Modernisation of European copyright rules: directive on copyright in the digital single market

In “Legal Affairs - JURI”

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For a brief overview of the key points of the adopted text and its significance for the citizen, please see the corresponding summary note.

On 14 September 2016, in line with the digital single market strategy, the European Commission presented a legislative package for the modernisation of EU copyright rules including a new directive on copyright in the digital single market. The objective of the proposal is to adapt EU copyright rules in a context where digital technologies are rapidly changing the way works and other protected subject matter are created, produced, distributed and exploited.

The proposal was referred to the European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI), which on 12 October 2016 appointed Therese Comodini Cachia (EPP, Malta) as rapporteur.  In June 2017, Axel Voss (EPP, Germany) was appointed as the new rapporteur - in replacement of Therese Comodini Cachia. The Internal Market and Consumer Protection market (IMCO) is an Associated committee. 

Despite, the European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI) approved in June 2018 the report by Axel Voss (EPP, Germany), the decision to start negotiations with the Council was rejected by the plenary in July 2018 (318 votes to 278 with 31 abstentions). A revised negotiating position was finally approved (by 438 votes to 226, with 39 abstentions) by the plenary in September 2018.

In February 2019, after more than two years of protracted negotiations, the co-legislators agreed on a new set of copyright rules including two controversial provisions: 1) the creation of a new right that will allow press publishers to claim remuneration for the online use of their publications (Article 15), and 2), the imposition of content monitoring measures on online platforms such as YouTube, which seeks to resolve the 'value gap' and help rights-holders to better monetise and control the distribution of their content online (Article 17). Furthermore, in addition to the mandatory exception for text and data mining for research purposes proposed by the Commission in its proposal, the co-legislators agreed to enshrine in EU law another mandatory exception for general text and data mining (Article 4) in order to contribute to the development of data analytics and artificial intelligence and on a number of new EU rules (e.g. new licensing mechanism for out-of-commerce works). 

The European Parliament (in plenary) and the Council have approved the compromise text in March 2019 and in April 2019 respectively. The directive was published on 15 May 2019 in the Official Journal of the European Union and all Member states must transpose the new rules in their national law by June 2021.


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Author: Tambiama Madiega, Members' Research Service,

As of 20/02/2023.