Outcome of the vote on Julia Reda’s report on the implementation of Directive 2001/29/EC

Five months after the release of MEP Julia Reda’s draft report on the implementation of Directive 2001/29/EC, a vote was held this morning at the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee, on the draft report itself, the 556 amendments tabled to it by other MEPs and the compromise amendments that MEPs agreed on across political groups.

The report was adopted as a whole with 23 votes in favour, 2 against and no abstention. A consolidated version of the report will soon be made available, and will then be voted on during the European Parliament’s July plenary session, likely on the 9th of July.

The key proposals to the text and image sector adopted today by the Legal Affairs Committee are the following:

•        Proposal 16, on works in public places, the so-called “freedom of panorama”:
16. Considers that the commercial use of photographs, video footage or other images of works which are permanently located in physical public places should always be subject to prior authorisation from the authors or any proxy acting for them;
16a. Maintains that the development of the digital market is impossible unless creative and cultural industries are developed alongside it;

•        Proposal 18, on Text and data mining:
18. Stresses the need to properly assess the enablement of automated analytical techniques for text and data (e.g. ‘text and data mining’ or ‘content mining’) for research purposes, provided that permission to read the work has been acquired;
18a. Maintains that the development of the digital market is closely linked to, and has to go hand in hand with, the development of creative and cultural industries, this being the only way to achieve lasting prosperity;

•        Proposal 19, on an exception for education:
19. Calls for an exception for research and education purposes, which should cover not only educational establishments, but accredited educational or research activities, including online and cross-border activities, linked to an educational establishment or institution recognised by the competent authorities or legislation or within the purview of an educational programme;
19a. Stresses that any new exceptions or limitations introduced to the EU copyright legal system needs to be duly justified by a sound and objective economic and legal analysis;

•        Proposal 20, on an exception for libraries:
20. Recognizes the importance of libraries for access to knowledge and calls upon the Commission to assess the adoption of an exception allowing public and research libraries to legally lend works to the public in digital formats for personal use, for a limited duration through the internet or libraries' networks, so that their public interest duty of disseminating knowledge can be fulfilled effectively and in an up-to-date manner; recommends that authors should be fairly compensated for e-lending to the same extent as this is the case for the lending of physical books according to national territorial restrictions;
20a. Calls upon the Commission to assess the adoption of an exception allowing libraries to digitalise content for the purposes of consultation, cataloguing and archiving;
(New) Stresses the importance of taking into account the conclusions of the numerous experiments being undertaken by the book industry to establish fair, balanced and viable business models;

•        Proposal 21, on statutory licences:
21. Notes that in some Member States statutory licences aimed at compensatory schemes have been introduced; stresses the need to ensure that acts which are permissible under an exception should remain so; reminds that compensation for the exercise of exceptions and limitations should only be considered in cases where acts deemed to fall under an exception cause harm to the right holder; further calls on the OHIM Observatory for a full scientific evaluation of these Member state measures and their effect on each affected stakeholder;

•        Proposal 22, on private copying levies:
22. Recalls the importance of the private copying exception that may not be technically limited, coupled with fair compensation of creators; invites the Commission to analyse on the basis of scientific evidence, the European Parliament's resolution of February 20146 and the results of the latest mediation process conducted by the Commission7, the viability of existing measures for the fair compensation of rightholders in respect of reproductions made by natural persons for private use, in particular in regard to transparency measures;
22a. Notes that the right to impose private copying levies should be governed in such a way as to inform citizens of the actual amount of the levy, its purpose and how it is going to be used;
22b. Stresses that digital levies should be made more transparent and optimised to safeguard rightholder and consumer rights and by taking into account Directive 2014/26/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 February 2014 on collective management of copyright and related rights and multi-territorial licensing of rights in musical works for online use in the internal market;
22c. Stresses the importance of bringing more clarity and transparency of the copyright regime for copyright users, in particular with regard to user-generated content and copyright levies, to foster creativity, the further development of online platforms, and ensure appropriate remuneration of copyright holders;
Finally, we can note that the original provision 4 (calling for a Single European Copyright Title) has been replaced with a provision calling on the Commission to study the impact of such a single title on “jobs and innovation, on the interests of authors, performers and other rightholders, and on the promotion of consumers' access to regional cultural diversity”; and the original provision 13 (calling on the introduction of an open norm introducing flexibility in the interpretation of exceptions and limitations) has been deleted all-together and replaced with a provision stressing that “new usages of content” made possible by technology advances should be construed in line with existing exceptions and limitations, provided that the “new usage is similar to the exiting one” and subject to the three-step test.

In a comment, Olav Stokkmo, the Chief Executive of IFRRO, noted the adoption of the own-initiative report by the Legal Affairs Committee and acknowledged that “while not all provisions adopted are satisfactory, there have been some major improvements compared with the original provisions and therefore IFRRO can live with this outcome”.

All documents, including the draft report and amendments, can be found here.