MEPs back copyright overhaul

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The European Parliament has voted in favour of the new Copyright Directive designed to bring tangible benefits to citizens, all creative sectors, the press, researchers, educators, and cultural heritage institutions.

Vice-President for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip and Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society Mariya Gabriel welcome the outcome in a joint statement:

“We welcome the approval of the Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market by the European Parliament. This Directive protects creativity in the digital age and ensures that the EU citizens benefit from wider access to content and new guarantees to fully protect their freedom of expression online. The new rules will strengthen our creative industries, which represent 11.65 million jobs, 6.8 per cent of GDP and are worth €915,000 million per year.”

“Today’s vote ensures the right balance between the interests of all players – users, creators, authors, press – while putting in place proportionate obligations on online platforms,” they stated.

“The Copyright Directive protects freedom of expression, a core value of the European Union. It sets strong safeguards for users, making clear that everywhere in Europe the use of existing works for purposes of quotation, criticism, review, caricature as well as parody are explicitly allowed. This means that memes and similar parody creations can be used freely. The interests of the users are also preserved through effective mechanisms to swiftly contest any unjustified removal of their content by the platforms.”

“At the same time, the Directive will improve the position of creators in their negotiations with big platforms which largely benefit from their content. Writers, journalists, singers, musicians and actors will find it easier to negotiate better deals with their publishers or producers. The new rules will also allow research organisations, universities, schools, libraries and museums to use more content online. The Directive takes account of new technologies to ensure that researchers can use text and data mining to its full potential.”

“We thank all parties involved, and particularly the Members of the European Parliament and the Member States for all their efforts to make this crucial reform for the future of Europe possible,” they concluded.

The text adopted by the European Parliament will now need to be formally endorsed by the Council of the European Union in the coming weeks. Once published on the Official Journal of the EU, Member States will have 24 months to transpose the new rules into their national legislation.

In September 2016 the European Commission proposed modernising EU Copyright rules for European culture to flourish and circulate, as part of the Digital Single Market strategy.

The EU Copyright reform is a priority file for the European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission. It modernises EU copyright rules which date back to 2001, when there were no social media, no video on demand, no museums digitising their art collections and no teacher providing online courses.

The agreement is a part of a broader initiative to adapt EU copyright rules to the digital age. In December 2018, EU co-legislators agreed on new rules to make it easier for European broadcasters to make certain programmes available on their live TV or catch-up services online. And since April 1st 2018, Europeans who buy or subscribe to films, sports broadcasts, music, e-books and games in their home Member State are able to access this content when they travel or stay temporarily in another EU country.


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