Sunday

22nd Apr 2018

Focus

EU deal moves toward pan-European copyright rules

  • A common EU copyright regime is closer following a deal between MEPs and ministers. (Photo: Helena Spongenberg)

The EU is moving towards a system of common copyright rules after a deal on so-called "orphan works" was reached by MEPs and ministers on Wednesday (6 June).

"Orphan works" include photos, films or pieces of writing which are covered by copyright but where the right holder cannot be found. Under the deal agreed by MEPs with the Danish Presidency, museums, libraries and individuals would have easier access to orphan works.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

According to the text, which now requires the approval of the Parliament's Legal Affairs committee followed by a full plenary vote, a work would be deemed to be orphan if, after a "diligent" search, it was not possible to identify or locate the copyright holder. The draft legislation lays down criteria for carrying out the search, with the rights holder having the power to put an end to the orphan status of a work at any time and be compensated for its use. However, in a bid to avoid a public library or museum facing crippling compensation costs to authors re-claiming a work, compensation would be low in cases of non-commercial use.

Public institutions would be able to generate revenue from using an unclaimed work to pay for search and digitisation costs.

The new rules would protect institutions using orphan works from future copyright infringement claims. On 1 June, a US federal judge gave authors permission to sue Google over the search-engines plan to create the world's largest digital library with more than 20 million scanned books, including orphan works without the permission from all the authors concerned.

Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg, the Polish socialist group MEP steering the issue through parliament, claimed that the deal would be a "first step towards harmonisation of copyright rules in the EU."

She added that, "the regulation will promote culture and finally make it possible to make some hidden treasures available to the general public."

The move comes after the European Commission launched a public consultation on online copyright rules on Monday (4 June) specifically looking at ways to locate illegal content on a website, and how website hosts should be notified about its presence.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday (6 June) ten trade and consumer organisations unveiled a set of demands to be included in the long-awaited directive on collective rights management. MEPs and copyright users have been demanding legislation on collective copyright for several years. After a lengthy delay, the Commission has now pledged to release legislation on collective rights management at the end of July.

Under the banner of the Copyright Users' Platform (CUP), the group stated that the EU executive had a duty to propose legislation to ensure "a long overdue improvement in the collective management of rights".

The CUP says that collective rights managers should agree contracts with all interested authors or users as well as a common dispute resolution system. They also want to make public all information about the services and prices offered by collective rights managers and establish an EU-wide rulebook on accounting and bookkeeping.

In response, Caroline Van Weede, managing director of signatory group Cable Europe, told EUobserver that it was "only logical that we want to streamline the process to get premium content to European consumers quickly, efficiently and with the widest set of choices possible."

The issue of collective rights has also been raised in a report by Jean Marie Cavada, a French centre-right MEP, which will be adopted by the European Parliament's Culture committee on 19 June. The Cavada report is Parliament's response to a Green Paper on collective rights management and audiovisual works released by the Commission in 2011.

The commission proposal is expected to set out common rules for copyright societies and license music and videos on a multi-territory basis. Collective copyrights in the EU are estimated to be worth €4.6 billion out of a global industry worth €7.5 billion.

Authors urge EU to protect rights against pirates

Film directors and screenwriters should be guaranteed minimum intellectual property rights by EU law, according to a group of leading trade organisations representing authors.

Let people download music by text message, says EP report

MEPs to focus on providing legal certainty in the online environment in Europe. The EU should allow people to pay for downloaded music by text message, according to a European Parliament report on the audiovisual sector.

Agenda

Whistleblowers, Syria and digital revolution This WEEK

The European Commission will present proposals to protect whistleblowers, combat fake news and organise the digital single market. The international community will gather in Brussels to discuss how to help Syrians in the current war and after.

Macron and Merkel pledge euro reform

France and Germany have pledged to forge a joint position on euro reform by June, despite German reluctance on deeper monetary union.

News in Brief

  1. Audit office: Brexit 'divorce' bill could be billions higher
  2. MEPs urge better protection for journalists
  3. Dieselgate: MEPs back greater role for EU in car approvals
  4. European parliament adopts new organic farming rules
  5. EU granted protection to half million people in 2017
  6. Report: Facebook to carve 1.5bn users out of EU privacy law
  7. Greek court ruling permits migrants to travel to mainland
  8. Commonwealth summit hopes for trade boost after Brexit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  2. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  3. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  4. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  5. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  6. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  7. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  9. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  10. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  11. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia

Latest News

  1. ECJ ruling set to end 10-year 'mouth tobacco' lobbying saga
  2. Whistleblowers, Syria and digital revolution This WEEK
  3. MEP friendship groups offer 'backdoor' for pariah regimes
  4. Macron and Merkel pledge euro reform
  5. Obscurity surrounds EU military fund's expert groups
  6. New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability
  7. Draghi to stay in secretive 'lobby' group
  8. Bulgaria offers lesson in tackling radical-right populists

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Must Work Together to Promote Global Steel Sector
  2. Swedish EnterprisesEU Tax Proposal on Digital Services Causes Concern for Small Exporting Economies
  3. Europea Jewish CongressCondemns the Horrific Murder of Holocaust Survivor Mireille Knoll in Paris
  4. Mission of China to the EUAn Open China Will Foster a World-Class Business Environment
  5. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  6. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  7. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  8. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  9. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  10. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  11. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  12. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights