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Final version of the EU Copyright Directive sent for review

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The two-year long EU deliberations, countless hours and the never-ending discussions resulted in a final version of the Copyright Directive which was tabled on 12th February. The revamped “Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market” version has been sent to the EU legal departments for review and the finalised version will be produced in either March or April.

The latest text was worked on by three major EU groups: the European Commission, the EU Parliament and the Council of the European Union. The discussion was under constant attack by various lobbyists including Google, YouTube and others.

Some European music industry organizations have welcomed the news so far, including German collective society GEMA and GESAC (European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers).

“We welcome the agreement reached today between the EU institutions regarding copyright. Thanks to the Directive, online platforms will finally have to pay authors a fair remuneration for the usage of their works. This has been overdue for years. Nevertheless, the debate continues to include many pieces of misinformation. It is often ignored that the European Parliament and the Member States have continuously developed the contents of the Directive further in intensive debates,” said Dr. Harald Heker, CEO of GEMA. 

Heker also opined that the draft of the new Directive would now impose a higher level of responsibility onto the online platforms and strengthens the position of creators as well as internet users at the same time.

“For music authors, this would be an important step for which GEMA has been fighting for a long time. It is now up to the European Parliament to give green lights for a modern copyright,” Heker added. 

It was only last week when France and Germany, after negotiations, put together a new agreement. The agreement states that all online platforms would have to install upload filters, continuously checking for copyright infringement, except under three of the following criteria for the site, app, or platform in question:

1. Available to the public for less than 3 years
2. Annual turnover falls below €10 million ($11.4 million)
3. Fewer than 5 million unique monthly visitors

Following which, on 7th February, an open letter was issued to the media, signed by labels and publishers calling on European negotiators to cancel the Directive. This shocking turn of events caused by an open letter, co-signed by the IFPI, ICMP, IMPALA and several other rights-holder organisations from the audio-visual, broadcasting and sports industries including the Premier League, added fuel to the fire.

Soon after a letter signed by labels and publishers was published on 8th February, songwriters, artists, producers and managers in the UK collectively issued a letter stating their disagreement and called on negotiators to proceed with the Directive negotiations.

In the end, everyone involved with the Article 13 debacle has an opinion of their own. Whether the finalised version of the Directive is a success, a failure or something that lies between the extremities, ultimately depends on which team you side with.

 

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