European Parliament Advances Precedential Copyright Legislation

The European Union Parliament has approved in first-reading a controversial legislation on “Copyright in the Digital Single Market”, with precedential copyright arrangements. The legislation’s stated objective is to create a “modern, more European copyright framework” as it regards the online environment, yet its overall impact on Internet services and end-users is unclear at this point.

One of the controversial arrangements in the legislation gives press publishers the right to receive “fair and proportionate remuneration for the digital use of their press publications” by online services such as news aggregators (e.g., Google News Search). Among other limitations and exceptions, the EU Parliament adopted an exception for the permissible use of such publications by way of “mere hyperlinks which are accompanied by individual words”. 

Another controversial provision relates to the use of copyrighted content by online content sharing service providers that store and give access to user-uploaded content (e.g., YouTube). Such services would need to conclude “fair and appropriate” licensing arrangements with copyright holders which cover the user-uploaded content. Small companies, some not-for-profit organizations and educational and scientific repositories will be exempted from this obligation.

The legislation is not yet finalized. It now proceeds to tri-lateral deliberations between the EU Parliament (the primary legislature), the Council of the EU (the co-legislature) and the EU Commission (the executive branch) to finalize an agreeable text for the legislation, expected no sooner than January 2019. Once finalized, it will be enacted as an EU Directive which outlines the provisions of law that each EU member state must then implement into its national law in country-specific legislation. 

CLICK HERE to read the legislative text adopted by the European Parliament in first reading.