Proposal for a Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market

Author (Corporate)
Series Details COM (2016) 593
Publication Date 14/09/2016
Content Type


Legislative proposal adopted by the European Commission on 14 September 2016 aimed at modernising the copyright rules across the European Union by taking into account the increasing digital and cross-border uses of protected content.

Further information:

This proposal provides for measures aiming at improving the position of rightholders to negotiate and be remunerated for the exploitation of their content by online services giving access to user-uploaded content. It features a new right for press publishers aiming at facilitating online licensing of their publications, the recoupment of their investment and the enforcement of their rights. It also addresses existing legal uncertainty as regards the possibility for all publishers to receive a share in the compensation for uses of works under an exception. Finally, the proposal includes measures that aim to improve transparency and better balanced contractual relationships between authors and performers and those to whom they assign their rights.

The Digital Single Market strategy of May 2015 identified the need 'to reduce the differences between national copyright regimes and allow for wider online access to works by users across the EU'. This was followed by a Communication adopted in December 2015, which outlines targeted actions and a long-term vision to modernise EU copyright rules. The proposed Directive is one of the measures aimed at addressing issues identified in that Communication. The draft law was put forward as part of a package of initiatives for the modernisation of copyright rules.

The Council of the European Union reached an agreement on a common position in May 2018, after almost two years of discussion. The European Parliament's relevant committee initially approved a position concerning this proposal in June 2018, but the plenary session rejected the mandate to launch trilogue negotiations a month later. In September 2018, the plenary eventually approved a revised negotiating position. The first round of negotiations between the institutions was held in October 2018 and an informal agreement between the institutions on a compromise text was reached on 13 February 2019. The European Parliament's plenary session formally endorsed it on 26 March, followed by the Council on 15 April.

The proposal sparked criticism and intense debate across society in the European Union, including strong positions from the big online platforms against the proposed Directive. Following the publication of this Act in the Official Jounal of the European Union, the Member States would have 24 months to transpose the Directive into their national legislation.

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Commentary and Analysis
Wikipedia: Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market
openDemocracy: Digital Liberties, 20/03/2017: The link tax threatens the internet as we know it
The Conversation, 03/07/2018: Why the incoming EU copyright law will undermine the free internet
BBC News, 05/07/2018: Europe's copyright plan: Why was it so controversial?
EPRS: At a Glance, September 2018: Copyright in the digital single market
OCCRP: Press Release, 12/09/2018: Europe Should Protect Independent Media in Copyright Reform
The Verge, 13/09/2018: Everything you need to know about Europe’s new copyright directive
The Guardian, 13/09/2018: In punishing tech giants, the EU has made the internet worse for everyone
European University Association: News, 13/09/2018: EU Copyright Reform: European Parliament vote is a missed opportunity to bolster R&I
Youtube: 'Save Your Internet' Campaign
CREATe: EU Copyright Reform
Google: Blog, 06/12/2018: Proposed copyright rules: bad for small publishers, European consumers and online services
Coporate Europe Observatory, 10/12/2018: Copyright Directive: how competing big business lobbies drowned out critical voices
EurActiv, 14/01/2018: Updating copyright rules for news: There’s a better way
Euro|topics, February 2019: Copyright: EU ushers in new online era
EPRS: Briefing, March 2019: Copyright in the digital single market
Euro|topics, March 2019: Copyright reform: Internet freedom at risk?
The Guardian, 25/103/2019: Thank EU for the music – not the grasping tech giants
Euronews, 25/03/2019: Why is the new EU copyright reform causing controversy?
Politico, 25/03/2019: 10 reasons why MEPs should say YES to the Copyright Directive reform
The Guardian, 26/03/2019: What do major copyright changes mean for internet freedom?
The Economist, 26/03/2019: Another day in the life of 'a Europe that protects'

