Copy That: Hogan Lovells responds to EC Proposals on Copyright
16 September 2016
"This proposed modernisation of copyright in the EU is going to come in for some serious debate.
"Whilst it could be ground changing for many User Generated Content (UGC) Platforms it is likely to be less so for YouTube for instance, which is often cited as not paying artists sufficiently for their music and videos. We can all agree that artists should be paid for their work, but how do you define "sufficient" in the modern digital era which itself enables far easier and greater distribution and thus greater potential revenue?
"YouTube does have commercial agreements in place with rights owners, generating several billion dollars in licencing fees to the music industry to date. Whether this directive would actually change how YouTube operates is debatable though. It certainly won't affect the existing state of the art Content ID system which YouTube employs enabling "take down and stay down" which works well. Also the proposed legal rights being given to news publishers may not differ substantially to those they enjoy as copyright owners so we will have to see how that plays out with Member States needing to adopt national laws to transpose the directive – with the inevitable variation from one member state to another and subsequent conflicting positions.
"It is claimed that this directive is a "significant and historic step" but to what? Hopefully it will not become a significant step towards the balkanisation of the internet as we know it with a future for consumers filled with geo-blocking of content. In any event the battle lines are drawn but we still have a long way to go, through the European Parliament, out to the Member States for transposition, continued conflicts and then ultimately up to the CJEU to try to answer the questions this directive raises."