The European Commission has released on 9 December a Communication on a More modern and European copyright framework and a Regulation on content portability. This set of proposals, as part of the European Commission’s Digital Single Market Strategy, is a first step in the review of EU copyright rules. According to the Commission, the Communication will be followed by a legislative proposal to implement the actions foreseen in the Communication, to be released during spring 2016, and some more proposals are expected closer to the end of 2016 that will deal, inter alia, with enforcement of IP rights.
In the Communication, the Commission is stressing the need to address the territoriality of copyright, to enhance portability and give wider access to content, to review certain exceptions and limitations for education, libraries, text and data mining and panorama, as well as to look into online platforms, news aggregation services and fair remuneration of authors and performers, the final part of the Communication being dedicated to the enforcement IP rights – which is also subject to a public consultation launched on the same day by the Commission.
When it comes to exceptions and limitations, the proposed changes to the EU copyright framework have been summarised, in an official press release, as follows:
“The Commission intends to work on key EU exceptions to copyright. Exceptions allow for copyright-protected works to be used, in defined circumstances, without prior authorisation from the rights holders. The Commission will revise EU rules to make it easier for researchers to use "text and data mining" technologies to analyse large sets of data. Education is another priority. For example, teachers who give online courses should be subject to better and clearer rules, that work across Europe. Also, the Commission wants to help people with disabilities to access more works (this is the aim of the Marrakesh Treaty). The Commission will finally assess the need to reduce the legal uncertainty for internet users who upload their photos of buildings and public art works permanently located in public places (current exception for panorama).”