On the 14th September 2016, the European Commission released its legislative proposal for amendments to EU copyright law. During the State of the Union 2016, President Jean Claude Juncker pointed out one of the main reasons for these new proposals:

"I want journalists, publishers and authors to be paid fairly for their work, whether it is made in studios or living rooms, whether it is disseminated offline or online, whether it is published via a copying machine or commercially hyperlinked on the web".

The aim of these new rules is to reinforce the position of online creators by obliging online video-sharing platforms such as YouTube and Facebook to inform such creators about the amount of profits they obtain as a result of online exploitation of their work and to grant them adequate compensation.

A key objective of these proposals is to help European copyright industries to develop in the Digital Single Market and European creators to reach new audience, while making European works widely available to European citizens across borders.

By virtue of these proposed amendments, the Commission pursues three objectives:

Improving choice and facilitating cross-border access to copyright protected online content

Currently, broadcasting operators offering TV channel packages, are required to obtain authorisations by negotiating with every individual right holder, in order to be able to transmit programmes online in other EU Member States. The new proposed rules aim to facilitate the process by proposing a legal mechanism for broadcasters to obtain licenses from collective management organisations representing rightholders instead of having to negotiate a deal with every single rightholder. Enabling broadcasters to make the vast majority of their content, available in other Member States, will give greater choice to consumers.

With a view to develop Video-on-Demand (VoD) offerings in Europe, the Commission asks Member States to establish negotiation bodies in order to aid audiovisual rights holders and VoD platforms reach licensing deals.

Moreover, in order to facilitate cross-border access to those works that are protected by copyright but are no longer available to the public (i.e. 'out of commerce works'), the proposed rules encourage museums, archives and other institutions to digitise these works.

Modernising the EU rules on research, education and inclusion of disabled people

Today, students and teachers encounter copyright-related restrictions when attempting to use digital materials and technologies for learning. The Commission proposed a new exception to allow educational institutions to make use of this educational material.

The Commission proposed another exception which will allow cultural heritage establishments to make copies of works that are permanently in their collections, in digital format, for the sole purpose of their preservation. This would in the long term, facilitate access by the public to such data.

The proposed rules also aim to implement the Marrakesh Treaty in order to facilitate access to published works for persons who are visually impaired or print disabled.

Fairer and sustainable marketplace for creators and press

The proposed new EU copyright framework aim to ensure increased transparency for authors and performers on the exploitation and remuneration of their works. Amongst other things, these new rules aim to reinforce the position of content creators to negotiate and be remunerated for the online exploitation of their content on video-sharing platforms such as YouTube.

Way Forward

Finally, as with all current EU legislative proposals, implementation of the new proposed rules is subject to the approval by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament.