The European Union’s two-year review of the Copyright Directive finally reached its conclusion with new content protection for the news industry, but a lack of support for a ‘neighbouring right’ for sports organisations.
For the European news industry its consumers and partners, the ‘publisher right’ and ‘news agency right’ along with other measures will address the loss of internet revenue and provide a much-needed boost to the viability of professional news operations.
The ‘sport IP’ concept – while advocated by some MEPs – failed to gain support from the European Commission and the Member States due to the lack of an impact assessment.
Nonetheless, the sports movement remains determined to find enforcement tools fight against piracy of live sports footage – and has subsequently complained that the absence of a new sport ‘neighbouring right’ is a ‘missed opportunity’. Whilst the News Media Coalition (NMC) actively fights content piracy – such as use without licence or the industrial scale misuse seen around football in particular – the NMC continues to oppose ‘sport IP’ for organisers of events on a number of grounds. Foremost is the absence of any reassurance that such a powerful right would never impact on the creation, publishing or distribution of editorial content operations based on independent journalist access to events and information.
In terms of the vote, 19 Member States voted in favour of the Directive, there were 3 abstentions (Estonia, Belgium, Slovenia) and 6 Member States voted against (Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Finland and Sweden) accounting for 71.2% of the population – minimum bar being 16 countries representing 65% of the population). Last minute change of position came from Estonia and Sweden. Please find here the final text.
The Directive will be published in the EU Official Journal; then individual Member States will have 24 months to transpose this new piece of EU legislation into their own laws.
The Commission wants to open a stakeholders’ dialogue on the implementation, notably on Article 17 (former Art. 13) as soon as possible, likely before the summer but France and The Netherlands are already preparing the implementation of the Directive.