HomeInsightsDigital Single Market – what is going on with copyright reform?

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With so many sprawling legislative proposals under one umbrella, you would be forgiven were you to contract DSM fatigue.

Never fear, Wiggin has got you covered. As the European legislative process is heating up on the DSM copyright proposals, with the three institutions giving them “priority treatment” this year and the European Commission reportedly emphasising the need for rapid progress in its mid-term review of the DSM, we are publishing a short series of brief articles on DSM copyright reform.

First out: What has the European Commission proposed and where are we on each initiative?

The Portability Regulation

On 7 February 2017, negotiators for the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Member States have agreed, in principle, a text for a regulation on cross-border portability of online content services in the internal market. The Parliament and Member States will now formally approve the text, paving way for the regulation to come into effect later this year or early 2018. Under the new rules, subscribers to online content services, such as Netflix and Spotify, will be able to access their services while temporarily present in a Member State other than the one in which they are ordinarily resident.

We will shortly publish a cheat sheet to the text agreed by the three EU institutions. In the meantime, we have previously covered the Portability Regulation here and here.

The Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market

This sprawling proposal was published by the European Commission on 16 September 2016. It’s a wildly ambitious instrument, aiming to harmonise further EU copyright law in a number of areas, including exceptions, platform obligations and remuneration for authors.

The proposal is now being considered by the EU’s co-legislators – the Member States and the European Parliament – who need to first agree internally on a position and then negotiate with each other (and the Commission) on a way forward.

The Member States, sending their best and brightest to Brussels to participate in the Working Party on Intellectual Property, are moving at glacial speed, considering each aspect of the proposal thoroughly. It seems optimistic to believe a compromise will be reached before the summer break, but that is what will need to happen if we are to see the three institutions reaching an agreement before the end of the year, which is their stated objective.

The process in the European Parliament is moving somewhat quicker, with the Parliament’s Legal Committee taking the lead and three other committees offering opinions on the proposal. The Legal Committee aims to vote on a final report before the end of June, which will form the basis of the European Parliament’s position on this file.

We’ve covered the Directive here before and will bring you a snappy analysis soon.

The Proposed Regulation on Broadcasters’ Ancillary Services

As part of its second wave of copyright proposals, the European Commission published this targeted, but controversial, draft regulation on 16 September 2016. The proposal aims to facilitate clearing copyright for online transmission and retransmission of certain services of broadcasters. The idea is that broadcasters should be able to provide their online services in all EU Member States, while clearing rights either in one Member State only and through collective rights management. While notionally the proposal does not force pan-EU licensing or provision of services on anybody, it may do so regardless, in combination with EU competition law.

Like the Directive, this proposal is also now being considered by the co-legislators, with the pace of the legislative process being somewhat slower. We understand the European Parliament Legal Committee, being the responsible committee for this file, too, will not vote until after the summer break.

Stay tuned for our forthcoming pithy piece on all you need to know about this proposal.

For the sake of completeness, we note that the Commission has proposed two instruments to implement the WIPO Marrakesh Treaty on Visually Impaired Persons. Wiggin has covered these here previously.