The implementation of the copyright directive is ongoing in several countries, which might be a challenge due to the pandemic (e.g. to hold face-to-face events and meetings) or an opportunity (e.g. some officers working on copyright issues might have more time to focus on it). In the meantime, several EU member states decided to ask the Commission to adjust its calendar of infringement decisions and to suspend the deadlines relating to the pending infringement procedures. We have yet to see how the pandemic will affect the calendar of ongoing implementations.
EU implementation – country updates from last month
The Swedish Ministry of Justice recently closed the public consultation on the implementation of Articles 3 to 12 of the Copyright Directive. The Ministry shared a document containing only the opening remarks on how those Articles should be assessed and implemented (according to the officers at the ministry) and the deadline for submitting opinions on those positions ended on 20 March. The document shared by the Ministry of Justice as a part of the public consultation is not the official position of the Swedish Government. The memo serves as a starting point for discussions about the directive and includes a number of questions regarding the articles for the stakeholders involved.
The French audiovisual reform, which transposes the Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive, as well as Article 17 of the Copyright Directive, was subject to discussion and voting in the National Assembly’s Culture and Education (CULT) Committee, on the first week of March. The CULT Committee worked its way through 1.327 amendments to the proposal. On 5 March, the CULT Committee finalized this effort and approved the amended text. The approved text, in what concerns the implementation of Article 17, is not substantially different from the original proposal that we analyzed here. The text is now scheduled to be discussed in the Assembly’s Plenary session at the beginning of April. The relevant documents will be made available here.
The German Ministry’s implementation proposal – covering not only the new press publisher’s right (Article 15) but also the new copyright exceptions (Articles 3 to 7) and the provision on fair compensation (Article 16) – was subject to public consultation until 31 January 2020. The full text (in German) is available for download here. We have submitted our response regarding the proposed implementation of Article 5 of the Directive, which is in our view the worst-case scenario for implementing the educational exception, since it allows the exception to be switched off by licenses in certain cases, thus setting a dangerous precedent for user rights. We had submitted a response to the German public consultation on the implementation proposal for Article 5 of the Directive (the education exception), here it is: Germany sets a bad example with the proposed implementation of the new education exception.
EU copyright reform – Brussels news
TDM and technical blocking from publishers
The Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER) issued a warning that the new Text and Data Mining (TDM) exceptions contained in the DSM directive can easily be undermined by technical blocking from publishers. LIBER has come to this conclusion based on the results of a survey on content blocking, carried out by LIBER’s Copyright & Legal Matters Working Group and the UK Libraries and Archives Copyright Alliance (LACA). The submissions to the survey so far confirm fears that Technical Protection Measures (TPM) can be abused by rightholders to limit the usefulness of the exceptions contained in the directive. See our blogpost here.
EU Art. 17 Stakeholder Dialogue Meeting Postponed due to COVID-19
The Commission has informed the EU Article 17 Stakeholder Dialogue meeting participants that the meeting initially scheduled for 30 March has been canceled and is being postponed until after Easter due to meeting restrictions following the COVID-19 outbreak. This does not mean that the Commission has stopped working on the guidelines or that stakeholders should stop providing input to the Commission – quite the contrary!
Journalists and art. 17
The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ/IFJ) issued their joint position paper on the implementation of Article 17 of the Copyright Directive (in the context of the Commission’s Article 17 stakeholder dialogue). Their main requests are as follows:
- More transparency on existing agreements
- Fair remuneration in all media sectors: “Those receiving revenue from OCSSPs [online content-sharing service providers] for the use of journalistic works should redistribute a fair share to journalists contracted by them. Journalists should receive fair remuneration regardless of the sector they work in – print or broadcast – or the type of content they produce.”
- Livestreaming should be remunerated and better protected: “Platforms generating revenue from live streaming should remunerate rightsholders, more efforts should be done to tackle piracy and loss of revenue resulting from it for rights holders and authors.”