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European Commission acts on copyright reform

The new copyright package from the European Commission includes two regulations and two directives with the aim to modernise current EU copyright rules. Overall, it should widen access to content across the EU and create a fairer deal for all online players.

This new copyright reform delivers on the Commission’s December 2015 action plan for the modernisation of EU copyrights rules.

The proposed regulation which governs copyright and related rights for online transmissions and retransmissions of television and radio programmes will foster the cross-border distribution of television and radio programmes online by facilitating rights clearance.

The proposed regulation will give the possibility to broadcasters and operators of retransmission services, such as IPTV providers, to offer wider access to TV and radio programmes across borders. This will promote consumers’ access to more TV and radio programmes originating in other EU member states.

The proposed regulation addresses the difficulties related to the clearance of copyright in two ways:

– By establishing that the rights required for the online services of broadcasters that are directly related to their broadcasts (for instance the online simulcasting of their satellite broadcast) are to be cleared for the broadcaster’s country of principal establishment (the principle of the “country of origin”). This will help broadcasters to make the vast majority of their content (news, cultural, political, documentary or entertainment programmes for instance) available online also in other member states. As a result, consumers should have more choice to watch and listen to online programmes transmitted by broadcasters established elsewhere in the EU. Citizens of linguistic minorities or Europeans living in another Member State should have better possibilities to follow programmes in their mother tongue.

– It will also extend the system of compulsory collective management currently applicable to cable retransmission to other equivalent digital retransmissions. This proposal will therefore make it easier for retransmission operators to clear the rights in programmes from other Member States in order to offer to their users more channels from across the Union. For example, Belgian Proximus TV which offers TV packages to Belgian customers using IPTV technology will be able to clear more easily rights for channels from other Member States and include them in its package.

This proposal complements the existing Satellite and Cable Directive which already facilitates cross-border satellite broadcasting and retransmission by cable of TV and radio programmes from other member states.

The proposed directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market will facilitate the licensing of European audiovisual works and the digitisation and making available of-out-of-commerce works; Adapt key exceptions to the digital and cross-border environments, focusing on digital and online uses for educational purposes, text and data mining to boost research and innovation as well as preservation of works in their collections by cultural heritage institutions such as museums and cinematheques

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