The European Union's Parliament has approved its controversial copyright legislation, known as the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market 2016/0280, which introduces precedential copyright arrangements.

The legislation’s objective is to ensure that the copyright rights and obligations also apply online, while striving to ensure that the Internet remains an environment for freedom of expression. One of the directive’s primary aims is that large online platforms no longer be able to earn money by using journalists' and artists' content without paying them fairly. These new arrangements are tailored specifically to platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Google News.

The directive also aims to enhance the ability of rights holders such as musicians, performers and script authors, as well as news publishers, to negotiate better remuneration deals for use of their works online. It does this by making internet platforms directly liable for content uploaded to their site and by automatically giving the news publishers rights to negotiate deals on behalf of their journalists for news stories used by news aggregators like Google News.

Sharing snippets of news articles is specifically excluded from the scope and restrictions of the directive. In addition, uploading protected works for quotation, criticism, review, caricature, parody or pastiche has been given even greater protection than before, ensuring that memes and Gifs continue to be available and shareable online. Start-up platforms will be subject to lighter obligations than more established companies. It is now be up to member states to approve the Parliament’s decision in the coming weeks. If EU member states accept the text adopted by the European Parliament, each EU member state will then have 2 years to implement it through national legislation.

CLICK HERE to read the Directive as adopted by the European Parliament.

This article was published in the Internet, Cyber and Copyright Group’s February 2019 Newsletter.