On 14 September 2016, the EU Commission published a package of copyright reform proposals as part of its Digital Single Market strategy. This included a Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market (hereinafter the “Copyright Directive”).
The intention of the Directive is to craft modern copyright legislation suitable for all European citizens. Among the Directive’s many proposals are provisions aimed at ensuring greater rights for press publishers seeking to protect their content online (Article 11), and intended to address the “value gap”, whereby rightsholders are receiving less remuneration despite the increased usage of their works (Article 13).
Officials of my Department have actively engaged in negotiations since publication of this proposal. On 25 May 2018, the Copyright Directive was discussed by Ambassadors at Coreper and the Presidency gained approval for a mandate from the Council to commence negotiations with the European Parliament. The Parliament voted to endorse its approach at its plenary session on 12 September 2018.
Trilogue negotiations between the European Council, the European Parliament, and the European Commission commenced in October and good progress has been made in towards crafting a compromise suitable for all three institutions of the European Union.
Negotiations on the Copyright Directive have been exhaustive and the Irish position has been developed on the basis of detailed examination but also significant engagement with the wide range of stakeholders affected across the various issues in Ireland, Brussels, and with other EU Member States, including at Ministerial level. I fully support this proposal which is vitally important to both the digital economy and to rightholders seeking greater protection of their works in the digital age. Our focus has always been on achieving the best balance for the competing interests of all stakeholders, including digital economy actors, rightsholders, and citizens.
Once a compromise approach has been agreed at trilogues it will be put to the European Parliament for a vote. If this final vote is successful, Ireland will then have two years to transpose the Copyright Directive into its national legislation. This transposition process will include extensive consultation with our stakeholders to ensure that Ireland has the most appropriate and suitable legislation that meets the needs of our citizens in the modern digital age.