29 May 2018Copyright

European Council committee weighs in on EU copyright directive

The European Council’s Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) has finalised its position on a draft directive hoped to modernise copyright rules in the EU.

Coreper shared its views on copyright rules in the Digital Single Market on Friday, May 25.

The draft directive on copyright is intended to modernise the European copyright framework and allow it to meet the requirements of the digital age. The committee said its position “encourages collaboration between online content-sharing service providers and rights holders”.

For example, Coreper has proposed that service providers are considered liable for copyright infringement when they fail to take “urgent steps” to prevent the availability of copyright-protected works on their platform.

Exemptions from this liability should be made available to platforms under certain conditions, “linked notably to their size”, the Council committee said.

Another area addressed by the draft directive is the so-called value gap, which is the remuneration received by authors and performers compared to the profits made by the internet platforms making rights owners’ works available.

The Council committee believes the new rules should target online providers whose “main purpose” is to provide access to copyright-protected content for the purposes of making profits from it.

Coreper said this should not include internet access providers, online marketplaces whose main activity is e-commerce, or not-for-profit platforms.

To maintain “teaching in the digital environment” and protect “cultural heritage institutions such as public libraries, museums, and archives”, the committee’s position includes “mandatory exceptions or limitations” to EU copyright rules in the context of research and learning.

Coreper noted that this is “in line with existing European research policy” which allows research institutions to benefit from certain exemptions when their activities are carried out in the framework of public-private partnerships.

The new copyright rules are also expected to create a new right to enable press publishers to use their publications online. The European Commission has proposed that this protection, when secured, would last 20 years, whereas Coreper proposes it lasts for only one year.

Coreper said its position will “serve as a mandate” for the Council to negotiate the draft directive with the European Parliament.

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