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Digital Single Market
Digital Economy & Society

Towards a modern, more European copyright framework: Commission takes first steps and sets out its vision to make it happen

graphic showing the hashtag Digital Single Market and a copyright sign
Delivering on its Digital Single Market Strategy, the European Commission proposes new rules to ensure the cross-border portability of online content services and outlines its action plan to make EU copyright rules fit for the digital age.

On 9 December 2015 the European Commission unveiled its vision to modernise the EU copyright rules.

As announced in the 2016 Commission Work Programme, the Digital Single Market Strategy will be taken forward in the area of copyright with a step-by-step approach.

As a first step, the Commission adopted a legislative proposal on cross-border portability (FR - DE), which will ensure that subscribers to online content services can continue using them while temporarily present in another Member State.

Further measures will follow in 2016, as set out in the Commission Communication (FR - DE]. The Commission's action plan is built on four complementary pillars:

  1. Widening online access to content across the EU, including in the light of the results of the review of the Satellite and Cable Directive ;
  2. Adapting exceptions to copyright rules to a digital and cross-border environment, focussing in particular on those exceptions and limitations which are key for the functioning of the digital single market and the pursuit of public policy objectives (such as those in the area of education, research - including text and data mining - and access to knowledge);
  3. Creating a fair marketplace, including as regards the role of online intermediaries when they distribute copyright-protected content;
  4. Strengthening the enforcement system.

Why we need to modernise the EU copyright rules

With growing access to the internet, the digital world has revolutionised the way we enjoy music, games, films, newspapers etc. People expect access to digital content anywhere, anytime and from any device across Europe. EU copyright rules need to be adapted so that all market players and citizens can size the opportunities of this new environment. A more European framework is needed to overcome fragmentation and frictions within a functioning single market. 

Creative works need a well functioning market market place , where rightholders can license and be paid for the use of their content, including content distributed online.

Digital technology and networks equally facilitate distribution and access to education, research, knowledge and heritage.

Modernising the copyright rules "in the light of the digital revolution, new consumer behaviour and Europe's cultural diversity" is a clear priority for this Commission and one of the main pillars of the Digital Single Market Strategy. It aims to enable the use of the full potential of digital technology and make sure that copyright remains a driver for creativity and investment.

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