Leaked Communication “Towards a modern, more European copyright framework”


15 November 2015 – The Commission announced in a draft Communication (leaked by IPKAT) a legislative proposals to ensure wider access to content across the EU, adapte exceptions to digital and cross-border environments, achieving a well-functioning marketplace for copyright, and to provide an effective and balanced enforcement system.

A first proposal on the portability of content will be published early December, more proposals will follow in Spring 2016,   they will be a mix of legisative and non-legislative measures aiming at:

  • reaching licensing agreements with righs holders that allow for cross-border access to content
  • facilitating the digitisation and making available out-of-commerce collections. This is good news, because the need for digitisation has not been mentionned before in connection with the copyright reform. On the other hand,  the making available of out-of-commerce works is not listed among the exceptions that the Commission considers to adopt, although Europeana and other Cultural Heritage Institutions have advocated for an exception to achieve this goal. (see Europeana Open Letter on copyright reform).
  • creating ready-to-offer-catalogues of European films, and the development of licensing hubs
  • supporting the developpment of an European aggregator of online search tools destinated to end users, promote more efficient funding for, and  use of, subtiteling and dubbing
  • intesifying the dialogue with AV industry to promote legal offers, the findability of films as well as a more sustained exploitation of existing European films.

In the area of copyright exceptions, the overall aim is to achieve further harmonisation and more mandatory exceptions for the Member States, to function also cross-border. However, the proposals in this area a limited to

  • implementing the WIPO Marrakesh Treaty as a mandatory, harmonised EU exception, which allows to disseminate and make available special formats of print material for people with print disabilities across the EU
  • carrying out text and data mining (TDM) for research purposes
  • clarifying the scope of EU exceptions for teaching (online remote learning), preservation, and freedom of panorama.

In order to achieve a “well functioning marketplace for copyright”, the Commisison considers if action is needed on the definition of the rights of ‘communication to the public’ and of ‘making available’. In other words: under which conditions linking to content might infringe copyright. To enforce copyight, a ‘follow-the-money’ approach shall deprive intermediary service providers involved in copyright infringement of the revenue streams (via advertisement or payments).
According to the Commission, full harmonisation and a single copyright title in the EU remains the long term vision.
Draft Communication “Towards a modern, more European Copyright Framework