New EU Digital Copyright Laws
There has always been a tension between content creators (CCs), publishers, and online service providers (OSPs) in the digital copyright world. CCs create content such as – text, images, audio visual, motion pictures, and music. OSPs which include – search engines & directories, ecommerce retailers and social networking websites, commercialise the content.
CCs and publishers need to earn revenue from their work that is being commercialised through OSPs. The dilemma is that OSPs have realigned their interests into business models which might include the largest media companies as partners, but have generally excluded the interests of content creators and publishers.
Ironically, safe harbour laws were put in place to prevent the extinction of OSPs. OSPs will not have developed into the juggernauts we see today of Google, You Tube, and Amazon, if they had been subject to copyright lawsuits which were prevented by safe harbour. However, many now believe, particularly content creators, that wide safe harbour laws could be contributing to the extinction of quality creative content. The balance has gone too far in protecting OSPs and not enough in safeguarding creative content providers.
The EU is proposing new laws to redress the balance as part of the harmonisation of the EU single market under the Digital Single Market Strategy. The first set of proposals addresses the ability of consumers to access digital content when they travel to other EU countries.
A second set of proposals seeks to bring the existing digital copyright framework up to date with the realities of the digital age. It will improve the ability of CCs and publishers to enforce their copyright, force companies that charge access to digital copyright content to pay revenues to copyright owners, allow for less restrictions and more exceptions for the availability of content across the EU, and achieve a more balanced copyright marketplace in favour of CCs.
As part of the second proposals the EU Commission proposed 2 directives and 2 regulations on 14/09/2016. The proposal for the directive are here – and the proposal for the regulation here. It will also implement the Marrakech treaty for people with print disabilities through a directive and a regulation.
It is no surprise that these proposals have received a warm reception from OSPs. Google’s VO for global policy is quoted in this Guardian article as saying
To all content creators consillo et amimis.
For a consultation at our hourly rate please get in touch, contact us.