EU Negotiators Strike Deal on Digital Copyright Rules in Favour of Creative Industries

Amy Owens

Yesterday, the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission reached a political agreement on a new Copyright Directive

The directive seeks to create a comprehensive framework where copyrighted material, copyright holders, publishers, providers and users can all benefit from clearer rules, adapted to the digital era. 
Importantly, it sets a precedent where tech giants such as Google will have to negotiate licensing agreements with rights holders in order to publish their content. 
The agreement focuses on the following objectives, 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. 
A Q&A document on the provisions agreed upon in the deal can be found here.
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. Once confirmed and published in the Official Journal of the EU, Member States will have 24 months to transpose the new rules into national legislation.
If you have any questions regarding the EU Copyright Directive please contact me.

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