12 September 2018Copyright

European Parliament gears up to vote on copyright modernisation

With the European Parliament set to vote on the modernisation of copyright rules this afternoon, WIPR explains what you need to know about the controversial legislation and its sticking points.

While the Parliament’s legal affairs committee (JURI) voted in favour of the directive in June, the proposed modernisation to EU copyright legislation failed to impress a majority of the Parliament the following month.

In early July, the 278 MEPs who voted in favour of the proposed amendments were outweighed by the 318 who voted against it, with two articles of the directive proving to be the major sticking points.

Article 11 of the directive addresses the so-called value gap, which is the remuneration received by authors/performers compared to the profits made by the internet platforms that make the works available.

Article 13 would require internet platforms to filter content to detect copyright infringements.

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, and more than 70 other internet experts spoke out against article 13 in a  letter sent to the Parliament in June.

The internet experts said that the overall directive is “well-intended”, but that article 13 would transform the internet from an open platform for innovation into a tool for automated surveillance and control of users.

Another outspoken critic of the directive, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, called the proposed “censorship” incorporated by article 13 “ripe for abuse”.

However, the legislation has not been poorly received by everyone.

Last week, film directors and screenwriters urged the Parliament to pass the directive, claiming that it encourages collaboration between online content-sharing service providers and rights owners, and allows EU copyright law to meet the requirements of the digital age.

The draft legislation “puts authors at the heart of copyright” and would introduce “an unwaivable right to proportionate remuneration for authors”, they claimed.

On Monday, non-profit research association the European Policy for Intellectual Property noted that the directive “misses the opportunity to strengthen the position of creators”.

The non-profit suggested that the legislation should include exceptions for the user-generated reproduction of works for creative and expressive uses, such as for memes.

Nils Rauer, partner at Hogan Lovells, said that all stakeholders are currently “bracing themselves” ahead of today’s vote.

He explained that there are 88 proposed amendments to the copyright directive, each of which will be voted on this afternoon.

Rauer added: “Possible outcomes include the adoption of the text with or without amendments (minor or major)—in which case the proposed directive would sail ahead into the inter-institutional negotiations between the European Commission, Parliament and Council—or the renewed referral to the JURI committee, or the complete termination of the initiative.”

Did you enjoy reading this story?  Sign up to our free daily newsletters and get stories like this sent straight to your inbox.

Today's top stories

EU General Court upholds L’Occitane trademark

EU court backs NBA team against TM opposition

Fiat TM complaint prompts ITC Mahindra investigation

FisherBroyles adds three IP tech partners

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at

More on this story

4 September 2018   Film directors and screenwriters have urged the European Parliament to pass the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, which is due to be discussed next week.
5 July 2018   The European Parliament rejected a draft directive aimed at modernising copyright rules earlier today, sending it back to the drawing board.
13 September 2018   The European Parliament’s controversial vote in favour of modernising EU copyright law will have a major impact on platform filters, user-generated content, and publishers’ rights, according to IP practitioners.