Earlier this year, after almost exactly 30 months of legislative wrangling, the EU approved the final compromise of the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. The EU Member States now have until 7 June 2021 to implement the new rules established. While such implementations will have to include mandatory aspects of the directive, there is room for meaningful improvements, and some measures can be taken to mitigate the more problematic provisions of the directive.
Judged against the ideas of free knowledge communities like Wikimedia, Creative Commons, but also of libraries and museums, about a modern EU copyright framework that facilitates access to cultural and information, strengthens user rights and reduces unnecessary copyright infringement, the outcome of EU copyright reform process is a big disappointment. The directive expands the scope of copyright and instead of harmonising copyright rules across the EU member states, it contains measures that will further fragment and complicate the EU copyright framework. Instead of strengthening public interest exceptions to copyright, the directive relies on voluntary licensing by rightholders, giving them the ability to block users’ access.
Still, Member States will be able to make a difference in the way:
- Teachers are allowed to used copyright works in online educational environments.
- Museums are allowed to digitise their collections and show them on their websites.
- Cultural heritage works are being digitised by institutions, NGOs and businesses.
- Press publications are allowed to be shared on online platforms.
- Start-ups are allowed to mine text and data.
- Take-down rules on online platforms respect user rights.
- We will go throught the Directive text and point out the optionalities and choice national legislators will have to make during transposition.
About our main speaker: Mr. Dimitar Dimitrov is the Brussels representative of WikiMedia / Wikipedia, a global movement whose mission is to bring free educational content to the world. The flagship project, Wikipedia, has in under two decades time become the largest compendium of human knowledge in history. In public policy we defend the right to share and participate in knowledge, culture and information. We are currently trying to help local free knowledge communities across the EU make sense of the new copyright directive and understand what can be changed nationally.