to content
The Directive contains harmonised guidelines that facilitate:
monetisation of orphan works (works that are no longer sold),
extended collective licensing, and
acquiring film copyright through video platforms upon request.
- C) Setting up a functional market for copyright
The Directive introduces a new right for media editors regarding the digital use of their publications. The authors of works included in media publications will be entitled to a percentage of the revenue obtained by media editors arising from this new right.
For online content sharing platforms, the Directive clarifies the relevant legislation. These platforms will have, in principle, to obtain a license for the protected works uploaded by users, except in cases where certain conditions indicated in the directive are fulfilled.
Moreover, the Directive enshrines the right of authors and performers to an adequate and proportional remuneration upon licensing or rights transfer, introduces an obligation of transparency in the monetisation of licensed works and a remuneration adjustment mechanism, as well as an alternative litigation resolution mechanism. Software developers are excluded from these guidelines.