Over on the IPKat, Eleonora Roasti reports that at last, after several weeks, several discussions, and after France and Germany achieved a compromise on some key provisions in the draft Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market an agreement has been reached between the European Parliament and Council negotiators on the content of this new piece of legislation.
The text is not yet available, but according to a press release from the European Parliament:
Tech giants to share revenue with artists and journalists: The deal aims at enhancing rights holders’ chances, notably musicians, performers and script authors, as well as news publishers, to negotiate better remuneration deals for the use of their works featured on internet platforms.
Locking in freedom of expression: Sharing snippets of news articles will not engage the rights of the media house which produced the shared article. The deal however also contains provisions to avoid news aggregators abusing this allowance. The ‘snippet’ can therefore continue to appear in a Google News newsfeeds, for example, or when an article is shared on Facebook, provided it is “very short”. Uploading protected works for purposes of quotation, criticism, review, caricature, parody or pastiche has been protected, ensuring that memes and Gifs will continue to be available and shareable on online platforms.
Many online platforms will not be affected: The text also specifies that uploading works to online encyclopaedias in a non-commercial way, such as Wikipedia, or open source software platforms, such as GitHub, will automatically be excluded. Start-up platforms will be subject to lighter obligations than more established ones.
Stronger negotiating rights for authors and performers: Authors and performers will be able to claim additional remuneration from the distributor exploiting their rights when the remuneration originally agreed is disproportionately low compared to the benefits derived by the distributor.
How this directive changes the status quo: Currently, internet companies have little incentive to sign fair licensing agreements with rights holders, because they are not considered liable for the content that their users upload. They are only obliged to remove infringing content when a rights holder asks them to do so. However, this is cumbersome for rights holders and does not guarantee them a fair revenue. Making internet companies liable will enhance rights holders’ chances (notably musicians, performers and script authors, as well as news publishers and journalists) to secure fair licensing agreements, thereby obtaining fairer remuneration for the use of their works exploited digitally.
Next steps: The deal must now be approved by Council representatives and the EP plenary.
Dr. Harald Heker, CEO of German music collection society GEMA, said: “We welcome the agreement reached today between the EU institutions regarding copyright. Thanks to the Directive, online platforms will finally have to pay authors a fair remuneration for the usage of their works” adding “The draft of the Directive that we now have in front of us imposes a higher level of responsibility onto the online platforms and strengthens the position of creators as well as internet users at the same time.
Andrus Ansip European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market wrote in a tweet that the outcome is a “major achievement for Europe”