New Directive on Copyright and Related Rights in the Digital Single Market | Fact sheet
Initiated in 2016, the legislative process aiming to modernise the EU copyright rules came to an end on 15 April 2019, when the European Council approved the Directive on Copyright and Related Rights in the Digital Single Market. This Directive intends to make EU copyright rules fit for the digital age. Unlike regulations, the Directive is not directly applicable and will require the transposition into the national legal systems of each member state.
Copyright is used to describe a set of rights granted to creators over their artistic works, thus covering a wide variety of intellectual creations: books, music, paintings, sculptures, photography, films, computer programmes, databases… However, it is important to know that copyright does not protect an idea itself, but the expression of the idea. In a nutshell, copyright bestows two types of rights upon the right holders:
- Moral rights which, in most member states, cannot be waived and protect non-economic interests of authors (such as the right to be recognised as the author)
- Economic rights which seek to grant the author the possibility to obtain financial benefits from the exploitation of their work by allowing them to control its reproduction (making a copy in physical or digital format), the distribution of said copies, making them available in the digital environment, as well as any adaptation of the original work (e.g. translating the original book or turning the book into a movie)
The last changes in the EU copyright legislation had been introduced through a Directive in 2001, when the online environment did not have the same width and importance as it does today. Indeed, the digital age has transformed the way in which researchers carry out their work, how we conceive business and share knowledge and information. Current copyright rules are not adapted to the growing digital landscape – a fact which made it necessary to bring these rules up to speed and offer an appropriate regulatory framework that encourages creative work and innovation while striking the balance with freedom of expression and the need to promote research, education, access to information and cultural heritage.
© European Union 2019
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