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Changes to EU legislation to modernise copyright rules

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The European Commission (EC) has proposed new legislation to modernise EU copyright rules, so the creative industries can continue to grow in the online market. On 14 September, the EC set out proposals to increase access to digital content across the EU, while bringing clearer rules on the use of works by online platforms, specifically user uploaded content (UUC), also referred to as user generated content (UGC), services e.g. YouTube, Vimeo, SoundCloud etc. 

Chief Executive Robert Ashcroft said: 

PRS has been at the very forefront of the ‘transfer of value’ debate, calling for legal clarity to address problems in the online content market and a return of consent to creators. We, therefore, very much welcome the Commission’s recognition of the problem and the opportunity the proposed Directive represents to address the current imbalance of interests between user upload platforms and rightsholders. There is still much work to do in order to build consensus in the European Parliament and member states, but we will work with our partners across the creative industries to secure this much needed reform.

What does this mean for me?

The proposed changes will provide essential legal framework to allow members to more effectively share in the true value of their works on these services. This will be achieved by making sure user upload services are required to enter into licensing agreements with rightsholders. The proposed changes would clarify that UUC services cannot claim the Safe Harbour Defence in order to avoid liability for the use of copyright protected works on their platforms. They would be obliged to be fully and appropriately licensed by rightsholders. This legal certainty would help when negotiating licence deals, meaning a fairer deal for creators. 

The proposals also contain measures to improve the control rightsholders would have over their works online. Services providing access to large amounts of copyright protected works would have to take measures to prevent unlicensed or unauthorised content appearing on their services. This could include using content recognition and management technology. There is no set timeline for these proposals; the reforms are now subject to amendment and development by the European Parliament. However, the proposals represent a significant first step towards a fairer, better functioning copyright framework.

Please contact  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information on the EC’s draft legislation and its future implications.