EU adopts new copyright law

The Council of the European Union approved the EU’s new copyright law on Monday, completing a lengthy and controversial legislation process that spans over 30 months.

The Copyright Directive, proposed by the European Commission — the EU’s executive arm — in September 2016 and voted by the European Parliament in March 2019, will later be published in the Official Journal of the EU. After that, the members will have 24 months to transpose the directive into their national legislation.

One of the most important characteristics of the copyright law is it gives more right to content creators against online platforms, which led to heavy lobbying efforts of both sides. U.S. Internet giants such as Google and Facebook fought a public campaign against the legislation.

For example, the the bargaining position of press publishers are strengthened under the new law when they negotiate the use of their content by online services.

Except when using individual words and very short extracts of press publications, internet platforms would have to seek an authorization from press publishers. Internet giants had warned such new requirements would impede information flow on the Internet.

The European Commission dubbed the new Copyright Directive “modernised rules fit for digital age,” replacing an older one — adopted in 2001 — “when there were no social media, no video on demand, no museums digitising their art collections and no teacher providing online courses.”