The European Commission Staff Working Paper was leaked through British non-profit organization Statewatch. Even though this 182-page document holds an impact assessment on the modernization of EU copyright rules on many aspects, such as making mandatory exceptions covering text and data mining, this paper outlines three of objectives and initiatives set forth by the commission.

Obligations for platforms

One of the outlined problems in the released document is that right holders face great difficulties, or are unable to negotiate with online service providers that store and give access to large amounts of protected content uploaded by their users. This results in right holders having limited control over the use and the remuneration for the use of their content.

In the released document is stated that given the availability of large amounts of user uploaded content in their services, service providers would also be obliged to put in place appropriate and proportionate measures, such as content identification technologies.

Rights in publications for news publishers

The shift from print to digital has enlarged the audience of newspapers, magazines and other publications but made the exploitation and enforcement of the rights in publications increasingly difficult.

The fear of the Commission is that if the investments and contribution of publishers increase the value of publications but are not compensated by sufficient revenues, the sustainability of publishing industries in the EU may be at stake, with the risk of further negative consequences on media pluralism, democratic debate and quality of information.

Thus the cure seems to be to enable the protection of publishers’ contribution and investments on publications at the EU level. The new related right (just as it is today the case for film and phonogram producers, broadcasters) would be granted for news publishers and the covered rights would be the exclusive rights of making available to the public, and reproduction to the extent needed for digital uses.

Access and availability to EU audiovisual works

Other initiative presented in the reform a related to the availability of EU audiovisual works on VoD platforms that according to the assessment is still limited – only 27% of films available on VoD and 30% on SVoD in the EU are European.

The European Commission in order to improve situation provides two options. Firstly to put in place a pan-European stakeholders’ dialogue with the aim of the adoption of self-regulatory measures for improving the availability (for a more sustained exploitation) of EU audiovisual works, including on VoD platforms. Second envisaged option would be to add to the stakeholders’ dialogue also obligation for Member States to establish a negotiation mechanism to overcome obstacles to the availability of audiovisual works on VoD.

Intellectual property