HomeInsightsEuropean Parliament adopts its revised negotiation position on Commission’s draft Digital Copyright Directive

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The European Parliament has adopted a revised negotiating position on proposed copyright rules, adding what it calls, “safeguards to protect small firms and freedom of expression.

Parliament’s position was approved by 438 votes to 226, with 39 abstentions. Parliament’s proposals include:

  • fair remuneration for artists and journalists: many of Parliament’s changes to the EU Commission’s original proposal aim to make certain that artists, notably musicians, performers and script authors, as well as news publishers and journalists, are paid for their work when it is used by sharing platforms such as YouTube or Facebook, and news aggregators such as Google News;
  • online platforms’ liability: Parliament’s position toughens the Commission’s proposed plans to make online platforms and aggregators liable for copyright infringements. This would also apply to snippets, where only a small part of a news publisher’s text is displayed. In practice, this liability requires these parties to pay rights holders for copyrighted material that they make available. Parliament’s text also specifically requires that journalists and not just their publishing houses, benefit from remuneration stemming from this liability requirement. At the same time, the text now exempts small and micro platforms from the Directive;
  • freedom of expression: the text also includes provisions to ensure that freedom of expression on the internet is not hampered. Therefore, under Parliament’s proposals, merely sharing hyperlinks to articles, together with “individual words” to describe them, will be free of copyright constraints. Further, any action taken by platforms to check that uploads do not breach copyright rules must be designed in such a way as to avoid catching non-infringing works. Platforms will also be required to establish rapid redress systems (operated by the platform’s staff, not algorithms) through which complaints can be lodged when an upload is wrongly taken down;
  • open source software: the text also specifies that uploading to online encyclopaedias in a non-commercial way, such as Wikipedia, or open source software platforms, such as GitHub, will automatically be excluded from the requirement to comply with copyright rules; and
  • authors and performers: the text strengthens the negotiating rights of authors and performers by enabling them to claim additional remuneration from the party exploiting their rights when the remuneration originally agreed is disproportionately low compared to the benefits derived. These benefits should include indirect revenues. It would also empower authors and performers to revoke or terminate the exclusivity of an exploitation licence for their work if the party holding the exploitation rights is deemed not to be exercising this right.

The European Parliament will now begin negotiations with the Commission and the Council to agree a final text. To read Parliament’s press release in full and for a link to the proposed text, click here.