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EU Parliament approves digital copyright reforms

In France, the European Parliament has voted in favour of copyright reforms that aim to update digital copyright laws for the internet age. The legislation supports Europe’s creative industries and the rights of copyright holders, and is the first major update to copyright legislation in almost 20 years.

Under the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, online platforms and aggregators are liable for copyright infringements where only a small part of a news publisher’s text is displayed, and liable parties must pay individuals rights holders, not just publishers. Simply sharing hyperlinks to articles, along with a description, will be free of copyright constraints. The directive also strengthens the negotiating rights of authors, allowing them to revoke or terminate the exclusivity of a licence for their work.

Many changes from the original proposal, which was rejected in July, aim to make sure artists, news publishers and journalists are paid for their work when it is used by sharing platforms such as YouTube or Facebook, and news aggregators such as Google News.

The International Publishers Association (IPA) has welcomed the reforms. IPA president Michiel Kolman said, ‘This vote recognises the value of Europe’s creative industries. Technology companies and platforms are part of how creative works are distributed but this vote reinforces the underlying principle of copyright that creators and publishers deserve fair financial reward for their work.’

In a statement made on 13 September, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) welcomed some of the reform’s changes, including clearer possibilities for libraries to digitise works for preservation, and the right to benefit from copyright exceptions for teaching. However, IFLA also noted several provisions that ‘could do serious damage to the not-for-profit platforms that host open access articles and open educational resources’.

‘Libraries across Europe are working hard to build stronger, richer, fairer societies through access to information. We need forward-looking copyright reforms to deliver this. Europe still has a way to go before it has the laws its libraries deserve,’ said IFLA secretary general Gerald Leitner.



Category: International news