EU Copyright Deal Backed by Member States

New EU Copyright law to require signed licence agreements

Dr. Silvana Zammit | Published on 22 Feb 2019

EU copyright

Yesterday, 20th February 2019, the European Council approved legislation aimed at reforming EU copyright rules. If approved by the European Parliament in the coming months, this will be the first update of the EU copyright framework in almost 20 years. The implications of the new law are numerous, pushing Member States such as the Netherlands, Italy, Finland, Luxembourg, and Poland to not back up the new framework. The next steps in the legislative process are a vote by a committee of lawmakers next week, which is to be followed by a vote by the European Parliament, predicted to take place either in March or early April 2019.

Proposed EU Copyright Framework – An Overview

The proposed revamp of EU copyright law requires platforms such as Google and YouTube to sign licence agreements with the relevant right holders, for example, performers, authors, musicians, journalists, and news publishers. A possible hurdle is a provision entailing that online sharing platforms are to remove illegal content (i.e. content shared without a signed licence from the right holder) through the use of automatic filters. Essentially, this has left stakeholders divided, with traditional media pushing for the new law on the one hand, and online sharing platforms advocating for internet freedom.

Why is an EU Copyright revamp necessary?

In its proposal on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, the European Commission explained the aim behind the proposed EU Copyright Law framework: 
“Evolution of digital technologies has led to the emergence of new business models and reinforced the role of the Internet as the main marketplace for the distribution and access to copyright-protected content. In this new framework, right holders face difficulties when seeking to license their rights and be remunerated for the online distribution of their works. This could put at risk the development of European creativity and production of creative content. It is therefore necessary to guarantee that authors and right holders receive a fair share of the value that is generated by the use of their works and other subject-matter.”

Therefore, it is evident that one of the primary aims of the revamp of the law is the protection of the intellectual property owned by the right holder.

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