The Commission has proposed two directives and two regulations to adapt the EU copyright rules to the realities of the Digital Single Market, on 14 September 2016. A directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market and a regulation will ensure:

  • better choice and access to content online and across borders
  • improved copyright rules on research, education and inclusion of disabled people
  • a fairer and sustainable marketplace for creators, the creative industries and the press.

The Marrakesh treaty for people with print disabilities will be implemented in EU law via a directive and regulation.

These proposals will help European copyright industries to flourish in the 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 also to ensuring a good balance between copyright and other public policy objectives such as education, research, innovation and the needs of persons with disabilities.

Ensuring wider online access to content in the EU and reaching new audiences

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

The main new elements to achieve this objective are:

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

Adapting exceptions to digital and cross-border environments

Most of the 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.

In addition, a new directive and a regulation will implement the Marrakesh Treaty, to facilitate access to published works for persons with printing disabilities.

Achieving a well-functioning marketplace for copyright

The proposed measures aim at creating a fairer market place for online content, in particular as regards 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.

Implementation of the Marrakech Treaty

In parallel, two legislative proposals have been adopted for the implementation in 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.

KEYWORDS: European copyright, digitalization, Marrakesh Treaty, digital single market.