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Global Media and Communications Watch The International Legal Blog for the Tech, Media and Telecoms Industry
Posted in Copyright, Digital Single Market (EU) Alastair ShawEva Vonau

EU: DSM-Watch – Commission staff working document on copyright reform leaked

DSMAs part of the Commissions Digital Single Market Strategy, the European copyright rules are also under review. So far, a rather general communication “Towards a modern, more European copyright framework” as well as a draft regulation on cross-border portability have been published (blog post series). This was in December 2015. Since then, particularly the draft regulation has been subject to controversial discussion. The European Parliament will debate a revised version of the draft in early January 2017. However, the Commission already anticipated a more detailed outline of its plans for the modernization of the copyright in Europe. The communication is due in September. That said, just yesterday, a Staff Working Paper was leaked through British non-profit organization Statewatch. The 182-page document holds an impact assessment on the modernization of EU copyright rules.

Quite interestingly, the Commission analyses several legislative options in order to reform European copyright rules and to make them fit for the digital age. A core element of the paper is a comprehensive impact assessment. The document is basically divided into three areas:

  1. Ensuring wider access to content: In order to widen the access to content, amongst others the Commission aims at applying the country of origin principle to additional online services of broadcasting organizations. Furthermore, a mandatory collective management for retransmissions by services like IPTV shall be introduced.
  2.  Adapting exceptions to digital and cross-border environment: Three mandatory exceptions to copyright shall be introduced by the reform. The affected areas are (1) the use of content in digital and cross-border teaching activities, (2) text and data mining for public interest research organizations as well as (3) the preservation of cultural heritage.
  3. Achieving a well-functioning marketplace for copyright: Regarding the aspect of fair sharing, the Commission argues in favor for the introduction of a neighboring right for press publishers. Surprisingly, the Commission refers to the results of the consultation that have not been published yet.

A fourth aspect the Commission looked at in an earlier statement of December 2015 is the fighting of product piracy. However, in the current paper one can read that this issue and the respective review of the Directive 2004/48/EC on the enforcement of intellectual property rights shall be dealt with separately.

DSM Watch will be back with a detailed analysis soon.