Amendments to the Copyright regulations approved by Council
On the 20th February 2019, the European Council officially approved legislation which will reform EU Copyright rules. In the coming weeks, these amendments are going to be voted on by a committee of lawmakers, which will then be followed by a vote of the European Parliament, predicted to take place in March or April of 2019.
The Proposed Law
The main changes brought about by the revamped law will require platforms, like Google and Youtube, to sign licence agreements with their relevant right holders. In this way, the legislation will require online sharing platforms to remove content which was shared without a signed licence by the right holder through automatic filters. Essentially, this will protect right holders when seeking to licence their rights and to be remunerated for online distribution of their works.
Under the current regulations, it has been argued that right holders and, subsequently, those contributing towards the development of European creativity and production of creative content, are at risk as a result of the lack of protection they are given. It was deemed necessary to guarantee that such right holders receive their fair share of the value that is generated through the use of their own works. The amendments will, hence, reinforce the role of the internet as the main market place for distribution and access to copyright protected content.
The Way Forward
The proposed reform to the copyright rules may potentially represent a positive milestone in the development of EU copyright legislation; as long as the said reform establishes a fair and equitable balance between the safeguard of rights of copyright holders and the excessive curtailment of rights of EU citizens and companies at large.
In such a way, it can be argued that these changes will give the necessary protection to right holders, which have not been afforded proper protection under the current regulations. Although there are numerous Member States which have opposed these amendments, many believe this is the way forward for the proper evolution of digital technologies.