The European Parliament approved new copyright rules

The European Parliament has adopted a new Copyright Directive on 26 March 2019. The Directive is based on the Commission’s proposal to modernize EU copyright rules and is part of a broader EU strategy for the development of the digital single market.

As a result of the reform, service platforms will be responsible for copyright infringements, even if the content is published by a platform user. Online platform services must obtain appropriate copyright permissions when providing content produced by others. The Directive encourages the acquisition of the required licenses instead of blocking the content and contributes to the flow of compensation to the right holders.

The main objectives of the Directive are to create a fair and sustainable competitive environment and to improve the position of consumers. The Directive does not affect the way consumers use the internet, and the focus is on businesses and earning models. In their joint statement, Commissioners Andrus Ansip and Mariya Gabriel declared that the Directive will strengthen the creative sectors of the internal market and facilitate access to content for EU citizens. The reform supports consumers’ legal protection and does not limit freedom of expression or other fundamental rights.

The operation of service platforms has so far been problematic due to the ambiguity regarding interpretation of the EU Electricity Trading Directive. Service platforms have claimed to be merely technical intermediaries without compensation liabilities to content producers. The most important commercial players are particularly subject to the obligations under the directive. Regarding start-up companies, the burden of obligations is lighter.

The European umbrella body GESAC has published the Article 13 website, which provides a comprehensive information package on the impact of the Directive. The website includes, among other things, a writing by European start-up entrepreneurs about the benefits of the directive.

The text approved by the European Parliament has yet to be formally adopted by the Council of Ministers. The aim is to have the Directive implemented into the national legislation of EU Member States by 2021 at the latest.

Our Trainee Jere Lehtimäki took part in writing of this news post.

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