The Guardian, 20/06/2018: EU votes for copyright law that would make internet a 'tool for control'
The Guardian, 05/07/2018: YouTube and Facebook escape billions in copyright payouts after EU vote
ERR News, 12/09/2018: European Parliament approves copyright law proposed by Estonia's Ansip
Politico, 12/09/2018: European Parliament backs copyright reform, dealing blow to tech giants
Reuters, 12/09/2018: EU lawmakers back publishers over tech giants on copyright
Politico, 12/09/2018: Europe’s copyright reforms are all about the money
The Economist, 13/09/2018: A controversial new copyright law moves a step closer to approval
Politico, 12/12/2018: Google’s last stand on copyright
EurActiv, 21/01/2019: Copyright directive faces further setback as final trilogue postponed
Deutsche Welle, 09/02/2019: EU states agree on copyright reform compromise
Politico, 13/02/2019: Europe revamps copyright rules to help creative industries face tech giants
Reuters, 13/02/2019: EU clinches copyright overhaul deal, tech giants in focus
EurActiv, 14/02/2019: Deal struck on copyright reform after ‘intense’ negotiations
Deutsche Welle, 14/02/2019: EU targets tech giants with new copyright deal for digital age
Euronews, 26/02/2019: European Parliament Justice Committee approves EU copyright compromise
Deutsche Welle, 02/03/2019: Thousands in Berlin protest EU's online copyright plans
EurActiv, 19/03/2019: Copyright MEP in bomb threat scare
The Local (Switzerland), 21/03/2019: Why German Wikipedia is down for 24 hours, 24/03/2019: Swiss join protests against EU copyright reform
Politico, 25/03/2019: Germans’ last-ditch drive to derail EU copyright deal
Reuters, 25/03/2019: EU copyright reforms pit creative industry against internet activists, consumers
Deutsche Welle, 26/03/2019: European Parliament to vote on controversial copyright reform
Euronews, 26/03/2019: Reaction as MEPs back controversial online copyright reforms
Reuters, 26/03/2019: EU lawmakers back copyright reforms targeting Google, Facebook
EurActiv, 26/03/2019: MEPs back historic plans to overhaul copyright law
The Guardian, 26/03/2019: MEPs approve sweeping changes to copyright law
Politico, 26/03/2019: European Parliament approves overhaul of online copyright rules
BBC News, 26/03/2019: Article 13: Memes exempt as EU backs controversial copyright law
Politico, 15/04/2019: European ministers give final green light to copyright reform
Reuters, 15/04/2019: EU approves tougher EU copyright rules in blow to Google, Facebook
Euronews, 15/04/2019: EU governments approve copyright reform targeting tech giants
BBC News, 15/04/2019: Article 13: UK helps push through new EU copyright rules
EurActiv, 15/04/2019: Censorship fears linger as copyright directive overcomes final hurdle

EUR-Lex: SWD(2016)301: Impact assessment on the modernisation of EU copyright rules
EUR-Lex: SWD(2016)302: Executive summary of the impact assessment on the modernisation of EU copyright rules
European Parliament: Legislative Observatory: Procedure File on Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on copyright in the Digital Single Market
EP: Legislative Train: Modernisation of European copyright rules: directive on copyright in the digital single market
European Commission: Joint statement by Vice-President Ansip and Commissioner Gabriel on the European Parliament's vote to start negotiations on modern copyright rules, 12 September 2018
European Parliament: Press Release, 12/09/2018 Parliament adopts its position on digital copyright rules
European Parliament: Press Release, 11/01/2019: Q and A on the draft digital copyright directive
Council of the European Union: Press Release, 13/02/2019: EU copyright rules adjusted to the digital age
European Commission: Fact Sheet, 13/02/2019: Q&A: EU negotiators reach a breakthrough to modernise copyright rules
European Parliament: Press Release, 13/02/2019: Agreement reached on digital copyright rules
European Commission: Press Release, 13/02/2019: Digital Single Market: EU negotiators reach a breakthrough to modernise copyright rules
European Parliament: Press Release, 26/02/2019: Copyright: MEPs back provisional agreement
European Commission: Copyright reform: the Commission welcomes European Parliament's vote in favour of modernised rules fit for digital age, 26 March 2019
European Commission: Fact Sheet, 26/03/2019: Questions and Answers – European Parliament's vote in favour of modernised rules fit for digital age
European Parliament: Press Release, 26/03/2019: European Parliament approves new copyright rules for the internet
European Parliament: Press Release, 27/03/2019: Questions and Answers on issues about the digital copyright directive
Council of the European Union: Press Release, 15/04/2019: EU adjusts copyright rules to the digital age
European Commission: Press Release, 15/04/2019: Copyright reform clears final hurdle: Commission welcomes approval of modernised rules fit for digital age

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