The European Commission has today published their Digital Single Market copyright reform proposals, including a Directive of the European Parliament and Council on copyright in the Digital Single Market’.
The proposed Directive, alongside the ‘Regulation of the European Parliament and Council laying down rules on the exercise of copyright and related rights applicable to certain online transmission of broadcasting organisations and the retransmission of television and radio programmes’, represent the European Commission’s efforts to modernise the copyright framework in order to further realise the European Digital Single Market.
These - among other things - include proposals for a new directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market and a regulation on certain online transmissions of broadcasting organisations and retransmissions. Both instruments, if adopted in their current form, will have a deep impact on the EU copyright framework, particularly with regard to online uses of copyright works, responsibilities of hosting providers, users’ freedoms, and authors’ contracts.
In announcing this morning’s publications President Junker (who had earlier given his annual state of the union address to MEPs in Strasbourg) said: “Artists and creators are our [Europe’s] crown jewels” going on to say “I want journalists, publishers and authors to be paid fairly for their work.”
PRS for Music has championed the case for copyright reform to address the ‘transfer of value’ resulting from the ambiguity in the current legal framework. This ambiguity is enabling some online platforms, specifically user upload services, to generate vast revenues without fairly remunerating the creators, upon whose works their services depend. And its good news for songwriters and publishers - Recital 38 of the actual proposal requires any hosting providers that give access to large amounts of copyright works to "take appropriate and proportionate measures to ensure protection of works or other subject-matter, such as implementing effective technologies. This obligation should also apply when the information society service providers are eligible for the liability exemption provided in Article 14 of Directive 2000/31/EC."
In response to today’s publications, PRS for Music Chief Executive, Robert Ashcroft, said: “PRS for Music welcomes the Commission’s recognition of the critical ‘transfer of value’ issue and we acknowledge the clear intention to redress the current imbalance of interests between user upload platforms and rightsholders. The law must clearly establish that those user upload platforms that provide search and other functionality, as distinct from being mere hosts of content, require a license from rightsholders. The European Commission’s proposed new copyright Directive provides the framework for this essential legal clarity.”
Robert Ashcroft added, “Europe is our largest export market and, even outside of the European Union, its copyright framework will directly impact UK creator’s earnings. Therefore, we hope that the EU Parliament and Council will grasp this opportunity to establish a functioning, digital single market - as this is in the interests of all concerned: creators, consumers and platforms, new and established.”
In relation to the new press publishers' right [Article 11], while the version leaked a few days ago spoke of 'news publications', the actual proposal prefers the apparently broader term 'press publications'.