Press "Enter" to skip to content

Draft proposal for a directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market

The Union Directives which have been adopted in the area of copyright and related rights provide for a high level of protection for rightholders and thereby create a framework wherein the exploitation of works and other protected subject-matter can take place.

This harmonised legal framework contributes to the good functioning of the internal market; it stimulates innovation, creativity, investment and production of new content, also in the digital environment. The protection provided by this legal framework also contributes to the Union’s objective of respecting and promoting cultural diversity while at the same time bringing the European common cultural heritage to the fore.

Rapid technological developments continue to transform the way works and other subject-matter are created, produced, distributed and exploited. New business models and new actors continue to emerge. The objectives and the principles laid down by the EU copyright framework remain sound. However, legal uncertainty remains, for both rightsholders and users, as regards certain uses, including cross-border users, of works and other subject-matter in the digital environment.

This directive provides for rules to adapt certain exceptions and limitations to digital and cross-border environments. It also provides for measures to facilitate certain licencing practices as regards the dissemination of out-of-commerce works and the online availability of audiovisual works on video-on-demand platforms with a view to ensuring wider access to content. Finally, to achieve a well-functioning marketplace for copyright, this Directive provides for rules on rights in publications, on the use of works and other subject-matter by online services storing and giving access to user uploaded content and on the transparency on authors’ and performers’ contracts.

In the fields of research, education and preservation of cultural heritage, digital technologies permit new types of uses that are not clearly covered by the current EU rules on exceptions and limitations. In addition, the optional nature of exceptions and limitations provided for in Directives 2001/29/EC, 96/9/EC and 2009/24/EC in these fields may negatively impact the functioning of the internal market. This is particularly relevant as regards cross-border uses, which are becoming increasingly important in the digital environment. Therefore, the existing exceptions and limitations in Union law that are relevant for scientific research, teaching and preservation of cultural heritage have to be reassessed in the light of these new uses.

There is a need to introduce mandatory exceptions or limitations for uses of text and data mining technologies in the field of scientific research, illustration for teaching in the online environment and for preservation of cultural heritage. For uses not covered by the exceptions or the limitations provided in this directive, the exceptions and limitations existing in Union law will continue to apply. When required, this Directive provides for technical adaptions to directives 96/9/EC and 2001/29/EC.

The exceptions and the limitations set out in this directive seek to achieve a fair balance between the rights and interests of authors and other rightsholders on the one hand, and of users on the other. They can be applied only in certain special cases which do not conflict with the normal exploitation of the works or other subject-matter and do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the rightsholders.