The EU needs modern copyright rules fit for the digital age. The European Commission has presented legislative proposals to make sure that consumers and creators can make the most of the digital world.

EU copyright rules fit for the digital age

The reviewed EU copyright rules consists of a regulation and directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market. It also contains the proposals to implement the Marrakesh treaty in EU law.

Objectives of EU copyright proposals

  1. More cross-border access to content online;
  2. Wider opportunities to use copyrighted materials in education, research and cultural heritage;
  3. A better functioning copyright marketplace.

Furthermore, the Marrakesh treaty implementation will make more books and texts available for people who are visually impaired or have other print disabilities in a format suitable for them.

The proposals will help European copyright industries to flourish in a Digital Single Market and European authors to reach new audiences, while making European works widely accessible to European citizens, also across borders.

The aim is to ensure a good balance between copyright and relevant public policy objectives such as education, research, innovation and the needs of persons with disabilities.

1. Better choice and access to content online and across borders

One of the key objectives of the proposals is to increase the availability of works for people across Europe, provide new distribution channels for creators and bring the EU's cultural heritage to the forefront.

To achieve these objectives, the Commission proposes measures to:

  • Create favourable conditions for cross-border distribution of television and radio programmes online
  • Increase the availability of audiovisual works on VoD platforms
  • Facilitate the digitalisation and dissemination of works that are out-of-commerce.

EU copyright proposal access content online films VoD

2. Improved copyright rules on research, education and cultural heritage

Most of the copyright exceptions in EU law are currently optional and do not apply across borders. Also, some of them need to be re-assessed in light of today's technological realities.

The objective of the proposed directive is to modernize the EU rules applicable to key exceptions and limitations in the areas of teaching, research and preservation of cultural heritage, focusing in particular on digital and cross-border uses.

The mandatory exceptions that the proposed directive announces are related to:

  • Teaching activities
  • Text and data mining
  • Preservation of cultural heritage.

Copyright EU museums libraries archives cultural

3. Achieving a well-functioning marketplace for copyright

The proposed measures aim at creating a fairer market place for online content especially for press publications, online platforms and remuneration of authors and performers. 

The main elements of the proposed directive are:

  • Related or "neighbouring" right for press publishers
  • A reinforced position of right holders to negotiate and be remunerated for the online exploitation of their content of video-sharing platforms
  • Remuneration of authors and performers via new transparency rules.

EU copyright authors transparency remuneration

More content for visually impaired or people with print disabilities

In parallel, two legislative proposals have been adopted for implementation in the EU law of the Marrakesh Treaty:

  • to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise print disabled (the Marrakesh Treaty),
  • to allow people with print disabilities to access books and other print material in formats that are accessible to them.

The proposal for a Directive will establish a mandatory exception and the proposal for a Regulation will permit the cross-border exchange of such copies between the EU and third countries that are parties to the Treaty.

What's next?

The legislative proposals will be discussed by the European Parliament and the Council in early 2017.

Useful links:

Press materials

Communication and legislative proposals

  • Communication - Promoting a fair, efficient and competitive European copyright-based economy in the Digital Single Market
  • Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on copyright in the Digital Single Market
  • Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down rules on the exercise of copyright and related rights applicable to certain online transmissions of broadcasting organisations and retransmissions of television and radio programmes
  • Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on certain permitted uses of works and other subject-matter protected by copyright and related rights for the benefit of persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled and amending Directive 2001/29/EC on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society
  • Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the cross-border exchange between the Union and third countries of accessible format copies of certain works and other subject-matter protected by copyright and related rights for the benefit of persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled

Documents accompanying the proposals

  • Impact Assessment on the modernisation of EU copyright rules and Executive summary of the Impact Assessment on the modernisaiton of EU copyright rules

Other useful documents

  • Evaluation of the Council Directive 93/83/EEC on the coordination of certain rules concerning copyright and rights related to copyright applicable to satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission and Executive summary of the Evaluation of the Council Directive 93/83/EEC on the coordination of certain rules concerning copyright and rights related to copyright applicable to satellite broadcasting and cable retransmission
  • Eurobarometer report Internet users’ preferences for accessing content online and country factsheets
  • Synopsis report and contributions of the results of the public consultation on the role of publishers in the copyright value chain and on the "panorama exception"
Published: 
14 September 2016
Last update: 
9 May 2017
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