Today the Council of the European Union adopted the EU Copyright Directive (the “Directive”), ending a negotiation process which first started with the Commission’s proposal for a new Directive in early 2016. After publication in the Official Journal of the EU, Member States will have two years to implement the Directive. In Council the UK voted to adopt the Directive, but it’s by no means certain that the UK will implement it. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal it will not be bound to do so, nor will it if any “deal” transition period expires before the Directive implementation period expires.
The Directive is the most substantial revision of EU copyright laws in years and will shape the digital market for years to come. It is aimed at modernising for the digital age and further harmonising EU copyright laws. Key changes include revising the exceptions to infringement; reinforcing the position of rightholders in relation to the use of user-uploaded content by online content sharing services; creating a new right for press publishers in relation to the use of their content online and giving increased protections to authors and performers. Our run down of the whole text is here, with deep dives on the provisions relating to online content sharing services (Article 15) and the new press publishers’ right (Article 17), here and here.