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 been thoroughly engaged in negotiations since publication of this proposal and have been successful in achieving a number of amendments to address the concerns of our stakeholders. On 25 May, the Copyright Directive was discussed by Ambassadors at Coreper and the Presidency gained approval for a mandate to commence negotiations with the European Parliament.
Negotiations on the Copyright Directive have been exhaustive and while I appreciate the concerns that have been raised, I fully support the intention of this proposal which is vitally important to both the DSM and the digital economy. Our focus has always been on achieving the best balance for the competing interests of all stakeholders, including digital economy actors, rightsholders, and citizens. To that end, there has been extensive engagement with stakeholders across the various issues in Ireland, Brussels, and with other EU Member States, including at Ministerial level.
My Department will engage positively with the negotiations on the proposal going forward to ensure that Ireland can benefit from its many merits as soon as possible.