15 April 2019Copyright

EU council adopts copyright directive

The  European Council has adopted the proposed copyright directive, which was given the go-ahead by EU parliament and lawmakers last month.

In its  announcement earlier today, April 15, the council said the directive would “modernise existing EU copyright law”.

Valer Daniel Breaz, Romanian minister for culture and national identity, said the directive was a milestone for the development of a robust and well-functioning digital single market.

He said the balanced text will create “multiple opportunities for Europe’s creative sectors, which will thrive and better reflect our cultural diversity and other European common values”.

He added it will also benefit users, “whose freedom of expression on the internet will be consolidated”.

Following the signature and publication of the directive in the Official Journal of the EU, member states will have 24 months to transpose the new rules into their national law.

The directive has been opposed by tech companies including Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.

Under the new rules, search engines like Google will have to sign licensing agreements with musicians, performers, authors and news publishers to use their work in its search results.

It will also be up to the individual platforms to ensure that users are not uploading copyright-protected material. This could involve installing filters that detect the material and prevent it from being uploaded.

Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden  opposed the reforms.

The countries said the final text of the directive was a step back for the digital single market and fails to deliver on its aims of stimulating innovation, creativity, investment and production of new content.

“The directive does not strike the right balance between the protection of right holders and the interests of EU citizens and companies,” the statement said.

It therefore risks to hinder innovation rather than promote it and to have a negative impact the competitiveness of the European digital single market,” it added.

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14 February 2019   News of a final agreement on the proposed European Copyright Directive has prompted concern from long-term opponents of the law.