MEPs have adopted the Directive in plenary by 348 votes in favour, 274 against and 36 abstentions. This marks the end of the legislative process for the European Parliament that began in 2016. It will now be down to Member States in Council to approve Parliament’s decision in the coming weeks. If the Council accepts the text, it will take effect after publication in the official journal and then Member States will have two years to implement it.
The key provisions of the new Directive are:
- a provision on platform obligations meant to bridge the so-called “value-gap” by confirming that certain online content sharing service providers infringe the communication to the public right and are not eligible for the hosting provider exemption (Article 14 of the E-Commerce), while creating a new safe harbour for such platforms and a lighter regime for start-ups;
- a related right for press publishers which has been significantly watered down during the legislative process and will now last for only two years, rather than 20 years, as originally proposed;
- a series of new contractual entitlements for authors and performers (a remuneration principle, transparency obligation or audit rights, a contract readjustment mechanism, and a revocation right), which are designed to ensure that these creators are better remunerated;
- new mandatory exceptions including for text and data mining;
- an enabling provision for extended collective licensing;
- a mechanism for out-of-commerce works;
- a (voluntary) mechanism for VOD platforms meant to encourage cross-border licensing; and
- a provision ensuring that publishers receive a share of private copy and reprography levies.
The European Parliament says that the Directive aims to ensure that the longstanding rights and obligations of copyright law also apply to the internet. It also strives to ensure that the internet remains a space for freedom of expression. To read the European Parliament’s press release in full, click here.