For a long time, the EU has been working on a reform of the copyright rules to adapt them to the modern, digital age and to bring the rules in compliance with the use of works enjoying copyright protection. With the political agreement between the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council, there has been a breakthrough in the negotiation of the copyright directive.
The bill to amend the copyright directive proposes the following central changes:
- Heavier requirements for online platforms.
- The possibility of using material enjoying copyright protection in connection with training, research and preservation of cultural heritage.
- New rights to media publishers and the possibility for authors to receive appropriate and proportionate payment for the use of their works.
Heavier requirements for online platforms
With the reform, the EU is focusing on strengthening the rights holders’ position when users post content on online platforms. The reform requires that online platforms must take specific action in order not to become liable for copyright infringement on their platforms. This implies that the online platforms must:
- Have appropriate and proportional measures to prevent that material infringing the right holder's copyright is uploaded.
- Do their best to obtain approval.
- Remove all unauthorised content relatively quickly after having been made aware thereof.
However, small online platforms which have been available within the EU for less than three years, with a turnover of less than Euro 10 million and with less than 5 million users are subject to less strict liability.
The possibility of using material enjoying copyright protection in connection with training, research and preservation of cultural heritage
The bill to amend the copyright directive introduces new restrictions in the exclusive right by providing the possibility of using material enjoying copyright protection in connection with training, research and preservation of cultural heritage. This implies that universities and research institutions may carry out text and data mining thereby using automated technologies for analysing large quantities of data for research purposes. In addition, it will be possible to use works enjoying copyright protection in connection with online courses.
New rights to media publishers and the possibility for authors to receive apporiate and proportionate payment for the use of their works
The copyright directive is further trying to support the press and high-quality journalism by introducing a new right for journalists to receive an appropriate share of the income generated by online publications.
In addition, the bill contains a right for the authors to receive information on how and to which extent their works are exploited and the possibility of demanding a more appropriate fee if the original fee agreement turns out later to be disproportionally low compared to the commercial success of the work.
The bill is to be formally adopted by the European Parliament and approved by the Council. If adopted, the member states will have 24 months to implement it into national legislation.