These are exciting days for copyright fans. Yesterday, the European Commission officially published a communication accompanied by several – long awaited – legislative proposals regarding the future of the European copyright law (see this press release). The content of the individual documents does not come as a surprise given that we have seen a number these documents leaked as drafts at a very mature stage recently. For more information please see our blog posts on the leaked impact assessment, the leaked communication, and on the leaked legislative proposals.

However, there are some changes in the officially presented proposals one can perceive. First of all, the differentiation of the copyright reform into four parts – introduced by the Communication “Towards a modern, more European copyright framework” last December – is reflected in the latest Communication. Unlike in the leaked version, the Commission now also refers to the fourth area regarding the effective and balanced enforcement system. According to the Commission’s anticipation, further action is to follow in this last field after a comprehensive evaluation.

Additionally, the Commission presents several non-legislative measures such as the development of licensing hubs in the context of a wider access to content across the EU. Those were not mentioned in the leaked communication. Another aspect that was not part of the leaked papers is the implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty which provides an exception to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled. The Commission has now presented two legislative proposals regarding this field as well.

Furthermore, the draft of the copyright directive now begins with an explanatory memorandum giving some background information. Other changes mainly concern the exact wording of the sections at issue with no amendments to the subject-matter compared to the leaked version. Of note is for instance the change from “news publication” to “press publication” in Article 2 (4) of the directive proposal.

The draft legislation is accompanied by a detailed impact assessment (staff working document). So far, only part I of the impact assessment had been leaked. Parts II and III complement part I by way of certain annexes to the assessment holding additional information on the background and reasoning of the legislative measures.

Here you find an overview of the documents published on 14th September 2016:

  • The general Communication “Promoting a fair, efficient and competitive European copyright-based economy in the Digital Single Market”
  • The draft for a Regulation laying down rules on the exercise of copyright and related rights applicable to certain online transmissions of broadcasting organisations and retransmissions of television and radio programmes
  • The draft for a Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market
  • The Impact Assessment
  • A draft for the Regulation and the Directive implementing the Marrakesh-Treaty

We will be back with a detailed analysis of the legislative proposals soon.