Copyright Reform

"La lettre B" l'essentiel de l'actualité économique et financière européenne décryptée

Copyright Reform

Forthcoming proposals to reform EU copyright law for the digital era must ensure a fair balance between the rights and interests of both creators and consumers, said MEPs calling for ways to improve access to online content across borders, while recognizing the importance of territorial licences, particularly for TV and film productions.

Parliament has listened to Europeans’ concerns and finally rejected the proposal to limit the right to freely photograph public space.

This decision exemplifies a core message of the report: the upcoming reform proposal by Commissioner Oettinger must reflect the essential, multi-faceted role exceptions play – giving authors the room to create, users legal certainty for their everyday actions and everyone access to culture and knowledge,

Said, after the vote, the author of the EP Report, MEP Julia Reda (Greens/EFA, DE), member of the German Pirate Party.

The non-binding resolution was passed by 445 votes to 65, with 32 abstentions.

The Commission has made copyright reform one of its main priorities. But if the so-called Digital Single Market gets the support of the majority of member states, the ways to obtain it are more controversial.

-Improve cross-border accessibility to culture and knowledge-

User access to certain content services is too often denied on geographical grounds, says Parliament, emphasising that geo-blocking practices should not prevent cultural minorities living in EU member states from accessing existing content or services in their language.

It thus urges the Commission to propose ways to improve the cross-border accessibility of services and copyrighted content.

The Parliament, however, also points to the importance of territorial licenses, particularly for financing audiovisual and film productions, which reflect Europe’s rich cultural diversity.

Although copyright inherently implies territoriality, there is no contradiction between territoriality and content portability, the resolution stresses, and it supports enhancing the portability of online services within the EU.

-Make copyright rules fit for the digital age-

Parliament says the Commission should review existing exceptions to copyright laws, in order to better adapt them to the digital environment and examine the application of minimum standards. It should also look at the possibility of providing an exception for libraries to lend works in digital format and for scientists to mine text and data.

EU lawmaker is asking for measures to ensure fair and appropriate remuneration for all categories of right-holders, including with regard to the digital distribution of their work and wants to improve the contractual position of authors and performers in relation to other right-holders and intermediaries.

Parliament also wants the Commission to study the potential impact of a single European copyright title that would cover the whole of the territory of the EU.

-Images of public buildings and art works-

Concerning the right to create and publish images and photographs of public buildings and art works, MEPs prefer to retain the current situation by rejecting the suggestion contained in the draft resolution to require authorisation from the right-holders for the commercial use of such images.

Under current EU copyright law, it is possible for member states to choose whether to insert or not a so-called freedom of panorama clause in their copyright legislation.

-Next steps-

The Commission is to table a proposal by the end of 2015 to modernize EU copyright law to make it fit for the digital age.

Lorenzo Scattini

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