The Society of Authors, the Publishers Association and Booksellers Association have welcomed the EU’s breakthrough on a new copyright directive that will produce the first major revamp of copyright rules in 18 years.
The EU said the new deal will modernise copyright for the digital age. US technology firms will be forced to jump through extra legal hoops to take greater responsibility for the content they host and the new riles will also offer greater protection against intellectual copyright infringement.
The book trade has long campaigned for a copyright revamp and the breakthrough comes after months of negotiations. The directive still needs to be confirmed by member states and MEPs before it is formally adopted as law.
SoA c.e.o. Nicola Solomon said: “This is excellent news for all creators and rights-holders. The Copyright Directive is a vital piece of legislation which affirms the right of creators whose work is used online. Of critical importance to our members are the provisions contained in Articles 14 to 16. These will require publishers to provide transparent information to writers in all forms and genres, translators and illustrators on how their works are being exploited. The ‘bestseller clause’ will ensure that our members receive the remuneration they deserve when their work does better than expected. And if it isn’t being exploited, creators can get their rights back.
“We aren’t celebrating just yet, as the directive still needs to be confirmed by member states and voted on by MEPs. But this breakthrough following weeks of deadlock comes as a huge relief, and we are optimistic that the directive will soon be passed into EU law - and then into UK law within the following two years.”
Giles Clifton, head of corporate affairs at the BA, welcomed the news. “Together with many other organisations in the cultural and creative sectors across the EU, the Booksellers Association has consistently urged that proper protection be extended to rights holders reflecting the needs of the digital age,” said Clifton. “These new updated rules on copyright provide this protection, without which the whole value chain in artistic works is undermined. We join with our colleagues in the Society of Authors and Publishers Association in support for this measure."
William Bowes, general counsel and director of policy at the PA said: "The PA welcomes the news that a compromise has been reached in Brussels on how to take forward the DSM copyright file. While it would appear that the end result will not achieve everything that we had hoped for at the outset, it is nonetheless good to see the role and importance of copyright being reconfirmed for the digital era. We support the overarching aim to strike a healthier balance between rightsholders and online platforms.
"We are working closely with colleagues in the Federation of European Publishers and the team at the UK Intellectual Property Office to ensure that the views of UK publishers continue to be clearly articulated."