“The approval of the new Copyright Directive in the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee today is a step forward in adapting the current European Union copyright rules so they better reflect the new realities and business models of the 21st century”, said the Parliament’s author of the Report Axel Voss MEP, the EPP Group Spokesman on legal affairs. The Legal Affairs Committee adopted the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, a file that had already been proposed by the European Commission back in 2016. The new Directive introduces new rules regarding publishers’ rights, addresses the problem of a value gap, as well as setting a text and data mining exception.
Following long-lasting negotiations, it seems that the long-awaited EU copyright reform is finally reaching its conclusion in the Parliament. The negotiated Directive addresses the problem of a so-called value gap in which internet online platforms bear no legal responsibility over the copyright-protected content that has been uploaded to their website by users. “There have been a lot of false rumours and misinterpretations over the so-called value gap. No-one is and no-one will ever filter the internet! We are addressing the issue that more and more infringements are appearing on internet platforms that have as a main purpose to share the works uploaded by its users. These platforms make a considerable profit on the works uploaded by its users, so they can’t simply hide behind the argument that it is the users who are uploading, while the platform is making money from it. But don’t be mistaken: platforms such as universities, scientific databases and online encyclopaedias, which do not deal with copyright content as their primary purpose, will be exempt from the new rules”, said Voss.
The new copyright reform also concerns press publishers, whose content is used by news aggregators to generate profit. “We support the line that press publishers need to receive a fair share for the use of their content on the internet, as most of the generated revenue at the moment goes to the news aggregators. I am happy that this right is now recognised. We want to strengthen the role of smaller publishing houses as they can now easily defend themselves against the big internet platforms and will have a better chance of receiving fair remuneration for their content. What is at stake is the survival of journalism and the protection of the quality of journalistic work. A wild world web where big platforms do not respect the copyright of publishers could end with thousands of journalists losing jobs. In 2013 alone, some 15,000 journalists lost their jobs because the press publishers are not being remunerated for the internet use of their products. This trend mustn’t continue”, he concluded.