The European directive reforming copyright has passed!

The highly controversial European directive on copyright in the internet era has been adopted by the European Parliament. It increases the rights of journalists and artists with respect to the giants like Google or Facebook.

Following a process that has lasted more than two and a half years, the European Parliament adopted on 26-03-2019 the latest version of the proposed directive on copyright in the digital single market. After a final debate, 348 deputies voted in favour of the directive, 274 voted against and 36 abstained.

Globally, the text introduces several mechanisms enabling rights holders to better defend their interests in the face of internet platforms. Its main lines are the following:

  • Online platforms are liable for content that users upload.
  • The upload of material protected for the purposes of citation, criticism, opinion, caricature, parody or pastiche has been further protected, thus ensuring that memes or GIFs are specifically excluded from the directive.
  • Hyperlinks to news articles, accompanied by 'individual words or very short extracts', can be shared freely.
  • Journalists must get a share of any copyright-related revenue obtained by their news publisher from news aggregators.
  • Start-up platforms are subject to lighter obligations.

In the coming weeks, member states will have to approve the decision of the Parliament (which is a formality). The directive will then be published in the official journal and will come into force. Member states will than have two years to transpose it into their own legislation.