The long awaited own initiative report of the European Parliament, on the evaluation of the Copyright Directive (2001/29/EC), has passed the vote in JURI committee today, with 23 votes in favour and 2 against. All 30 compromise amendments have been adopted with a rather large majority every time, showing both the ongoing effort of the rapporteur to find a suitable wording for all political parties, and the MEPs’ willingness to find a common ground for the ongoing EU copyright reform.
OFE welcomes this milestone in the reform process, while waiting for the Commission’s legislative proposal later in 2015. Although the final report is less ambitious than the initial proposal, it still goes further than the proposals made by the Commission in its Digital Single Market strategy.
The JURI report definitely brings an advancement on several copyright aspects that have been highly debated since the publication of the draft in January 2015 (digitization of analogue works, public domain, or the adaptation to future technological advancement). On the ancillary copyright, a last minute change in the voting list could have extended the negative effects of ancillary copyright laws to the European level. Fortunately, this did not happen and the extended efforts to oppose the creation of this new exclusive right have been successful.
However, there are some worrying elements that need to be underlined:
- The final report does not include any wording on the positive recognition of hyperlinking as a fundamental building block of the Internet, which should not be subject to any copyright authorisations
- On text and data mining, the report calls only for an assessment of the possibility to enable TDM for legally acquired content, instead of calling for a clear permission to mine legally acquired content. Moreover, it limits the mining permission only to research purposes. On the positive side, there is no restriction regarding the commercial use.
- Regarding the private copying levies exception, the adopted provision assumes that compensation mechanisms are always needed to implement a private copying exception, ignoring the inefficiency and unfairness of such systems, which has lead countries like the UK or Ireland to decide against them.
- A split vote on the amendment dealing with the exercise of exceptions and limitations resulted in the wording “hindered by technological measures of protection” being removed. This definitely weakens the legal certainty of what is permitted, to the detriment of both creators of content and the final users, who might see their legitimate exercise of exceptions hindered by technological measures.
“The European Parliament has just sent a strong message to the European Commission. The ball is now in its court to propose an ambitious reform to adapt EU copyright rules to the new digital age”, said Graham Taylor, CEO of OpenForum Europe.
MEPs are still able to submit amendments to the final JURI report, which will be voted upon on 9 July, in the plenary session.
For more information, please contact OFE’s CEO Graham Taylor at email@example.com or OFE’s Director in charge of European Policy & Government Relations Maël Brunet at +32 2 210 02 80 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About OpenForum Europe
(OFE) is an independent, not-for-profit organisation, supported by major IT suppliers including Google, IBM, Oracle and Red Hat, as well as SMEs, user and consumer organisations, and national partners across Europe. It focuses on delivering an open, competitive ICT market. Views expressed by OFE do not necessarily reflect those held by all its supporters.